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Survivor

13 Mar 2020
Photo by
Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune
Photo by
Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune
Oksana Masters
U.S. Paralympics
13 Mar 2020

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this.

I didn’t know if I wanted to say everything that happened to me. Or even how to….

Honestly, I’m still working through it all. I think that’s what I want people to know, more than anything, as they watch this video. There isn’t a beginning, middle, and ending of my story……. not yet. There are just pieces. There are the pieces that I’m slowly taking apart, and then there are the pieces that I’m just as slowly putting back together. There are the pieces that come attached to experiences of trauma, and then there are the pieces that bring me feelings of release. But they are all just pieces. 

I went through so many reasons in my head why I shouldn’t put any of this out into the world. Your mom has been through enough. Your boyfriend isn’t ready to hear all these details. What will your sponsors think?? In the end, though, I kept coming back to the one reason why I knew I should: other women. 

I kept thinking about all the other women out there, and other children, and all that they’ve been through — and about how meaningful my story might be to them. I kept thinking about how important it might be for them to see me, not just unbroken, but alive and well. Not as some object of pity, but as an example of strength. As a woman who’s gained power on the other side of her trauma, and who deserves to be known, not as the sum of her experiences, but as the sum of her actions. 

I’m Oksana Masters, and I found my mom. I felt her love. I discovered my purpose. I achieved greatness.

I’m Oksana Masters, and I’m still working through it all.

I’m Oksana, and I survived.

 

Watch Oksana’s story here.

 

Oksana Masters
U.S. Paralympics