Marathon Warrior Queen Abbie Johnson
This months current female Warrior is the empowering Abbie Johnson. Abbie served in the Navy from 2012 to 2016 and was a musician in the band playing the piccolo. Her favorite part was being able to represent her country and playing in amazing places like Pearl Harbor.
Athena: What was the most challenging part of being in the military?
Abbie: Everything that comes with reporting an assault in the military, the event was terrible but the aftermath was what tested me to every bit of my being. For some time following, I was in survival mode and taking things day by day.
Athena: How did you get over it?
Abbie: It took years and I am still working on it. I survived on a day to day basis for a long time. Eventually, I knew I had to report it to get help. I was struggling with Post Traumatic Stress. I find ways that work for me like being in the ocean, sports, staying active, and my service dog.
Athena: How did you go about getting your service dog?
Abbie: I was out on Hawaii and there were less resources for service dogs. I found Kona and payed to have him trained by a professional. I did a Co-Training program. The trainer taught Kona and I reinforced. He has traveled with me on over 25 flights.
Athena: What are your goals career and personal?
Abbie: When I was really struggling with getting out and dealing with the assault, to get through it I set a goal for myself to run a marathon on every single continent. I have completed six and have one more to go. The last one will be in August and I will be completing my goal in Kenya. As far as career goals, I’m exploring a number of different pathways, I currently have the opportunity to work with horses at a Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, which has been such a rewarding way to use my skills as an equestrian.
Athena: What would you want male service members to understand?
Abbie: To respect women in the military. Most every woman I know that served has had major issues with men not respecting them. If that happens, we will go a long way. When someone says something is wrong take them seriously and stop the crude jokes and banter in a negative manner about women. RESPECT OUR JOURNEY.
Athena: What would you tell your child self?
Abbie: Speak up, stand firm, and don’t worry so much if people like you. That is something I struggled with a lot and that is why I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause problems. You can do anything. Believe in yourself!
Athena: What is something positive you took away from serving in the military?
Abbie: I was very proud to serve my country. The pride we have for our country. I struggle with civilian people that disrespect our country. I made some incredible connections I still cherish today.
Athena: Coping, what do you do?
Abbie: Trying new things. To reach out to the right people. The military taught me solution based coping skills. If something doesn’t work try something else. Stay away from the wrong type of people that will bring you down.
Athena: What is a Warrior to you?
Abbie: Someone who faces a battle and stills stands after. Someone who can push forward through the pain. Sometimes the most powerful thing is just getting up and doing something. Someone who is a fighter.
Athena: Who are your heroes?
Abbie: Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot. She inspires me because she was in the military and was so elegant and strong. Women can be really tough and superheroes too.
Athena: What is the hardest thing you’ve overcome and how did you get through it?
Abbie: Being sexually assaulted and the aftermath. I got into distance running and triathlons which helps regulate. I found such an incredible healing connection with the ocean. I get in the water. The ocean changed my life. I will not live anywhere unless I am at least a half-hour from the ocean.
Athena: You travel a lot! What are some travel tips you have?
Abbie: Keep an open mind. I hate when people compare in a negative manner. Be flexible when plans change. Be forgiving on yourself. Travel made me excited and that helped me overcome my trauma and deal with PTS. I love seeing the different cultures and I get so excited for new adventures. Learn to put yourself in other cultures. The Amazon Rainforest and Antarctica were my favorites. Talk about opposites but they were amazing!
Athena: What are some accomplishments you are proud of?
Abbie: Running a marathon on six continents. I got a state championship for USA cycling last year. I completed three Iron Mans.
Athena: What are some things you would like to pass on?
Abbie: Don’t ever limit yourself! Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Set goals for yourself and you’re more likely to finish something if you pay for it. The Warrior games helped me get out of the hole I was in. They are absolutely incredible.
It was such a pleasure speaking with Abbie and getting to know her. She embodies the warrior spirit and her inner light shines so brightly during such a dark time. Thank you Abbie for sharing your light with us.