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Life in the Face of Adversity

I thought I grew up with adversity, I thought I grew up with resilience. Now in my forties, when the world faces a crisis, I realise that resilience is like muscle memory. If you haven’t used that muscle for a while, it will be lazy. When we were young, we could all do cartwheels, now I would fall on my head. But in my adult life, if I tried every day for 21 days, I bet I could do a cartwheel. Muscle memory. 

That’s why I want to remind us that we have resilience. Because every person in the world has had an instance in their childhood, in their adulthood, where they had to be resilient. Where no one was able to shield them from the pain of life. All of us have lost a loved one at some time in our life. It was so sad, it still is sad. We eventually bounced back; life went on. We were resilient. Do you remember the first person who broke your heart? You survived, you may have even loved again, you were resilient. 

Building Old

Resilience, we have it inside ourselves. It’s there. We need to massage that muscle, remind ourselves that it’s there. Think of all the sad times in your life, all the times that have been really hard. Those times are in the past, you managed to get yourself out of there. You were resilient. As a child I was afraid of the dark, the dark brought all kinds of bad dreams, sometimes these dreams became real. Sometimes being chased was real. Sometimes we came home and the police really were outside our house. At night they were scarier, at night they caught me. Even now as an adult there’s times I wake up in the dark, I feel afraid. I tell myself I will be ok. Resilience. We learn it. We have it inside ourselves. We just need to remind ourselves that it is there. 

Now in the time of adversity, in a time where we wait, where we wonder about our future, we need resilience. We need to find it, we need to remember the challenges that we have already overcome, remember that we have an inner strength to survive. There are so many useful emotions that we trap inside ourselves. Let’s awaken them. Ever felt love? Love from family, friend or partner? Feel that love and remind yourself that it’s inside you. If you’ve felt it once, you can feel it again. Muscle memory. Emotional memory. 

I remember painting our bathroom when I was younger. I had to prep the walls before I could paint them. I peeled off one layer and underneath there was another, then another and another. Each layer was thicker than the next. At one stage I thought perhaps I should have left it as it was. Eventually, it did end. Underneath was the wood. No concrete, no dry walls, pure pine wood. After sanding it down, it was beautiful. After that, I always saw life as that paint. Strip down the layers until you see the beauty. Keep going because after the hard work there is beauty. 

Now in the time of adversity, we will need to strip many walls within ourselves. Appreciate each layer and don’t give up when you see another layer, keep going. Be resilient. Remember that you are resilient. You have done this before, not in the same format, but you have done this before.

Find that muscle, that muscle memory inside yourself. You have it. Remember that you are not alone, because we have all loved and lost. We are all resilient – together. Together we will rise. We will pick each other up, we will help each other, we will be resilient together. 


Photo Credit

Self Portrait
Hong Kong
Shot on Nikon FM2
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