The definition of Victor is: One who defeats an adversary; the winner in a fight, battle, contest, or struggle.
The definition of Victim is: a person who is deceived or cheated, by his or her own emotions or ignorance, or by the dishonesty of others.
I certainly was cheated and abused and hurt and taken advantage of by the dishonesty of others but I determined not to allow my emotions to overrule my intelligence. A wise man once told me “When you buy the thought, you buy the lie!” I learned how to say NO to negative thoughts, to defeatist ideas, to martyr attitudes. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
You can’t be a Victor without going through a battle. The question is whether or not you choose to win or lose.
“V is for Victory!” That was what the doctor said when my daughter was delivered. “You got what you wanted!” All I ever wanted was a baby and I wasn’t sure what the doctor meant. Did he think I might get something other than a baby? My 5 year old son said “I don’t think she’s cooked yet, mommy. She’s all purple and shriveled and stuff.” The doctor showed her to me. She had a birthmark on her forehead in the shape of a “V.” She was born six weeks early and the pregnancy was touch and go from the start. I spent most of my pregnancy in the hospital and was told almost everyday – “We need to prepare you for the worst. The chance of you both surviving this pregnancy is doubtful.” These doctors had no idea who they were dealing with.
By the time my daughter was born, I had already lived a life of trauma. This was just one more hurdle to overcome. It was sheer determination to keep a positive attitude that got me through. Not only did I get through, but my little bundle of joy registered a 10 on the Apgar score for newborns – the highest possible – a perfect 10!
When I decided to finally put pen to paper and write my memoir, Battered Hope, it took a great deal of courage. But I was familiar with courage – it had become second nature to me. I learned how to cope, how to thrive, how to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, it was never easy. Just because you have had a bad experience doesn’t make the next one easier – stronger, yes – easier, no. My memoir has 12 chapters and there is a minimum of one traumatic event in each chapter, oft times, more than one.
I had always regarded myself as a winner. I maintained that attitude no matter what happened. When I would throw a pity party, no one showed up because I never invited anyone. It was easier that way. I discovered that even if you thought you were a winner, if people knew all the trauma you were going through, they would label you a loser and let’s face it, people don’t want to be around a loser.
After my memoir was published, a lot of people who thought they knew me, including family, were amazed at what I had survived. I was always the rock that people depended on; the shoulder to cry on when they had problems. Little did they know that when I cried with them, I was also crying for myself.
I determined at a very young age, that if I made people laugh, it helped me to forget what I was going through. I maintained that attitude throughout my life. I have been married to the same man for 41 years and when asked what has kept our marriage together my answer is “I keep him laughing.”
I have received countless positive reviews for Battered Hope, but the ones I find most interesting are the four negative ones. They all say the same thing “I don’t believe it. It is a bunch of lies. No woman could have that much happen to her and still thrive.” I would rather be called a liar than a bad writer so I accepted those reviews easily and one person that had the gall to say it to my face was met with a response she did not expect. I told her, “You are right. It was actually a lot worse than what I wrote, but I knew people like you wouldn’t have been able to handle the whole truth!”
My question to you is: Are you a victim or a victor? The answer lies in how you look at it. Finding good in every situation may not be easy but it certainly helps you survive. It helps you maintain the attitude that you are a winner and not a loser. It helps you keep things in perspective.
It has been said that the definition of Success is “Getting up one more time after you have been knocked down.” Never stop getting up, success is within reach but if you don’t try, you become the victim.
My daughter is now in her late twenties and when she gets upset her “V” flares up. Whenever I see that, I am elated that I never gave up, but rose to victory in many arenas.
My name is Carol Graham and I recently published Battered Hope. Battered Hope is my true story of a strong, courageous woman overcoming insurmountable obstacles including cancer, rape, marital abuse, suicide attempt, jail, loss of a child and huge financial losses. A gripping, captivating novel.