Oprah: Did you wonder whether you'd ever walk again?
Central Park Jogger: What amazes me about my whole recovery process is that my body naturally took over—and that kept me focused on the present moment. I wasn't thinking, "Why did I go running that night? Why didn't I just go out to dinner with my friend?" I was like, "Look, this happened to me and I have to deal with my reality. It's not great, but I'm going to work hard." Sometime in June I did ask the nurse, "Will I ever walk again?" She said, "You'll be fine—give it two weeks." And because it was three weeks before I was walking, I remember being disappointed. But fortunately, I kept seeing progress, which was a huge motivator, though my progress often came in little ways.
Central Park Jogger: Like grabbing nails with tweezers and moving them from one hole to another.
Oprah: That was part of your rehab?
Central Park Jogger: That was one of many exercises I did for six to eight hours a day for about six months. I was eventually able to do more—like moving along on parallel bars. I am so thankful for what my body did for me. It instinctively knew what it needed to do. I had tremendous trauma care, and I am not denying that it was necessary to keep me alive. Yet we all have a deep resource, or power, within us to heal. The love and caring I received helped to unleash that resource. I still see it happening.
Oprah: When you got out of the wheelchair, was your first thought, "I'm going to run again"?
Central Park Jogger: I don't think so. I felt that in time it would happen. I'm not quite sure how I knew that.
Oprah: Are you a religious person?
Central Park Jogger: No. Not formally.
Oprah: It's clear that you're determined and persistent. Where do those qualities come from?
Central Park Jogger: Part of it comes from having had to stand up to my older brothers. I am the youngest of three and the only girl. My parents never gave me the impression that because I was a girl, I couldn't do whatever I wanted. They had high expectations that I internalized.
Oprah: Did you become more spiritually connected as a result of what happened to you?
Central Park Jogger: Yes. I saw myself transformed.
Oprah: And when you were living in the present moment during rehab, you were about as spiritually connected as you could get.
Central Park Jogger: After reflecting on how amazing my recovery was, I thought, "There's got to be something else going on here." Another thing that may have helped my healing was that I didn't harbor resentment toward the boys who attacked me.
We Hear You!