I whip my hair back and forth...

Unless you've been living under a rock or something... you've probably heard that Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith has a blazing hot new single called "Whip My Hair". She is a fiesty 9 year old girl who has stolen my heart with this wonderful little tune. Why? Because she reminds me to be present... and to be happy to be an individual.

Whip my hair is about being an individual. To quote Willow, "Like you can't be afraid of yourself. You have to be yourself and you can’t let anyone tell you that it’s wrong!"

The song is catchy with an infectious hook and a happy beat. The video that was just released yesterday is equally amazing and fun and effervescent. In this song, Willow has captured the essence of what it means for me to be a breast cancer survivor... its MY life now. I get to choose how to live it, what to do with it, and what brings me joy.

I whip my hair back and forth...

Being happy is a choice that you have to make every day. Several times a day. All the time in fact. Life is constantly presenting challenges. Some of them stop you in your tracks. Some of them are easy to get beyond. But everytime you're faced with one... you have, in that moment, a chance to choose how you will react to it and whether your will choose happiness or something else.

I read recently that people who think of themselves as happy people tend to constantly look at life as a series of choices and obstacles. They choose to see challenges not as impenetrable walls or road blocks but as detours. You choose one path and then a challenge pops up... if you sit there and stare at the challenge, cry about the unfairness that the challenge appeared in your way, sit down and study the challenge... you're missing an opportunity to be happy and to be on your way.

Go around it. Or maybe you need to go under it. Sometimes you may have to go back a little bit to find a different path to reach your goal. But the choice to be happy while you keep moving is always yours.

I don't say any of this facetiously. I know that some of the challenges that life presents to us can knock us to our knees. Learning that I had breast cancer, that I would have to give up my breast and my fertility in order to save my life... knocked the wind out of me and pushed me to my knees. And it hurt. It hurt so very deeply that I can still feel the heartbreak from that time. But the choice to smile and find something -- no matter how small -- to be happy about was mine.

I'll be honest. I didn't always choose happiness. There were (and still are) lots of moments when I do just stop and cry. I look at the obstacles in front of me and I just cringe. I shout out to God that I've simply had enough of the shenanigans. And then after I've gotten it out of my system... I get up. And I start moving again.

Or as Willow says... "I whip my hair back and forth..."

Check out the video, if you haven't seen it already.
Whip my hair - youtube video

PS. I am not trying to make light of having breast cancer or going through any type of traumatic experience. If you find that you cannot find your way to joy or happiness... you may need to talk to a counselor or a therapist. Depression is real. Post-traumatic stress disorder is real. And sometimes you need more than willpower or a catchy tune to find your way to happiness. There is no shame in seeking help. There is no shame in grieving your losses. If the people who love you and see you most often seem concerned about your sadness... chat with someone who may be able to help steer you in the right direction.

But if it feels like a temporary state of unhappiness... just whip your hair back and forth until you giggle. Believe me, it works.

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