I’ve struggled to write about anything over the last couple of days as been feeling extremely sad and emotional, as a result of recent events in the UK.
I am very much a Londoner, after 22 years living there. My heart will always belong to London. The city played a huge part in giving me my strength, my courage and my resilience and I will always remember it for this. It’s also where I raised my beautiful daughter and where she learnt her own resilience – so I think the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and in London Bridge have really affected me as they are in my home – and they targeted young people. As a mother, I find this even harder.
I’m not going to get political in any way, as have no desire to do so. However, I will say that when your own home and those you consider family are affected, or at risk, atrocities like this are just more potent. It has nothing to do with valuing one human life more than another. Its human nature to protect and love those closest to you first – your family or local community for example. So, in this instance – it is our community at risk. We are half British and have lived the best years of our lives there. We know what its like to live with this threat around you – I know what its like as a mum to worry about my daughter being on a tube, a bus or at a large event. My heart totally bleeds for those mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and friends of those whose lives have been lost. Its beyond comprehension to me the sadness and loss they must be feeling, to have a loved one taken in this way.
What does give me incredible strength and fills me with tears of pride – is the response in the UK to what has happened. The resilience, love and kindness people have shown in the face of such tragedy and adversity has been extraordinary.
Reading about the acts of bravery and kindness has been heartbreaking and reaffirming. Just ordinary human beings doing extraordinary things . Extraordinary things that only exist to help others and not themselves – that’s more inspiring than any business story I will ever read!
And watching #onelovemanchester this morning had tears rolling down my cheeks for 2 hours. The performances and messages were so heartfelt, the audience were so emotional and grateful and the sense of love, resilience and community was utterly unforgettable . I have huge respect for Ariana Grande. My own daughter is only a few years younger than this little lady. I am disgusted by people like Piers Morgan and the cyber trolls that have publicly flogged her for flying out the UK straight after the Manchester attack. The poor girl is barely an adult herself and the guilt, shock and pain she would have felt would have been unbearable. Of course it was not her fault, but she would have felt so responsible for being the reason those 22 innocent victims were murdered and many more injured. How does a 23 year old deal with that? But the resilience and bravery she showed to come back and do what she did today with #onelovemanchester was amazing. Every time she sang or spoke, she did it with pure heart. She was so obviously overcome with emotion. And to come back to the place it happened only 2 weeks earlier, must have been so difficult for someone so young. When she played her last track, which she had done 2 weeks previously, she must have been petrified. I have some serious respect for Ariana Grande now.
I can’t live without music in my life and it filled millions of people with the strength and courage they needed to deal with the emotion and loss they were feeling. The audience was obviously dominated by young people and I was utterly inspired by their reactions – especially their reactions to each other and the maturity both they and the younger artists on stage showed. They all came together for a cause and even though I was sitting on my sofa, 12,000 miles away, I could feel the sense of solidarity between them and with all of us. Human compassion at its finest. Music and youth showing us how they want the world to be. Big up to both.
The word all the artists used throughout the gig was resilience.
This won’t be the only post I dedicate to this word as its too big a subject around our mental and emotional wellbeing. In our house, we know all too well how it is learnt and built over time, and sadly, as a result of dealing with adversity.
Resilience is not something that can really be taught and it is certainly not something we are born with.
I went to a film screening this weekend which showed the most exceptional story of resilience I think I have ever seen. You may have seen the content that went viral a couple of years ago – about Jake Bailey, the incredible 18 year old lad who was head boy of Christchurch Boys High and delivered his leavers speech 3 days into chemo for the most aggressive cancer you can have. Three young filmmakers have made a documentary film about the story behind that speech – called ‘The Common Touch’.
The film will be available to view online for free from early September – please watch it and if you have teenage kids, I really think they should watch it too. Jake is an inspiration to each and every one of us. What that lad went through, to get onto the stage that day to make his speech had tears rolling down my cheeks – but most of all – made me feel utterly inspired by his determination and resilience in the face of the kind of adversity no 18 year old should ever have to face. When they interview Jake 18 months later, he talks about resilience a lot. It has made him the young man he is today.
We build resilience through the hardships and challenges that we are presented with on this journey through life. I’ve built a bucket full (actually it might be verging on a 20ft container!!) on my journey so far and I remember feeling very guilty for my 13 year old daughter having to build it when I was about to go in for surgery. Guilt was my over-riding emotion for what I was putting her through. My mum had cancer when I was only 9 and this certainly helped me through my own journey with my daughter, when she had to face something similar. I did approach it differently though. We learn and improve with each challenge we face. What we have both learnt, as a result, is that because we talked through it all, she is now, a stronger, more emotionally connected, resilient young woman. It’s the talking through it all that’s key here. This gives her the building blocks she needs to handle other issues that affect her on her journey and help others she loves, learn how to do the same, from her own experiences. I am big on this – it’s as important to help others as it is ourselves.
We build resilience through learned experience. Maybe its the silver lining to some of the very dark clouds that appear in our own, and others skies.
Sending much love out to the world right now. ❤️