A much younger Chrissy, me and Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG, during our visit at their headquarters in Austin.
One thing I learn as I get older and hopefully wiser, is that life is not all black and white. There are lots of gray areas. Nobody or no thing is all bad or all good. It may make us feel better for a while to categorize things in neat little packages, but eventually it can make us bitter and disillusioned.
This has been true in my life, especially with the addiction and mental illness in my family. I remember when I started examining my past as a young adult, I would make sweeping declarations:”my childhood was terrible,” and, “I had awful parents.” I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore! If I told you my story, you might agree, but it doesn’t take into the account the good. So I learned to forgive and see the people in my life as sick and flawed, but not evil. There is always good in everyone and in every situation. Yes, even my cancer diagnosis.
I’ve been kind of shocked by the amount of venom I’ve seen on Facebook about Lance Armstrong. One person called him evil; another a sociopath. One friend questioned how I could support LIVESTRONG after all he did. These are terms I’d describe for someone who is a murderer or even Hitler. The problem, I believe, is that Lance Armstrong rose to hero status. Then people found out he was not Superman; he’s human. Yes he lied, cheated and hurt people. I would never do what he did, nor do I understand that type of behavior. I watched the Oprah interview, and it was shocking. Yet he admitted he was a flawed human being and apologized. And I cannot discount the good he did by starting his foundation, which has helped people around the world.
He isn’t evil. He isn’t a hero. As much as we want to wrap someone up in a neat label, it’s an illusion. Mother Theresa suffered from depression and admitted she was miserable most of the time. JFK was a great leader, but he cheated on his wife. A majority of our early presidents, including the great George Washington, owned slaves. Does that erase the good they’ve done? Hardly.
This morning, I watched Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG, on the Today Show. I really didn’t like how Matt Lauer was questioning him. I met Doug Ulman back when I started writing my book. He graciously agreed to share his story for the foreword and help me find amazing survivors from LIVESTRONG. Doug spent a lot of time with us when we visited the headquarters in Austin, despite being so busy. I hear he treats every survivor with that level of respect. After our visit, I decided to donate 10 percent of my book proceeds to LIVESTRONG. He is the real deal and will keep LIVESTRONG moving forward. Regardless of what you feel about Lance, LIVESTRONG has helped many survivors, including me.
Judging others is like eating a whole chocolate cake. It might make you feel good while you’re eating it, but in the end, it makes you sick. When I paint someone as evil, I’m not looking at my own flaws. And believe me, I have many. Personally, I don’t like it when people call me brave or inspirational because I know I could never live up to that. I’m simply living my life as best as I can and doing what God has led me to do. That’s all we really can do, whether we’re a celebrity or just an average person. We’re all human … with shades of gray.
PS: On a personal note, after hitting many roadblocks trying to find a clinical trial, I’ve decided to go on a tried-and-true route. I will be taking Affinitor, an FDA approved drug that is supposed to reverse resistance to hormone treatments, along with aromotase inhibitor Aromasin. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
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