October was a pretty hard month for me………so was November. Today is a new month and with it, new blessings and a positive outlook. I can only take one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, depending on the day. However, I like to be sure to be thankful for each moment, good or bad, because I know I will learn something from it. I wrote this in October for my Toastmasters meeting for my fourth speech and I gave the speech in November. The more I write, the more I can be thankful and positive and look at what I can do…….not at what I am not able to do. That’s always so important for me to remember…..it can be so much worse, so be thankful for my blessings.
I wanted to share my speech. Please forgive the grammar…….it’s the message I want to share. Enjoy:
Written: October 24, 2014
Speech #4 How to say it titled “What Defines You”
What defines you? Is it your job? Your spouse? Your kids? Your looks? Your body? Your age? An illness or disease? What defines you?
Good evening Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and honoured guests. There are times I wonder, what defines me. I’m sure some others of you may have thought the same thing at one time or another….maybe even now because I just brought it up.
I’m not sure what used to define me, but after Feb 27, 2014, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I thought that might define me. I didn’t want it to. I didn’t want people to look at me and say, oh, the one with cancer. Or for people to not tell me things because I had cancer. Or be afraid to be around me because I had cancer. I’ve learned over the past months that cancer makes people very uncomfortable.
They don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to ask. So, many times, people just avoid me. That’s how I feel anyways, even though it is probably not ture. Maybe looking at me, reminds them of cancer. Maybe seeing me reminds them of someone they lost or love with cancer. Instead of seeing me, I feel they see cancer, and that is not who I am. It is not what defines me.
I feel I am defined by my heart first of all. I have a great faith and love for God. That defines me. I am a stay at home mom of 3 precious boys. That defines me. I am a wife to an amazing man, Aaron. That defines me. I am a successful business owner. That defines me. Cancer does not and will not define me.
I think sometimes, we focus too much on one thing that “defines us.” I personally don’t think one thing defines us. I believe we are made up of so many different things that make us special and unique. Who ever said one thing should ever define us? Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? Do you really want to only be known for one thing, or be known for several things, to many different people. That’s what I want.
I am defined by what I am doing that day. Am I doing a business presentation? Am I doing a playdate? Am I going on a date with my husband? Even in the midst of all of that, I’m still not defined by any one of those things. I am a combination of many things. I wear many different hats. I adapt to the day, the situation and the place.
What defines me? My love to help other people, including my boys and my husband. My willingness to help people understand that there is more to life then cancer. To help people overcome their fears on what cancer is and what cancer looks like. I started a blog in June of this year. I wanted to write out how I was feeling and what got me through each day. I know each persons journey and experience is different, I just wanted to share mine. I thought, if I could just help one person going through breast cancer, that would be enough. So, I started breastcancerandmeblog.com
I am still not completely done all of my surgeries for my breast cancer, but the worst is over. I did each day with a smile on my face. I choose to be positive. I choose to be happy and thankful. I choose taking one day at a time and being grateful. I believe this is another aspect that defines me.
Let’s not focus on what one thing defines us and let’s not let one thing define someone else. If you know someone with an illness a disease, separated, divorced, whatever it may be. That doesn’t define them. I find whether we mean to or not, we judge people by one thing or one event in their life. Should one event define anyone? I don’t believe so.
People change, people grow, people learn. We are supposed to be here to help and support each other because at some point in each of our lives, we are going to go through something. When you finally do go through something hard, something that you may feel will “define you”, would you rather people be there to support and encourage you, or put a sticker on you saying “that defines them”.
Hard times, challenges, whatever you want to call it, is what makes people different and the best thing we can do is show grace to one another. You never know what life will hand you, don’t let it define you and don’t let it ever bring you down.
I don’t want cancer to define me. It won’t. However, peoples actions towards me at times, makes me feel like it does. I have been learning to not take it personal . People mean well, most just don’t know how to deal with life changing events, because they haven’t been through one and that’s okay. That doesn’t define them. We all do the best we can with what we are given.
If you leave here with one thing tonight, please don’t let one thing ever define you. Don’t ever let other peoples thoughts or actions define you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You define your own life by your actions.
So, let me ask you again………..what defines you?