Let's start with this: I know I put myself and my story out there. I 100% acknowledge that I, very willingly, shared with media outlets big and small my decision to have preventative surgery and my journey since. Now, since I've made that clear, I also 100% acknowledge that there are some real crazies out there. And especially when you are dealing with the Internet. I decided to write about this topic of sharing your story, the media that shares it and what you can do to move beyond negativity because I think it is really relevant to anyone who feels passionate for a cause and wants to shout it from the rooftops, rather than sit quietly. And when it comes down to it, it's up to asking yourself one question: is the attention and awareness you're spreading bigger than the (sometimes ignorant and negative) crazies in the world? For me, the answer is astoundingly no short of "hell yes." From the moment I posted my first blog, I was overwhelmed by not only gratitude for all the love I was receiving, but also by the extreme amount of confidence I was feeling in myself. Confidence is something I've struggled with in the past, maybe not outwardly, but through different stages in my life, so to feel a new confidence come from within, it was a strangely new feeling that I was immensely proud of. I could have kept quiet, shared it with a few close friends, but deciding to speak out and loudly about my mission has proven to be the best decision I have ever made.
Now to the media. The whole joke of the matter is that I work in marketing and advertising and have an educational background in journalism and public relations. So should I have seen all this coming? Yes, and I did. And I absolutely know that by putting your story out there for the world, you open yourself up to criticism. But the tricky part is remembering to have thick skin when people react either negatively or just have differing views and opinions. Because that does happen, and I think always will. It's part of why my story is unique. Not many young women go through a preventative surgery like mine, but that's part of my mission; to spread awareness for something that could save a life, and especially for those that were unaware or in fear of the information I sought out and used to be proactive.
I'm fortunate that I have had incredibly supportive people in the media help share my story. My first interview with Sheree from Channel 5 was just wonderful and she was so, so sweet to me through the entire process. Obviously my experience shooting the TV commercial for UC Health was just as wonderful and in such a supportive environment. And by far the most rewarding experience was my quick few minute interview with Lynn Berry from HLN. I ended that Skype interview in such awe of her compassion and just flat out praise for my mission to share my story.
So where does any negativity come in? The comments. There are a lot of people out there that have strong opinions and also like to share them from behind their computer screen. And that can be very hard, and I can promise you that I have to force myself not to read too much into them, or read them at all. Someone told me recently, and it was genius, that it's like being a celebrity and knowing they shouldn't read what was said about them in USWeekly. Now, I'm no celeb, but it is totally applicable. Celebrities know that people will find something to be negative about for everything, and it's just not worth it. So do I. It's a balancing act between respecting that everyone has an opinion and it's perfectly acceptable for others to not share yours, and also knowing that it may not be worth causing yourself any pain to always read everything they have to say.
So what can you do: Surround yourself by positive people, praise and environments. Embrace those who support you and your mission, whatever it may be. It's those people who will remind you why you're fighting for what you're fighting for, and never let you forget it. Soak in all the accomplishments you receive and applause you collect along the way. Happiness does wonders on the soul. And lastly, put yourself in environments that bring out the best in you. You will not be able to please everyone or gain everyone's support. That's just life. But you can be the best you can be and do the best you can possibly do, in your own world. And sometimes that is enough to fend off any negative vibes.
So for me, I'll keep striving to spread awareness for high-risk young women, no matter what a random Internet crazy comments. And for all of you who are passionate for a special cause in your heart, I hope you keep fighting for what you believe in and finding it in yourself and from those who support you, to keep on keepin' on.