“everybody’s got something”

the list of books i’d like to read is a mile long. the majority are of the self-help variety, but even those that aren’t share a common denominator: they are uplifting. i think most would agree that life is pretty damn hard, so personally, i prefer literature that 1) helps people to cope with our multitude of issues 2) shares stories of people who have overcome great obstacles.

i came upon the book i’m currently reading by accident. i’m doing research for my day job, which led me to good morning america cohost robin roberts’ memoir, everybody’s got something. in it she shares the story of not one but TWO bouts of cancer. roberts doesn’t sugarcoat either of the two cases (the first, breast cancer; the second, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow called myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS for short); rather, she’s very real about just how scared she was. her words touched me so deeply because the struggle with cancer is close to my heart: it killed my father slowly and painfully. it hurts to read about all of the bad and the ugly, but on the flip side, it’s just amazing to me that roberts can speak of her pain and suffering with such poise and positivity. she talks a lot about how she has always been an eternal optimist who managed to err on the bright side even when a doctor told her that her MDS diagnosis gave her between one and two years to live if she didn’t get a bone marrow transplant. i can’t even imagine what that must be like.

but i digress. while roberts’ optimism is truly inspiring, that wasn’t the initial fodder for this post (though i do love me an optimist). i wanted to focus on the “everybody having something” bit. we’re often so caught up in our own [what are often petty] problems that we fail to consider that those around us could be suffering also, and about something far more serious. in fact, show me a person without a problem, and i’ll show you my flying pig. exactly. so my takeaway from this book is that compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give to the people we encounter every day. loved ones of course, but also strangers who give us dirty looks on the street because we abruptly change directions and almost bump into them (as you might have guessed, this happened to me today). but it’s all good. because who knows what that girl was/is going through? god forbid, she could be dealing with a sick parent, or worse, could be battling a life-threating illness herself. after all, we’ve all got something.

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