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One of the biggest challenges we face is fear. We are always taught that in order to get over these fears, we must face them. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, it is an understatement to say we were afraid—afraid she might die, afraid of how we were going to tell people, afraid of what chemotherapy would do, and just afraid of the unknown future. What was especially terrifying was this was a fear we had no choice but to face. There was absolutely no way to run from it. It was something that was happening, and we weren’t ready for it.
There is a certain attitude that a lot of breast cancer survivors and their families adopt. It is one that my family has adopted and firmly believes in, and it is this: There is always a bright side to things because you can always learn from them.
I am on my own for the first time. I am in Europe for three months, learning how to be independent and trying to grow up. It is the hardest and scariest thing I have ever had to do, and there is no running from it. It is because my mom faced her cancer and my family got through it, despite our fear, that I know I will be OK. My mom taught me there isn’t anything I can’t do, and I am slowly starting to realize it.
I have met the most amazing and interesting people on my trip. I have learned way more than I bargained for, and I have seen places I never imagined existed. I have opened my eyes to new cultures, even the ones that are out of the “norm,” and I have learned from them. It is in these places—the unexpected, seemingly ugly ones—that I find the most beauty because they have the most to teach me.
I have always been one to see the good in people and places. Sure, I may be a little off sometimes, but I am proud to say that I have the capability of finding beauty in everything. I have never had cancer, but I have a mom that has, and she has taught me that life is beautiful in every aspect, even the ones that scare us. Even when I am afraid and feel like I’m in the dark, I know I’ll come out a better person because I will have learned something, and that in itself defeats all fear.