“…And because in the face of fear, we all have a choice: to recoil, or to face it head on, to move forward and to let your strength overrule.”
Today’s society is a weird one. On the one hand, I’m glad that I’m growing up in today’s modern world, and count myself lucky that we have so much more advanced technology, equality and opportunities to live life the way we want to live life. But at the same time, I have to admit that a part of me finds today’s society…scary.
Well, because I can’t help but feel there is so much more negativity, hate and acts of plain cruelty than there ever used to be. That, or it just wasn’t so greatly publicised before. Who knows. But unfortunately, our society today isn’t granted that luxury. We have to acknowledge the bad things happening in the world and we have to face hard facts. That being said, I do try my utmost best to avoid all forms of ‘news’. In fact, listening to a 2 minute snippet of it on the radio on the way to and from work is about as far as I get. I’ll openly admit I avoid it at all costs, because to me, the news contains nothing but ‘bad’ things. I may be 23 years old and yes, I probably need to get a grip, but if I would rather see the world through rose tinted glasses, then so be it.
Quite how cruel the world can really be came to the forefront last week, when I attended a work event where we had invited Katie Paper to be our motivational speaker. If you don’t know who Katie Piper is, she was an innocent 24 year old, living in London trying to make a life for herself, when a random stranger took that away from her by throwing acid in her face. I won’t go into details, but as you can imagine, her story was heartbreaking, heroic and utterly inspirational.
Before hearing her story, I thought I knew vaguely the ins and outs of the attack. How wrong I was. I don’t think anyone (unless you’ve sadly been through exactly what Katie has) will ever fully be able to understand or comprehend the hurdles she’s had to face. Sadly, Katie Piper didn’t have any other option but to endure the countless operations (I’m talking over 300), physio, as well as dealing with the mental struggle that came with all of it. To me, at first her story only highlighted how unbelievably cruel people in our society can be to one another. For no apparent reason, and to innocent, good people. Of course I’m referring to the attacker here (or child really) who made the decision to throw sulphuric acid over her and change her life as she knew it; as well as the guy she dated a handful of times who organised the whole thing. But, I’m also referring to passers by on our street. The teenagers who shouted abuse at her as she faced life-changing treatment, and the people who think this is acceptable. Despite her trying journey, the outlook Katie Piper continues to have on life is truly inspiring. That’s when I realised her story is actually one of hope, and happiness. And actually, the world doesn’t have to be viewed as a big scary place. It’s full of opportunities, and great moments too – if you let yourself see it that way. As Katie knows best, she could have let this trauma rule her life. But instead, she’s only allowed it to make her stronger. Since the attack 9 years ago, Katie’s set up the Katie Piper Foundation to help other burns victims, written 6 books, done various different programmes relating to body confidence and image, and become an advocate for body positivity, to name a few. Because she’s still beautiful. Inside and out. And because in the face of fear, we all have a choice: to recoil, or to face it head on, to move forward and to let your strength overrule.
You could let all the hate in the world tear you down, make you angry, or make you live in fear. Fear of rejection, humiliation, or of being hurt. It can often be difficult to see the ‘good’ in things within the negativity; from trolls on the internet, bullying, terrorism – even humiliating someone. The list could go on, but I’ll stop here. In some convoluted sense, it seems that society (I use that as a very loose term) gets some kind of thrill from being nasty, cruel or being full of anger towards others. Is it because it makes them feel better about themselves if they’re bringing someone else down? Does it help to take their anger out on an innocent passer by? I guess that’s one thing we’ll never know, or be able to comprehend.
All I can say is this: I hope that you don’t let the anger in the world make you angry. I hope that fear doesn’t hold you back from really living. And I hope that you always let your strength drive you forwards – just like Katie Piper did. Because even in the darkest of times, hate doesn’t equal hate. A wrong doesn’t make a right. And because despite all of the negativity that we so often hear, there’s still so much opportunity for hope, love, and happiness.
Katie Piper, thank you.