“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” -Mulan
I’m not sure what to make of this quote to be honest. Part of me agrees and part of me doesn’t.
People have told me that they are amazed at what I have done and continue to do in the face of adversity. I grew up sick, dealt with sexual abuse and assaults, felt helpless watching my sister being beaten by family, and continue to deal with depression and chronic pain issues. Despite all that, I have achieved a lot. I finished high school with honors and an International Baccalaureate diploma, in addition to being one of the valedictorians. I was the first woman in my immediate family line to go to and graduate from college. I started college with sophomore standing due to my IB and AP credits. I continue to work and to live my life as normal as possible, even though it hasn’t turned out really at all like I’ve planned.
I try to carry on being a realistic optimist. I know it sounds like an oxymoron and, to be honest, often feels like one. However, it is who I am.
I don’t think that makes me that rare or beautiful like this flower. I wouldn’t be the same without each thing I’ve gone through but that doesn’t necessarily make me better for it. Every person deals with a set of crap circumstances. These are the things of which life is made. My set of circumstances just happen to surround a very dysfunctional family, assholes interjecting their ways into my life, and Arthur the biggest asshole of all. But things could be worse. I could be my fiance’s aunt, fighting breast cancer a second time and not particularly winning the battle. I could have lost my legs in the Boston bombings. My sister could have died when she had a seizure a few years ago. My mom could have died in the hospital in October.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who clearly have it better than me either, but we all have our crosses to bear. Laura taught me that my hurt could not ever equal the hurt someone else feels. We all handle things differently and we have to help each other through that. As much as she didn’t compare pains and experiences, I know that the things I’ve gone through with my illness will never even come close to what she had gone through. Even as she was becoming more and more ill, starting to die of infection, she tried to help me figure out what was going on with my back (clearly she didn’t know what was happening to her). She did not try to make others feel horrible because she was clearly worse off than them, but to encourage friendship, support, and community. Knowing her made my life infinitely better.
Laura is this rare and beautiful flower, now wilted never to bloom again. The rest of us are simply trying to catch up.