Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you will have heard Oprah Winfrey’s phenomenal acceptance speech for her thoroughly well-deserved Golden Globe Cecil B.DeMille award.
So many parts of Oprah’s speech resonated with me, particularly the part when she spoke of those “people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you.”
She said the one quality all those people share is “an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
What overwhelmed me, as I cried with my bestie during a particularly tough day, was the friends who tagged me in their share of that post on social media, or messaged me saying they thought of me when they heard the speech.
While there are many in this world who have endured days far uglier than mine, I have finally come to a place where I can sit in the discomfort of what life has thrown at me in recent years. It is after all, my truth.
While I was single-parenting my, at times medically volatile, baby, my 35-year-old sister was diagnosed with stage four terminal bowel cancer. The world of my family and everyone close to my sister was turned upside down and inside out.
It was 2010, and living in a state of positivity had become very popular. If you believe in something without any doubt, you can make it happen, right? Think positively and it will all work out, right? Everything happens for a reason, right? If someone really wants to beat cancer, they will, right?
Karma? I know for certain my son did not do anything to deserve the health challenges he has endured. I’ve wracked my brain thinking back to everything I’ve done in my life wondering why karma has thrown such challenges at me. I know for certain my extraordinary sister did not do anything to deserve the relentless cancer she fought with her absolute everything. She was determined to beat it.
Karma? I call bullshit.
Listen: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to structure our grief. Robin Bailey and Bec Sparrow of The Well explain. (Post continues after audio…)
So, when life is throwing obstacles at you, how can you possibly manage to maintain hope? I think for all of us who have lived with this daily battle, it is different. It is different because we all have our own unique histories and life experiences that mean we have different coping mechanisms.
The tight circle I have in my world, who have let me have my bad moments, have become my rocks. They are the people who hold me up when I don’t think I can go on. They are the people who remind me of what I have come through, and the ones who let me ‘ugly cry’ when I need to. They have been around me long enough to know that the ‘ugly cry’ is a short time of release that I need to then move on to the ‘getting back up’ state I more regularly reside in.