This week I was honored twice publicly–and embarrassed several times over.
The honors have to do with being positive. I am known in my community for being a positive individual. That’s a great label to have. On Thursday night my fitness studio held a positivity celebration in my name and this weekend the local paper did a story on that–and on me.
The embarrassment comes from exactly the same place as the honor: the positivity moniker. It’s not the typical thing to have–I’ve been called late, funny, cranky, goofy–all things that relate to being a typical human in the world. But “positive”? That’s something I’ve heard as a choice. Or as a goal. Not as “me.”
I feel awkward saying “thank you” to this designation. Why I am not sure. Maybe because it highlights an obvious factor of my life now: I am positive, yes– because I have to be. If I’m not positive, I’m negative–and the cancer gets the upper hand in my fight, and sorry Charlie, that won’t fly with me.
But being lauded for this choice seems…I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like being congratulated for having blonde hair (when I used to have hair). The response I’d feel would be: it’s my hair, it’s just there. I didn’t do anything to “get” it. It showed up on my head at 4 months old. How can I be congratulated?
Likewise, being “positive” is not something I chose. Well I guess somewhere in my mind I went that way instead of negative, but honestly: it’s just the only way to go during this ridiculous bullsh-t. It’s like if you’re swimming and you begin to be pulled under. Nobody thinks, “Hmmm, sink or swim? Let’s see. This is a tough one. I’ll be honest, I haven’t sunk to the bottom in a very long time. This could be my last moment alive. Hmmm. But…on the other hand, swimming is healthy. What to do? Think think think. Oh alright, I choose swim.” Nobody does that. Everybody tries to swim.
So to everybody involved, thank you for singling me out as someone who represents positivity in your life. I am honored. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am a tiny bit embarrassed…BUT I love it. I am grateful beyond words.
But I need you to know this:
without you opening up to this positivity –mine or somebody else’s–there is no positivity. Like I said to the amazing group of people at the celebration on Thursday night: if you don’t allow it in, positivity can’t shine. It takes two people to make that work. And I’ve walked by many a person who pushed off my positivity and went on their grouchy way untouched by what you say I give you.
Maybe there’s where the choice comes in–those who don’t get there naturally. If that’s who I’m reaching right now please know this: when you decide to let positivity in, you reflect it back to the world…and to each other…and to me. And mostly to yourself.
To those who’ve honored me this past week, those who have gotten to the postiivity place naturally, I say this: if I could write a headline for you and show you what you mean to me in my breast cancer fight, it would read something like this:
“Ann Murray Paige Spreads Message of Hope–Because You Let Her.”
Thanks for letting me.