Last night I came home from an open house my first responder peer support group had for Christmas. Not a normal meeting, but a social one where anyone could come and learn a bit more about the group or just hang for a couple of hours. There were new faces, a few spouses, and good friends. Though a bit loud and overwhelming at first for someone who has trouble managing new people and crowds, I am glad I went. It’s in Hamilton, Ontario, and if you’re interested in coming one night, let me know.
When I got back to my little nest, though, exhausted because it was way past my bedtime, I checked Facebook and found a very moving post shared by #ivegotyourback911 from a paramedic who had served her community for 22 years. In it, she talked about finally accepting “that those 4 letters I struggle to say out loud define my injury, they do not define me.” I sent her a friend request pretty much right away, and pretty much right away she accepted. I’ve got that kind of face. People trust me.
Weary but curious, I checked her profile and found a more recent post, a video she had done singing a very good cover of Coldplay’s Fix You with her husband accompanying on acoustic guitar. It made me tear up a bit, and I’m man enough to admit it, too. I watched it a couple more times and shared it to my own page: Check it out here, it’s very cool.
It made me ponder a bit, as I’m prone to do, about the ordinary lives of extraordinary people. Heroes, and when I say that I don’t mean just the ones who put themselves in harm’s way for others or run to the rescue when you need it, but those who wake up every morning when they just want to sleep forever. The ones who have suffered egregious harm and yet face the world, make breakfast, smile at their children, uniform or no.
Tell me that’s not heroic. I dare you.
I have always believed there is great drama in a simple life, it’s a concept that’s fueled many great literary novels, but what of the simple life? None of us are ever only one thing – paramedic, police officer, firefighter, victim, survivor, witness. As this young woman said, PTSD defines her injury, but it does not define her.
So who are you?
I’m thinking of offering a series of profiles here of those like me, and like her, who are not their injuries. I want to answer that question. No horror stories, or war porn as I’ve heard it called. No deeply introspective tales of survival, but rather a look at the mom’s and their children, the artists, the writers, the athletes, the people who make music and the simple things that really define who they are, or should but might not.
In the contact form below you can tell me a bit of the story of who you are if you’d like to. I’ll be in touch to get more details, and you can write it yourself, or I can write it for you based on your thoughts. Photographs (videos, artwork, whatever you want to share) would be nice, but not required, and you can be as anonymous as you like.
Let’s celebrate our true selves.