Article is written by Lauren Mullis, LCSW
An excerpt from Brene Brown’s book, ‘Daring Greatly’
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly…” (Theodore Roosevelts speech “Citizens in a Republic” sometimes referred to as ‘The Man In The Arena’ 1910)
Brene writes.. “The first time I read this quote, I thought, ‘This is vulnerability…Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in…Vulnerability is not a weakness, and uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional… When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those that only we can make… We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”
When I was asked to share my view of my mother dealing with cancer and how she’s taken the world by storm by helping others, I just didn’t know how to articulate what I’ve learned and what she has modeled for me. This is it. It’s about courage. It’s about vulnerability. It’s about Daring Greatly. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over ten years ago. She has encountered one nasty surgery, numerous chemotherapy treatments, one recurrence … developed hundreds of new relationships, lost many of her closest friends due to the “C Monster”, and through it all, she finds JOY. Mom often uses the phrase “expect miracles”… she does not let cancer rob her of enjoying her life and she is determined to get something fun out of everyday. Finding joy, having fun, and living fully is what she views as a miracle… every single day. She has taught me that nobody’s journey is easy and we all have to fight hard to live authentically and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and “walk through open doors” (her words, not mine), we can experience joy and a life of contentment.
Through our experience, I’ve been called to work in Cancer Care as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Although I am blessed to dig deep, and learn from so many survivors and caregivers about how to live authentic, embrace vulnerability, and find purpose and meaning…. Nothing compares to the lessons I’ve learned from my personal experience as a daughter. It’s hard to explain the bond between mother and daughter. I love laughing with her, hearing about all her adventures (walking through every “open door”), knowing I can talk to her every day, and above all learning how to be a courageous woman just like her.
Lauren obtained a Child Development undergraduate degree and Masters of Clinical Social Work degree from Appalachian State University. She also has a certification in Clinical Social Work Oncology. She currently provides counseling and manages support programs at Cone Health Cancer Center in Greensboro, NC.
Her mother, Patsy Hinson, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2006 and had a recurrence of cancer in 2009. Following her diagnosis, she pursued genetic testing and was found positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation. Subsequently, Lauren also tested positive for the mutation. As a survivor, Patsy has developed strong relationships supporting fellow survivors and educating healthcare professionals on the personal impact of a cancer diagnosis.
Advocacy “runs in the family” and both Patsy and Lauren are active in the advocacy community organizing support groups, advocating for research to find a cure, helping survivors access needed resources and more.
Lauren and her mother love the adventures of travel and thrift shopping.