|"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." - Carl Jung|
I have been thinking about victimization lately. A few years ago I bought a box full of pink ribbon pins. I handed some out at work and among my girlfriends. I put some in a bowl that I kept on my desk. As people stopped by, friends, co-workers, and students, they were welcomed to take one (or more).
One day a student came by to meet with me. She asked about the pins and I offered her one. Then she asked, “Are you a victim of breast cancer?” I was both shocked and offended by her question, but I hope my face did not show it. Instead, I quietly asked if she would mind a “teaching moment.” She had the time and settled herself into the chair. (Our financial aid discussion was over).
It was in that moment that I found my answer; the answer for which I had been searching, for myself. There are no victims. There are survivors and there are those who lost their battle. I am not a victim. I refuse to be victimized. I am strong, and stubborn, and determined.
When I learned I would have to undergo chemotherapy treatments I became determined to take the bar exam and graduate with my class even if I were bald. Yes, I did both. When I began to learn more about breast cancer I became determined to share my knowledge with others. As friends and colleagues have begun their own battles with various forms of cancer I became determined to do what I can to fight this disease.
Along the way my determination has blossomed into dedication. As an educator I want to share my knowledge with others. I like to think of sharing opportunities as “teaching moments.” So I dedicate myself to learning, teaching, supporting others, and doing what I can to support organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Avon Foundation. Organizations that do so much by way of support services, treatment, and research.
Yesterday I gave my last pink ribbon pin to a co-worker. She seemed genuinely happy to receive the pin and said she would proudly wear it. She does not know my story; at least not from me. I know the time is coming when I will share that part of my life with her. For now, I need to order some more pins. And I will continue to share with and support others when God puts me in the appropriate situation. I am what I have chosen to become.