We are conditioned to seek the easy road, to avoid risk, to practice caution. We are taught to avoid adversity at all costs. What I have discovered from facing my own battle is that adversity is in fact a gift. It is a gift hidden in an ugly box which feels almost impossible to open but what is waiting inside this ugly box are the most precious things you can obtain; strength, wisdom, humility, compassion, perspective, resilience and a true sense of self.
I spoke yesterday at the second Invincible She Women of Adversity event which was created by the incredible Camille from Pip & Lou. This event is aimed towards local women and provides a space to share our stories and vulnerabilities while inspiring one another through our individual journeys in overcoming adversity. That adversity is different for everyone and the speakers, 8 in total, all have different circumstances and backgrounds but a shared strength gained from being tested by life's struggles.
Ana, myself, Teyarna & Emma
Teyarna Matheson - a survivor of domestic violence and one of the strongest, kindest and bravest human beings I have ever met.
The lovely and incredibly inspiring Emma Madsen, founder of Loveflock, who was a carer for her mother and has battled and overcome a painful struggle with conversion disorder.
The venue - The Pavillion on Northbourne Avenue
Camille (Pip& Lou, Invincible She), Emma (Loveflock) Ana, myself, Anthea (Rainbow Nourishments), Najima (Dusk Avenue), Zeb (Lifestyle Pyschology), Teyarna, Di (JFDI) and Clare (not pictured, from GG Collective)
For a long time I lived with regret, I wished I could go back to the moment adversity swept away the gates which contained my peaceful life and pulled me down a long, desperate river of pain and turmoil with a force that nearly broke me. I spent days in sheer survival mode and nights pining for the chance to change my fate. Had I just walked on by, what would my life look like now? Had I decided to ignore that stranger, would I live with more peace, would I be more successful, would the unraveling of my life never have occurred? This thought pattern has now dissipated, the space of regret has been filled with blessings I never imagined. Of course, even back then in my darkest hours, I could not regret entirely because this adversity I met in the street, completely unprepared, gave me my son and he is the greatest little person I could have ever hoped to raise. The abuse, the manipulation, the financial control, the fear and the pain were all things I would wish away in a heart beat, but not my son. I would go through it all again, a thousand times, to be given such a sweet, kind and beautiful little boy to call my own.
What I have learned about adversity is that is important. I know, having suffered through the blackest nights with my heart beating in my chest so loud I was worried it would wake my child, that I will always be ok. I know, having feared for my life and having lived in hiding, that I survive. I know, having endured abuse, not just words but physical violence, that nothing can break me. It is the most comforting realisation to discover that no matter what, I will get through. I never knew that until it was proved to me through experience and enduring. I once thought a broken heart could kill me, the pain so ravaging I wanted to die. I once thought loneliness could break me, fear could send me off the rails, a million different pains and paths would be the end for me. I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I can dig deep, I can grasp my optimism, I can find meaning and light, no matter the darkness I wake up in. Knowing this is the biggest gift of all, it is the gift of a won adversity and triumph.
To everyone reading this, I do not believe your life has been, or will always be, free from adversity. We are all dealt our hand, like a tricky game of snakes or ladders, we climb and we fall. Some tumbles are bigger than others, but they all hurt. I urge you to welcome the fall, welcome the crash, the pain; sink down in a heap knowing that when you finally climb back up you will be one mighty force to be reckoned with because you have overcome adversity and you will become a warrior
This morning was my sons first day of kindergarten, This is a massive milestone for us and watching him walk into his new school with his head held high, no sign of nerves, an excited mind and an open heart I had an overwhelming sense of pride. "We did it buddy" I thought. We got here, happily, safely, in our own way, at our own pace. I smiled at him, he smiled at me and waved me goodbye without a care in the world and it felt like pure magic.
My adversity brought me this perfect, sweet little person- my son, my proudest achievement and the light of my life. That has made it worth it, in every single way.