Rock bottom, where best things happen


“And so rock-bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”. JK Rowling

I confess to never having read a Harry Potter book.  Nor do I have any desire to do so.  However, the quote by the author, JK Rowling, reflecting on her life as a single mother at the time before the book hit the world, resonates deeply.

In the early 1990s we moved into a new home with two young children, one still an infant.  I took a significant salary cut (a quarter of my annual salary to be exact) just so I could work 10 minutes from home instead of a 45 minute commute.  Less than two years later my marriage ended.  I found myself in a state of panic.  I had mortgage commitments at a time when I lost my job due to a restructure.  I also started a degree and did not want to walk away from my studies.  At this time of my life, academically, I focused on one essay, one assignment at a time.  On a personal level, I focused on my life in 15 minute segments.  If I could get through that short window of time and be functional, I could push forward to the next.  I had no choice.  The children were dependent on me on a day to day basis.

So far, my story is not special in any way.  It is the same as millions of women who find themselves in a similar situation.

On reflection, during pause, I have had to face some truths.  My son, the infant in the story, insists on this.  So, this blog is for him.

Somewhere within me was a dream that remained intact when all else had shattered.  I needed to know I had something to contribute that would be valued more than I was not.  So strong was my desire that the universe conspired to deliver it.  Through a convoluted set of circumstances, my path crossed that of a young professor who encouraged me to write, creatively and academically.  Always in the background, now, writing became my lifeline.

Before long, second year into undergraduate studies I was published in professional journals.  The following year I was invited to present a paper at a conference in the USA.  I had poetry published, by invitation, in an anthology.  I did poetry readings around Perth.  I was an active member of writing groups.  Then tragedy struck again.  The young professor, my mentor, was killed in a freak accident, just before I was invited into the postgraduate program.  So I did what I do best.  I carried his legacy, his research, into the next phase of my academic journey.  It was the best way to honour his memory and his presence in my life.

I completed my postgraduate studies at a time when I was at my most fragile.  Yet, when I look back, I was at my strongest and most resilient.  It confirmed for me, I could rise to a challenge.  I rebuilt my life.

I am not wealthy as JK Rowling.  Nor am I beautiful.  But, like JK Rowling, I am successful in my own right.  I am strong.  I am resourceful.  I am resilient.  I have a good heart and spirit.

I allow no one to mess with those truths.  Not even myself.

May you, too, find some truths within you, that are undeniable.

Until then,

As always,

a dawn bird


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