Resilience makes us stronger through crisis and trauma

Many people say that it is our most difficult experiences that make us stronger individuals. That is, by going through the hardest times we somehow become resilient.

Looking at my own life, I believe that I have shown resilience as I have been through a lot of tough situations and have come out a stronger person. I am a First Nations woman in Canada, my name is Christine Fiddler and I have a teenage son and daughter living with me in Saskatoon. My Cree (Nehiyaw) traditional spiritual name is Nanatewiskwew, a name given to me by my great-grandmother, Florence Crookedneck. The meaning of my name is best explained as the heatwaves, or energy you see from the sun. I was born in northern Saskatchewan in the treaty 6 territory of Waterhen Lake First Nation. I am the fourth child of six girls and five boys. My parents have been married for over 40 years and are still alive and well. I have a very large extended family.

As a child I wasn’t much into sports but I loved reading and later on, writing. These were the activities that gave me a lot of comfort through troubled times in my family. I spent many days outdoors and had my siblings to always keep me company. Throughout my childhood, I went through some fun times and very traumatic times with my family. The fun times were staying up late in the summers, going camping out in the bush, and sitting around a fire talking and telling stories. My parents went to residential school as children. Our family has been through a lot of difficulties because of this including the traumatic death of our 4-year old brother, a fire that caused us to lose our house, my dad’s struggle with alcoholism, and my mom’s struggle with depression. Despite our struggles to recover from those experiences, I am fortunate to have been raised by both of them. The teachings they have given me include showing resilience through continuous self-improvement and to use the strong Cree cultural and spiritual ceremonies to help myself. These have helped me through my education dealing with the effects of racism, family illness, and a relationship break-up.

I believe that a person’s resilience has a lot to do with their emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical growth combined. I strive to find a balance in these areas through practice in ceremonies and prayer, taking good care of myself during crisis situations, and continuous recovery from trauma. As well, I have persisted through my post-secondary education and training to get a BA in English and a Masters of Education degree so I can have the qualifications to work in urban and First Nations areas.

Career-wise, I am writer, educator, and entrepreneur. I love to write and teach adult learners in university courses and First Nations communities. Right now I am employed by an organization and I hope to slowly transition to the freedom and independence of thought and action that comes with being a small business owner. I just started on this venture and pray that it will work out to sustain me in my life.

A small step I recently took is signing up in a toastmasters club to help me become a stronger public speaker so I can deliver the workshops and presentations I offer as part of my business. My aim is to make a positive impact through my words and presence and to show confidence in what I say in front of a crowd. Definitely, I believe I am practicing resilience, as I deal with improving this part of myself. I plan to keep on with this work and know that I will see more difficulties and unexpected trauma in my life; but I also expect to see great things materialize because of my resilience.

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