I grew up in public housing in a working-class Melbourne suburb. Life was full of small and large triumphs and the same measure of injustices. As a middle child I had an unfair share of unfairness. The message I absorbed was that I was hard-wired for battle. Small skirmishes, full-scale battles; I fought them. I often started them. I usually didn’t feel victorious at the end. I was always wounded.

Somewhere along the way I accepted the label of battler, which is somehow less impressive than warrior. But I did feel like I was at war with the world. I accepted the notion that I was ” just like my father”. It was implied that this was not a good thing. I accepted that I had all of his failings as well as my own.

I embraced these messages and went to war on my own self worth.  As soon as I could I left home. I lived dangerously, ran away, ran towards, and had babies who would love me unconditionally. I made choices that make me prickle with shame and sadness, and only confirm how little value I held for myself back then.

But I fought my way back to now. Education. Therapy. Coaching. Long-lasting unconditional love. More babies. Showing up. Reaching out. Being heard. Inspiring others. Taking risks. Fighting the good fight.

It’s a beautiful thing that when I reclaimed and embraced my warrior spirit, the fight left me. Oh, I still fight but now I fight for myself rather than against my own best interests. I’m an activist for, a champion of me.

And flowers now grow in the battlefields of my past.



Deborah Nicholson