Tuesday, 9 April 2013

"We acquire the strength we have overcome." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a little time with some AMAZING women.
These women just blow me away.
They're not women of industry or politics or even thriving women of corporate development but these women are strong and I don't just mean mentally.
These women are physically superior to some men that I’ve encountered in the military and back that up with an emotional strength that I hope that I can one day replicate.
Very early on in my recovery I was hopping around the Victoria Barracks Army gym in Paddington, Sydney.  Literally hopping around because I had just lost my leg and at that point didn't have a prosthetic. My good friend Brock drove me there every day so that I could relearn how to train, it was also great therapy for my mind.
One day out of the blue a pretty female soldier with a big smile and even bigger bright blue eyes approached me and apologised for staring at me. I was understandably taken aback. I was at the time extremely self-conscious and had developed a technique to deal with all the stares, where if I didn't look at anyone then they weren't looking at me. Yet, here was this woman bolt upright in my face apologising for staring. I looked away and mumble an uncomfortable response of, “It's ok, no worries”.  But she continued and said to me that she had only been admiring my eyes and was just having a perv.  I was shocked, embarrassed and secretly pretty chuffed that I was getting checked out, especially when I wasn’t at the time feeling very good about myself.
Three years on and this same women who took strength from seeing me start my training is now a strong independent single mother and working as part of Brisbane's Soldier Recovery Centre at Enoggera Army base. Not only raising her own child after a physically and mentally abusive relationship but also doing her best to develop a system to get injured, wounded and ill soldiers back to work with the help of a small undermanned and under equipped team.
I recently had the opportunity to donate some time to speak to this group and share my story and my tools and techniques of physical and mental recovery, thanks solely to this woman’s belief in me. I gave a group presentation and then had some time to chat with just the soldiers. We finished the day with some fitness therapy at Crossfit Michelton. A “box” owned and run by Phillip Cosgrove, the son of ex CDF General Peter Cosgrove. Corporate key note speaking is what I do now as a fulltime job since transferring to the Navy Reserves Diving team but the greatest reward of this job is the time it allows me to try and help those most in need, our wounded, ill and injured soldiers for example. The following night this woman secured her absolute strength in my mind by competing in the open Crossfit games and performing admirably.
I took along to these games a friend of mine who is also a young strong single mother. A mother who has raised her child through absolute brutality to herself. Through out the Crossfit games, this young pretty mother and her passionate child screamed support for competitors that they didn't even know, actually drowning out others around them, especially when cheering for the girls. They have a bond unbelievably strong not just built between mother and daughter but secured between every woman and themselves, whether they know them or not. A bond so strong because the mother has had every bone in her face broken, because she has been choked unconscious, because she has had to be the unwavering rock so that her daughter will never have to be afraid as she was. I had the pleasure of admiring how this small unconventional family operated and couldn't help but become wrapped up in it. I learnt that a young child could have a heart so big that when she found out animals were hurt in our world, she shed actual tears for them. That a mother could love and want to protect her child so much that they learnt and practised martial arts together and have bond that even when I tried to give the daughter a present for her and her mum, she still felt guilty and questioned me.
A nine year old girl said to me, “money is to be earnt, not to be given'.

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