You over the years had been stolen, from

You never know how strong you are
until being strong is your only option

I have known
this quotation my whole life, but it was not until a few years ago that it
truly gained value to me.

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This is my
family. Looking at this photo, you would not think that we had just been
through the biggest traumas that we, as a family, had ever endured.

My trauma
occurred in April of 2014. My family and I had just started coming to terms
with what had happened to us whilst on holiday in December and January of
2013/2014. Our home had been ransacked. Every item that my family had collected
and treasured over the years had been stolen, from the very place where we felt
safe. This was the true test of our strength and durability to hold it together
as a family, or so we thought.

Several
weeks later, in the early hours of a shivery Tuesday morning, I was awoken by
my terrified mother and screaming father. There were, once again, intruders in
our home- but this time, we were there to witness it. The gate between the
bedrooms and the rest of my home protected us from the violent intentions of
the creatures that were once again trying to take everything we owned away.
They fled, with only a laptop- leaving a half eaten yoghurt container on my
living room couch. It was like a joke to them. It was not long before security
arrived. Armed men paced up and down the place in which I once felt safe but
now see the cold shadows of the people who tried to take everything. They
walked with their fingers on the trigger ready to shoot. I watched as my
peaceful home became the crime scene of my worst nightmare.

I had just
begun grade 8. I was already dealing with the anxieties of change and of the
first robbery. This was more than my little, hormonal body could handle, so I
thought. But it wasn’t too long before we could move back home after installing
more security and slowly a lot of what we lost started being replaced. I still
didn’t feel right. There was still this feeling of discomfort, knowing that
there still remained the empty footsteps of strangers that had once roamed
through my home, destroying the life that I had built for myself.

I discovered
that with time comes comfort.

Almost four
years later I still feel the effects of the monsters that entered my house and
wrecked everything. I still check that the front door is locked and that the
alarm is set. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe my trauma has taught me to
be vigilant and helped me grow as a person.

Many years
ago a charity box that was bursting with the generosity of others was ready to
go to a charity when it was stolen. An incredible woman said ‘they must have really
needed the money’. When I remembered this, everything was put into perspective
for me. I considered my own charity box- my home. I thought of all the memories
I had collected, of the things that were taken from it. But then I considered
my own privilege. I considered how my family was able to replace everything of
monetary value within weeks. But the people who broke into my home did so
because they couldn’t afford to buy these things for themselves. This still
didn’t justify their actions to me as I was, and still am, dealing with the after-effects,
but it certainly helped me to move forward with my life.

So I now
look at this picture of my family and see how strong we are. I see our history,
both good and bad. When I look at this picture I think about how much we went
through and how it only made us stronger. I remember that we didn’t know how
strong we were until being strong was the only option that we had. 

x

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