I wrote a blog the other day about how the ‘hero’ narrative was bothering me and here’s a reply I had from an ex-service man.
“I served in the RAF for 25 years and that included fighting in a war.
Please don’t call me a hero. I understand that you want to say thank you and you know, I really do appreciate the flags, food and celebration. But I just want to revel in being with you again. Because I was just doing my job – and now I am home again.
When you call me a hero I cannot talk to you about how things really were. How we quickly made things normal. How we laughed and played jokes on each other. How we managed to have fun in the darkest of moments. And we saw the reports on the television and in the newspapers about how we had been let down. But we didn’t feel let down, and I want to tell you how we coped with broken or missing equipment; and just made do, because we were just doing our jobs.
Because you see, heroes do impossible things! Like rescuing people from burning buildings, or someone from drowning. But was just doing my job, and if I told you about my job it would disappoint you. There were heroes on the television and you heard of stories of selfless acts’ and bravery. But you see I just did my bit, so that someone else could be the hero.
My part was so small, and I am afraid that I not the person you think I am or that you will ‘find me out’. Because actually, I am just really proud that I did my job well, and I am confident that I played my part – but raising me as a hero is not helping. Because I start to doubt if I did enough, and your expectations are so high.
So you see, I can never tell you how it really was. Because what I did was ordinary and you want the extraordinary. So let’s not talk about it anymore and we won’t be disappointed”
Thank you Andy and all the people who are working, staying home, doing what they have to do to keep the country safe and functioning, albeit differently, at the moment.
Remember, fear, sadness and anger are normal at this time and if you need help with your emotions you can sign up to the free course I made with Psychologies Magazine by scrolling down or looking to the side of this blog. Also, hop over this page for links to live meditations or if you miss them, the recordings are on the video/podcast page for free .
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