Blog: My everyday hero
Often it is the day-to-day heroes in our lives that inspire us. As Molly (Year 12) explained in our Principal’s Assembly this week, sometimes we don’t appreciate their legacy at the time.
I’ve been thinking about my connection to this year’s initiative ‘Making the ordinary, extraordinary’. I have reflected on what the word ‘extraordinary’ means to me. I decided to ask other girls what it means to them. Some of the common adjectives used were ‘remarkable’, ‘rare’ or ‘someone who achieves the impossible’.
I’m going to begin with a story about a woman I know.
Set your minds back to 2010. This woman was happily married, a mother of three in her mid-thirties. She was a hardworking investment banker and supposedly, she “had it all”. On Christmas Eve 2010, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her youngest child was 9 months old at the time and she decided to do, medically, whatever it took to buy herself as many years as she could with her children. In fact, she said at the time, her goal was to see her youngest child start school.
Very quickly she had both her breasts removed and then her ovaries removed, which sent her straight into menopause at the age of 36. This was followed by months of chemotherapy, which resulted in complete hair loss. It was an incredibly difficult time, both physically and mentally.
The best part of this story is that she got to see her youngest child, a boy called Archie start Kindergarten. And in fact, she had her final doctor’s appointment with her cancer specialist just last Friday. She got the all clear after 10 long years. The reason I know so much about this extraordinary woman is that she is my mum.
You may be wondering why I told you this story. Well, remember I told you to think about the word ‘extraordinary’. Is my mum extraordinary? She hasn’t, and probably won’t, solve global malnutrition, or climate change, or racial inequality. And she certainly hasn’t knocked sense into the private school boys who don’t seem to understand consent. She hasn’t done any of these seemingly wide-reaching things, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t extraordinary. Because extraordinary doesn’t have one definition. To be extraordinary, you don’t have to achieve something so unattainable, that it is out of reach for 99% of the population.
In our society, there are so many influences and factors that might be telling you that you are not extraordinary. The media might be telling you that because you don’t have the ‘ideal body’, you are not extraordinary. Perhaps you didn’t get 85% in the last English paper on Skellig, so this must mean you are not extraordinary. Perhaps you are not extraordinary because you didn’t make the A’s, you didn’t get a lead role, or you didn’t get invited to “that party! Well, I’m here to tell you that this just isn’t true.
My mum is extraordinary because she was able to find what this term means to her. Today, she’s gone back to university and is now a midwife. Her three children are still just as crazy, and she is the most positive and resilient woman I know. She found her remarkable, and as young women with so much potential and so much to offer, you can too!
You need to be your own extraordinary. If you only listen to this final line of my speech, then remember this: your extraordinary can mean whatever YOU want it to mean!
Molly (Year 12)