A SOUL SET FREE

June 22, 2012 in Ramblings

Possibly the most miraculous event on the journey to date:

I arrived in Laredo Monday. Frank (Founder of the Texas Foundation for Safer Children) told me to go directly to the police precinct because he set up a TV news interview for me there.
I had a police escort into town and we arrived at the precinct as scheduled.

I took a few pics with the officers that escorted me then waited for the journalist to show up. A few blocks away, something caught fire. I could see black smoke billowing. The journalist called my cell and said she had to cover the fire first, then she would meet me. I told her that I would wait for her. Minutes later, a big black Ford pick up truck rolls up and a lady gets out. She’s really excited and exclaims “Tom, I am so glad I found you”! “We’ve been searching all over the place for you”.
I didn’t know what to make of it.

She introduced herself as “Gabby” and she had a heart-wrenching story. She was molested by her father for 14 years! I was unaware that she had sent me an email earlier in the day…(I was on the road and was not able to check my email). With Gabby’s permission, I would like to share that email with all of you:

HELLO MY NAME IS GABBY AND TODAY I TURN 28. I’M VERY THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOUR DOING. I MYSELF WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY MY BIOLOGICAL FATHER FOR A PERIOD OF 14 YEARS. YOU WERE PASSING BY YESTERDAY WHILE ME AND MY FAMILY WERE GOING FISHING IN FALCON LAKE.

I HAD TO CALL THE STARR SHERIFFS OFFICE TO GET YOUR WEB SITE SINCE I ALL I SAW WAS 10,000 MILES CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. IT TOUCHED MY HEART AND I HAD TO LOOK FOR THE MAN WHO WAS GIVING ME A BIRTHDAY GIFT OF COURAGE AND THE WILL TO KEEP FIGHTING THIS BATTLE.

I FIGHT THIS BATTLE WITHOUT MY MOM OR MY BROTHERS. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED MY DAD SINCE MY OUTCRY TO THE STARR COUNTY SHERIFF. SINCE 2004 HES BEEN IN PRISON SERVING 20 YEARS. MY HUSBAND AND MY BOYS IS WHAT MAKES ME TRY AND NOT GIVE UP. ITS HARD BELIEVE ME. SOME DAYS I CAN FOCUS ON THEM, OTHER DAYS I SHUT DOWN AND HURT. IT’S NOT EASY.

FOR MY BIRTHDAY MY HUSBAND DECIDED TO DRIVE TO ZAPATA AND LOOK FOR THE MAN IN THE 50 CC SCOOTER AS A GIFT TO ME. BOY I LOVE HIM. IM CALLING THE HOTELS. ONE MAN SAID ILL TRANSFER YOU TO HIS ROOM BUT NO ANSWER. HE SAID MAM LET ME KNOCK BUT YOU WERE GONE. HEY IM STILL DRIVING TO CATCH UP. MAY GOD LET US CATCH UP TO YOU. BLESSINGS AND IF I CANT REACH UP TO YOU THANKS FOR GIVING ME COURAGE AND THE GIFT I HAVE RECIEVED IS THE MOST AMAZING GIFT I HAVE EVER RECEIVED. FIGHT AND KEEP LOOKING FORWARD GOD BLESS YOU.

Wow…that is deeply inspiring. It made me cry.

Gabby and I started a heart-touching conversation…her story just tore me apart…but I sensed something…I felt she was ready to step out of all that darkness…I could just sense it. I said “Gabby, do you know why I am here this morning”? She said “No, I don’t”. I said “I am waiting for a television news crew to show up…they are going to do a news story on me”. But Gabby, I don’t think this story is about me today…I think it is about you”. If you are ready, I would like you to do the interview instead of me”.
She was really shocked and she said “But what would I say”? I said “just tell your story…and tell everyone about how my journey inspired and motivated you to come forward with this”. After all, this is what my journey is really about…inspiring other survivors…to share my courage and let them know that someone really does care. Your story today is the best example I could possibly think of”.

I could see the wheels turning in her head and I could feel the internal struggle. I KNOW THAT STRUGGLE. The struggle of coming forward and realizing that once it is out, there’s no more secret. It’s extremely frightening, and hopeful, and uplifting, all at the same time.

Just then the journalist calls and says “Look, I don’t think I can make it”. I just covered this fire and I am very overheated and dishoveled…the fire was very intense”. I said “Look, I really need you to come. There’s an important story here and it’s not about me”. She said “I don’t understand”. I said “Please, just get here”. She agreed and showed up about 10 minutes later.

I introduced Gabby to Andrea, the journalist. I then pulled Andrea aside and explained the situation. She said “This is amazing…this woman tracked you down from Zapata”?!?! I said “Yes, she did…she’s your story…not me. This woman is ready to step out of the darkness into the light with this interview and we are here to witness it”. Andrea’s response was “Absolutely”! So I stepped over to Gabby and said “Gabby, after this, there’s no more secret. Are you sure you want to do this”? She said “Yes I do” with tears in her eyes…which of course made ME cry. The reporter was just staring at Gabby and I…taking in this moment.

I stepped out of the way and Andrea started to interview her.

I stood there in humble amazement as I watched it unfold…Andrea looked at me a few times wide-eyed as the interview unfolded…we were blessed with witnessing a human soul setting itself free. I just got goosebumps head to toe as I was writing that.
At one point Gabby felt it too and her, Andrea, and myself were all looking at each other…realizing the blessing that we were all taking part in.

Afterwards, we all got a picture together. The man in the pic is Gabby’s husband Mike. He is an absolutely GREAT GREAT guy.

Later that night, I received a text reply from Gabby when I asked her if I could write about her.

AND…here’s where Tom cries again:

“Thanks so much. It would be amazing if you wrote about what happened…maybe another heart out there will be blessed. Thanks for your courage. God put you here for us. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift ever”.

So, today (Friday June 22) I rode 100 miles for Gabby. I went from Sanderson TX to Marfa TX. My Journey today took me through the scorching desert. I want to post some pics for Gabby to show her my trek of 100 miles…Gabby, here is your first 100 miles of freedom…I know you will travel a million more!
You might think that a dry, dusty desert with a scorching sun and blazing hot winds would be a desolate dead zone. It’s not. There is LIFE everywhere. Gabby, these flowers are for you…to show you that even in the most difficult places, there can be an abundance of LIFE!

Uplifted by a child

June 7, 2012 in Ramblings

Ok…gonna spin these difficult emotions into something good and remember why I started this journey in the first place!

The little guy in this pic is Connor. I met him and his family at a campground on the way to Corpus Christi.

I pulled into the campground, paid for a nights stay and rode directly to the bath house to wash the road grime off of my hands and face. As I was walking back out to my Ruck, this little kid was sitting on his bicycle, next to my trailer. As I recall the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi.

Connor: Hi. (reading my sign) 10,000 miles…that’s a long way.

Me: lol…yes it is.

Conner: Why are you doing it? (I am not sure he understood the “child sexual abuse” part)

Me: Well…(thinking about how to explain it to a young kid)…I am doing it to protect little kids. I don’t like to see kids get hurt. I am riding to collect money so I can give to to charities that help little kids.

Connor: Oh. So come meet my Dad. (I thought that was pretty funny…just an “Oh”…then on to other things)

I met Connor’s family. His Dad’s name is Chad, Mom is Lindsey, and his little sister is Malory. They were an AWESOME family. They invited me to eat dinner with them. Lindsey had prepared some ribs (yum!) and Chad smoked them in a big metal smoker. While the ribs were cooking, Connor and Malory helped me set up my tent… they are really bright kids.

Later, Chad gave me a donation for the Journey…I hadn’t noticed but Connor disappeared inside the family’s travel trailer. He came out of the trailer waving a $5 bill. He said “Here, I want you to have this”. I was taken completely aback. I never had a child donate to the Journey. I was speechless. I almost started to cry. I said “Connor, buddy I can’t. Why don’t you save that and buy something for yourself”. I looked at his dad as I was saying it. His dad jumped in and said “Connor, yes, why don’t you save it”. Mom jumps in and says to me and his Dad “Let him do what he wants”.
So Connor looks at me with a firm determination and says (placing the money in my had) “I want you to have it”.
WOW. Man, I was choking back the emotion. This little boy saw the value in what I am trying to accomplish and wanted to give me his money to support that cause…and $5 is a lot of money to a kid. Think about all the cool trinkets and candy you can buy with 5 bucks! THANK YOU CONNER FOR YOUR BIG DONATION!

Later, I bought a half gallon of chocolate ice cream and he ate half of it…hilarious!

Barbed Wire Fence

May 29, 2012 in Ramblings


This picture really affects me. Note that the heads are facing backwards. Internally, it evokes the feelings I felt when my parents refused to help me or let me get help after the abuse. The barbed wire fence is the barrier between us since that time. I don’t want that fence to be there anymore but I can’t figure out how to take those chain cutters and cut through. I love my parents very very much, but 30 years later, I can’t make any sense of their conscience decision not to help me after the abuse occurred. They made a choice and that choice was not ME. Their bad decisions actually caused me far more damage than the abuse itself. NOTE TO ALL PARENTS: Don’t ignore child sexual abuse if it occurs in your family. Ignoring it or burying it will cause your child FAR greater damage than the abuse itself.
When I told my parents about this journey, I lied to them. I lied about the function of the charities I am riding for and I lied about the specific cause I was riding for…I made it sound like I was riding for domestic abuse and child abuse…(not child SEXUAL abuse). I was SO ANGRY with my self afterwards. Why did I lie? Why have I been protecting them ALL THESE YEARS when they did not protect me? I keep using the excuse that they are getting up in years and I don’t want to open this can of worms at this late stage of the game. I don’t want to hurt them or make them feel bad. I am doing this at my own expense…and it continues to actively damage me. I probably haven’t done them any favors either. The fact that we haven’t talked about it in 30 years has caused them damage as well.
I am not angry at them anymore…I quietly forgave them years ago…so it’s not about anger. I’m just hurt…and damaged. I just want to know the TRUTH. Not some crazy, insane lie like my mom gave me 30 years ago. I don’t care how UGLY, or DARK, or SELF-CENTERED the REAL TRUTH is…I just need to hear it.
I have been seeing counselors for many years and they tell me to forget about the choices that my parents made and focus on moving forward…but the truth is, I can’t. That might work for some people but it has not worked for me. I know in the deepest part of my heart that I will be stuck here as long as I continue to live in the darkness of the unknown.
I am sitting here…fearful of pressing the “PUBLISH” button…fearful of what people will think when they read it…and fearful that my parents might find this and read it…but this Journey is NOT about fear…it is about life, and love, and COURAGE. So here goes… [PUBLISH]

From Georgia to the Florida Panhandle

May 18, 2012 in Ramblings

Tom discovers there genrally IS southern hospitality, except for the police of course. This is a repost from . editor

Image Image
Were both doin’ Wan’s “impossible-is-nothing” stance…lol.

I was saving this one for today’s post – I GOT PULLED OVER BY A COP!!! I was about 6 miles from Florida and I heard a siren.
The Officer was very nice about it…but I am still not clear about what law I was breaking. It was one of those extremely complicated “you can’t have your MOPED on anything other than a dirt-road or field laws”…lol.

Officer: You can’t have your moped on a Georgia state road.
Me: I’m sorry. Are there any secondary roads near-by?
Officer: No.
Me: It’s only six miles to Florida…can I ride the burm?
Officer: No.
Me: (smiling) Ok…can I ride through those fields over there?
Officer: (smiling) It’s only six miles to the state line…move along.

YES! My Jedi mind powers are working!!!!
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Read the rest of this entry →

Self-Esteem and Child Sexual Abuse

May 7, 2012 in Ramblings

I feel a little awkward sometimes about being so transparent throughout this journey. Sometimes I feel embarrassed or even ashamed. I made the difficult decision for complete transparency so survivors and supporters would have a sense of what is inside someone who has been through child sexual abuse. I wanted other survivors to be able to say “I feel exactly the same way”! and supporters to say “I understand it so much better than I did before”.

One of the biggest challenges I struggle with is self-esteem. For 30 years, it was LESS THAN ZERO. When I was abused, something was taken from me. I am still struggling to fully discover what that “something” was.
The problem was compounded because my parents terribly mishandled the entire situation. (more on that some other time…I love my parents with all my heart and have largely forgiven them for making some very bad decisions).

For thirty years I have walked around in this life feeling worthless…completely without value. I was in an extremely emotionally abusive relationship for many years…a couple years back, a friend of mine asked “Why do you permit this kind of treatment for your life”? Without even thinking, the words “It’s all the better I deserve” just fell out of my mouth. I was shocked. I had no idea I felt that way. It was at that moment I realized something was seriously, seriously wrong.

I struggle every single day with my self-worth. I bring all of this up because of the weekend scooter ride I just participated in. I was sitting here blogging about it and feeling the fun of it…feeling the “it’s a wonderful life” in it. Then, suddenly the guilt set in…and the thoughts follow…”I don’t deserve that”. I should have been working or doing something productive”. I should have been focusing on something serious”. “I can’t permit myself to have fun or see the light side of life, it’s wrong”.
I don’t know why I always feel that way but it kills my joy for life. I know that I did NOT feel that way before I was repeatedly abused. Something changed.

I really need to figure this out because it has suffocated my life and suffocated my joy for too many years.

Would any other survivors of child sexual abuse like to comment on this? Or anyone else who might have some insight? A personal goal of my journey is to FIND a joy for life and LIVE that joy. I know it’s there somewhere…I just need to find it and connect with it.

My pic with the SC State Police!

May 7, 2012 in Ramblings

OK…HUGE HUGE UPDATES WITH LOTS OF PICS!!!

Apologies for the delayed updates. Internet access has been a bit sketchy here in Charleston…that, coupled with the bike’s engine issues has made it a challenge to sit down and update the blog. I am trying to figure out the WordPress app for my phone. That should make blogging much easier.

As you may know (despite the mechanical issues with the bike), I rode from Myrtle Beach to Charleston SC
to meet up with some guys from totalruckus.com …we planned on tearing into the bike again to try to fix it. I connected with Will and Josh in Charleston on Thursday 5-03-12.

I rode around for a short while when Will was at work on Thurday. I rode that day for “ALEX”.

Josh and Will worked on my bike for a while Thursday night…Here’s a few pics of my Master Tech’s at work:

After Will left, Josh and I decided to kill the LAST CAN OF VIENNA SAUSAGES! YEAH!!!!!

He insisted that we eat them on spicy crackers with GRAPE JELLY….UGH. Josh is not my friend.
Actually, the jelly and crackers killed the taste of the pink slimy meat…lol…thanks Josh.

A pic of Will and his wife Melissa from the previous night. They make a great couple…both of them are extremely good people…very kind and very generous. (and Melissa is a REALLY good cook!!!)

I stayed at Josh’s Thursday night. We got up early Friday morning, met up with Ricky, went out for breakfast then out for a ride downtown. We were at Denny’s for breakfast.

This is a little upsetting but I want to share it with you because in the end it was wonderful. Our waitress looked at me and said “Thank you…I was molested by my father as a young girl. Thank you for what you are doing. You are my hero”. Ricky, Josh, and I were all shocked by her admission. I felt so horrible and I did not know what to say. When we were leaving, I walked up to her and gave her a huge hug. Hugging other survivors of child sexual abuse is awesome…that hug creates a direct connection to the heart. She whispered in my ear “You are my Hero”. I was choking back emotion.

We stopped by an auto parts store to buy some tape on our way into town. A man in his early 50′s approached us and started asking questions about the journey. He said “My daughter was molested”…and he was overcome with emotion and turned his back to us. He collected himself and finished his conversation. It is very sad when people tell me their stories but I am very very happy to be the one they share it with.

This is Josh, myself, and Ricky Downtown on our Rucks:

For those of you who don’t know Josh, he is extremely outgoing and has a bold personality. He insisted that we get our picture taken in front of the “Pineapple” …apparently an important symbol in Charleston…lol. Well, you’re really not allowed to do that. The pineapple is only accessible for people walking…motor vehicles are not permitted in that area. SO Josh shuts off his engine and proceeds to push his bike towards the pineapple. Ricky and I just looked at each other. Josh yells “C’mon!”. So we shrug our shoulders, shut off our bikes and start pushing them towards Josh. There was a big heavy metal sign in the way and Josh did not want it in the picture so he just dragged it out of the way. Ricky and I were just looking at each other like “were gonna end up in jail”.

THEN A COP SHOWED UP. We tried to explain but he was not amused. I thought about asking him for a picture…but this particular cop looked like he was having a bad day so we apologized again and got out of there.

I missed my COP PIC and was disappointed. Then, we left the city and Ricky split up from Josh and I…we were on out way back to Josh’s house and I got my wish. I was driving and noticed that I lost Josh. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him along the road…with flashing lights.

The Charleston police do not like it when you modify your Ruck. Josh walked away with two presents:

THANK YOU JOSH FOR MY PICTURE WITH THE NICE POLICE OFFICER!

On Friday, I rode for “Tina”

On a 50cc Mission from God

April 26, 2012 in Ramblings, Speaking

My new friend Julia that I met at the Horry County Candle Light Vigil is a great photographer. We met yesterday and she took a bunch of great pictures of me and my bike.

The first pic was inspired by the Blues Brothers movie back in the late 70′s / early 80′s. In the film, Jake and Elwood were on a mission from God to save an orphanage. It is an epic comedy…if you haven’t seen it rent it..you won’t be sorry. Some of the best car chase / car crash scenes I have ever seen. I was in Myrtle Beach and saw a statue of them. A month or so prior, a biker jokingly referred to me as “a nut on a 50cc mission from God”. So in a light hearted way, I am posting the following for your enjoyment.

I am going to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe as part of my journey. I found a beautiful statue of Our Lady at a local church…so Julia and I went there and she took this picture. I think this is my favorite pic out of all the ones she took.
Tom looking incredibly cool sitting in traffic…lol.
There’s more pics of our day together…as soon as Julia is able to get them to me I will post them.
Here is one pic of Julia that I took with my camera. I love this picture. We were on the beach writing some child sexual abuse statistics on poster board and photographing each other holding the statistic signs. She was kneeling in the sand writing out a statistic when I snapped this pic. I think it perfectly captures her tenacity and strength. I will say it again Julia – you inspire me! You’ve dealt with this in such a positive and constructive way…you are an absolute inspiration!

This is why I am riding 10,000 miles

April 24, 2012 in Ramblings, Speaking

I just received an email from a “victim” of child sexual abuse. Because of my ride, he has made the decision to become a “survivor”. This person just made my ENTIRE journey worth it. This is exactly why I am riding 10,000 miles. I helped someone in the same kind of darkness and pain that I was in realize that there’s a better life out there…if you can find the courage to fight for it.

An excerpt from that email (used with permission):

“I have an appointment monday to meet with a counselor it is time I’ve truly dealt with this! I’ve always felt I’m okay and doing well but your story, courage has allowed me to realize this event has affected me and has for my entire life. Time to confront and work it properly….. Time to take me back!!!”

Go brother. Take your life back.

T

News Articles

April 9, 2012 in Ramblings

See links below for recent news articles written about my charity ride.

Bill White, the news journalist who wrote these articles is quickly becoming a huge advocate for child sexual abuse. He’s written many articles and blog entries on the subject…and quite a few times he’s really challenged people and raised awareness of this serious social issue.

You may have to do a copy/paste of the links below in your browser address bar to view these stories. Or go to www.themcall.com and enter “burick” into the website search box.

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bw-journey-from-silence-20120405,0,6523822.column

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bw-journey-from-silence-2-20120408-1,0,6186688.story

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bill-white-child-sex-abuse-law-20111121,0,6574231.column

 

Journey From Silence

April 8, 2012 in Ramblings

My name is Tom Burick and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
I am embarking on a one-man, 10,000 mile charity ride across 3 nations for stopitnow.org,  joyfulheartsfoundation.org, and the Horry County Sexual Assault Crisis Cneter in Myrtle Beach, SC  – all three of these organizations are focused on combatting child sexual abuse. Stop It Now! focuses on prevention…stopping the abuse before it happens. Joyful Hearts Foundation is there to provide counseling, assistance, and resources when it does occur. Horry County Crisis Center provides a variety of resources for victims of any type of sexual assault – including childhood sexual abuse.  
All three charities have a heart as part of there logo…so I have decided to plan the route in the shape of a gigantic heart that spans the US, Mexico, and Canada…in all, over 10,000 miles. My mode of transportation will be a 50cc Honda Ruckus scooter!