Larger than life heroes rise up and take a stand, making it into our history books. Average everyday heroes make it into our hearts.
Take my friend ‘Pam’ for instance. She and I were enjoying a glass of wine on a beautiful summer day talking about mundane everyday topics. ‘Pam’ reached for her glass which rested nearby and my eyes were drawn to the scars on her arms. Years ago she was in an abusive marriage held in place by traditions and the needed financial support for her children. She bears many more scars that most people will never see due to conveniently placed clothing. Each permanent mark has a violent story behind it representing physical struggle and never ending pain, and yet the deepest scars are emotional, leaving no visible marking for people like myself to notice.
If she’d been a fictional character in a novel, some hunky hero would have swooped down and rescued her in the midst of her darkest days. Unfortunately, ‘Pam’ lives in the real world and no one came to rescue her. So, what did ‘Pam’ do?
She rescued herself.
It wasn’t easy, and it took a hell of a long time, but she rose above her traumatic past, shucking off the ‘damsel in distress’ mode of thinking. Many of her scars, like the ones on her arms, are from surgeries needed to repair the damage sustained during her ‘submissive life’. They are her scars of defiance, reminders of what she now fights against. Her negative experiences in the past have made her who she is today; a strong woman. Years down the road, I’ll bet she leaves behind a legacy of helping others in similar situations. She’s already on that path.
She’s a hero.
She’s ‘been there, done that’, and she’s the first person to jump and help others. ‘Pam’s’ fighting spirit is the inspiration for the strong women in my Scars of Defiance series. My heroines emulate her!
“No one is born a hero. A hero rises from the ashes of subservience.”—author unknown.
But, why do some people rise above oppression while others languish beneath it? It’s the million dollar question, really. If we had the answer, there’d certainly be less suffering in the world, and fewer bullies. I believe we need more examples of real life heroes to teach us how to be strong. We need support groups to foster change, and we need courageous heroes like ‘Pam’ to prove it can be done.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.”—Mark Twain.
As ‘Pam’ and I sat there sipping our wine, I mulled over the long difficult journey she’s been on. “You’re a hero, ‘Pam’.”
She knew what I was talking about, knew I was looking at her scars. “I’m not,” she said on an exhale, “I’m just a survivor.”
I rest my case.