Standing on the shoulders of giants

It’s funny how the words we write can sometimes come back to haunt or help us. Next year sometime I’ll be releasing the Kingmaker trilogy. In the second book, the main character is asked by a reporter what it feels like to be a hero. She responds that if you want to see a hero, you should go to your local hospital and take a good long look at the medical staff. You should visit the fire station or the Police station to understand the fine line between life and death, order and anarchy. She says that every day we walk with giants and, most of the time, we have no idea.

This has been a very difficult week for me. For the first time in 3 years I have returned to a place that holds a lot of bad memories for me. I have walked these familiar streets and, around each corner or up each hill, the fear has threatened to swallow me whole. The memories of the events that happened here hurt on an almost physical level. It seems that time has not dulled the edge of my thoughts, nor has it healed the emotional scars.

Yesterday I walked past the women’s refuge. For the first time since returning here, a small smile crept onto my face. The women that work there are truly remarkable. They give of themselves selflessly and generously to help women like me who didn’t know where else to go for help. They guided me unfailingly through what was, without question, the darkest time of my life. Put bluntly, had it not been for the kind souls that helped me through those early days, chances are I wouldn’t be writing this blog post now. Truly, if ever there were giants walking amongst us, it is the women that saved my life, that held my hand in the darkness, that puzzled together the shattered pieces of me and somehow helped me to be whole again. I have worked in the justice system for several years and I firmly believe that, when it comes to life saving and emergency services, the women at the local refuges are right up there.

As I walked on, I found myself working again through the counselling I was provided. How did I end up where I was? How did I come to be the kind of woman that would allow such awful things to happen? All of that is irrelevant to this post. What is important was the realisation that fear is something you allow to happen. It curls and coils in your mind, feeding on your uncertainty until it is an insidious worm of gross proportions. In short, I allowed the fear to creep into my heart because I made the mistake of forgetting who I am.

I have this theory that when something terrible happens to you, you have a choice. You either choose to let it define you and you become a victim, or you choose to accept it and move on. You learn the lessons and feed it back into your life in a positive way. In short, you choose to live.

3 years ago, I chose to live. I genuinely believe that the experiences I had have made me a stronger, wiser and more compassionate woman. I have talked a little before about my inner darkness, but in truth I’m grateful for it. Had I not known such darkness, and for so long, I don’t know that I would understand or appreciate the true joy of the light I walk in all my days.

It always surprises people that I had the experiences that I did. I’m such a joyful soul that it seems bizarre that it was forged in hurt. I seem so collected, so bright and articulate, so Zen, that most find it impossible to imagine me ever going through what I did. The truth is that I am all of those things because I went through it. I am all of those things because, with the help of some truly remarkable women, I came to understand that I really wanted to live.

As you walk through your lives over the next few days and weeks, as you traverse familiar streets and enter familiar places, take a moment to think about the people around you. Chances are that many of them are unsung heroes, true giants of heart. Many more of those people will be around you as a direct result of the actions of those few giants. Think about the places you have been, the things you have been through, the times you sought help…I suspect you will find that, in the end, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.

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