July 8


What Doesn’t Kill You

By Celeste DeCamps

July 8, 2019

I love reading a good story that I can escape into. I enjoy movies for the same reason.  Disney always has beautiful animations and can really bring a story to life.  What I don’t like is that many of their stories start with the premise that someone, usually a parent, has to die. 
Cinderella and Snow White lose their mothers and then their dads make terrible choices of a new wife.  To make matters worse, the dads die too. Both young girls are left with jealous, horrible stepmothers. Snow White’s stepmom wants to have her killed because she may be prettier than her. 
In The Lion King, Simba’s father is killed by wildebeests right in front of him. Luckily, Simba gets over it by singing Hakuna Matada which means No Worries. He just saw his dad killed but it’s all ok now because we just heard a happy song.
In Frozen, both parents die. In Finding Nemo, the father loses his wife, and all of his children except one, who gets lost. The most traumatic by far, is Bambi. Bambi is just a baby deer when his mother gets shot. I am still not over it. 
Are you feeling uplifted yet? 
Why do these movies, meant for children, have to be so disturbing? I’m pretty sure you can get children interested in a fun story and keep them entertained without a murder taking place.
I resent the stories that prey on children’s darkest fear, which is losing their parents. 
I don’t believe that children should have to face that reality when they just want to be transported to a fantasy world. I still feel that way as an adult. 
I understand that in telling a good story there should be conflict, tragedy, overcoming a dark past filled with bad decisions. I wouldn’t have any good stories if I didn’t make some pretty bad decisions. 
We all want the happy ending that comes from a long, hard journey that is full of redemption, soul searching and finding love. 
Why bring all of this up? I was talking to Wen, a friend of mine, and she gave me a nice compliment. She said that my speeches always make her smile. She said that I never tell sad stories. I said “Yes, that’s true. It’s by choice.” Now, if you know Wen, you can’t get away with an answer like that. She wants to know why. Why make that choice? 
I don’t think I ever put into words why I wouldn’t tell a sad story. I have said that I prefer to tell stories to make people laugh but never really explained why I won’t tell a sad story from my past.
Wen said It takes courage to open up in front of an audience and tell of painful, sometimes heartbreaking experiences. I agree. I would never tell someone not to tell their story. If they think it’s important to share it, by all means, they should do so.  
I have a different perspective on it. I think I can tell inspiring stories without talking about the pain behind them. I believe my message is still impactful. I would rather make people laugh than cry. 
I also feel that if I were to tell my sad stories, there would be two different reactions. I believe some would hear my story and think, “Wow! That’s very upsetting, I feel sorry for Celeste.” (Thank you for that). I also believe that others would think, “That’s not such a sad story, I have much sadder stories.” 
Everyone has a story. It’s those stories that shape us and make us who we are today. I don’t ignore the past. I acknowledge it, especially if I think that my past hurts are affecting my decision making today. I just have to remember to drink my coffee black, without cream, without sugar, and without bourbon and all will be fine. 
At one time or another we are all faced with challenges. I like the motto “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger.” Thank you, Nietzsche. I like to remind myself of that from time to time. We are all stronger than we think. 
I know that there is an emotional hook that many speakers use in hopes that the audience will feel compassion. It’s a way to engage the listener to wanting to know how the story ends. I don’t disagree with that method. 
I am talking about my own personal belief of exposing a wound and how I treated it. I don’t feel the need to start my story there. 
I believe in silver linings and sometimes they’re hard to find. I’ll admit even I couldn’t find the bright side to some events in my past. I had to face the fact some things are not in my control. “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger.”
My hope is that I can inspire people to believe in themselves even when they are dealing with tragedy. For me, having a sense of humor, even in my darkest times, kept me believing in myself. This Should Definitely Kill Me, No? Carry on. 
I will always go for a comedy over a tragic filled movie. That’s how I approach any ideas I want to present. 
We are bombarded everyday with terrible news because of our access to the world in the age of technology. We need comic relief.  
I like hearing comedians take on the current political climate. It’s a real art to be able to make people laugh in the face of possible nuclear destruction. 
My goal in delivering speeches is to guide and entertain. I think we all deal with stress, anxiety and depression. There’s a lot of sadness in this world. I want to be someone who makes others feel happy and encouraged right from the beginning to the very end.
I believe we can deliver our messages of hope without talking about a time of hopelessness. I think we can inspire without talking about a time of great fear. I believe all of us standing here today are all a testament of “What Doesn’t Kill Us Make Us Stronger.” 
Sometimes we need permission to sit in our playpen and be unhappy. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s quite healthy. Eventually, we need to get back to doing our lives. 
I know the cure for me is watching or listening to something funny. To get me out of my head, and focus on the silly side of life. It helps put things into perspective. 
We need to be in the habit of checking in with ourselves. When doom and gloom are threatening to take over, take a moment and breathe.  Make a funny face, do a silly walk or think of someone or something that will brighten your mood. 
When I was a little girl, I was under my mother’s feet a lot. I probably thought I was helping. One day a friend of my mother’s stopped by. She looked at me and said, “Well, hello. What is your name?” Innocently, I replied, “Shit Celeste”.  I heard that so much, I thought that was my name. My poor mother was so embarrassed.
To this day, when I find I’m beating myself up I can hear myself say, “Shit, Celeste.” I end up laughing. 
We should all be able to laugh at ourselves. It makes us instantly feel better. 
I think messages that want the audience feeling better about themselves should be fun. Messages about trying our best to find success should make us smile. Messages that inspire us to take chances should make us laugh.
I’m happy to report that no one was harmed in the making of this article. Today everyone lives. Take that Disney!
About the author

Celeste DeCamps has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Miami. She worked in radio and television, was a professional belly dancer, drummer, percussionist, nightclub owner, and a sales rep for Southern Wine and Spirits for 12 years. Throughout her different career moves, speaking to and teaching women how to be more confident is Celeste's most fulfilling job.

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