by Sara Crawford
November 7, 2016
How can we continue to create positivity in a world without Kelly Cosby?
Kelly was a nerd. I say this in the most loving fashion as I am someone who dresses up to attend comic conventions. She had a personal mission statement. How many people you know have personal mission statements? One, one person: Kelly. This is because Kelly was a giant nerd who was interested in living life to the fullest.
So in this mission statement there are several habits Kelly used to shape herself into the incredible influential person that changed all of our lives. I struggle with all of them, but if I had to address one I struggle with the most day to day it is “create positivity.”
If I had to put myself on the negative-positive spectrum I would put myself somewhere between negative to neutral. And if I am being completely honest, I have only become more negative since Kelly died. Obviously this is not a healthy thing, so I do try to work on creating positivity, but every day it’s a constant struggle. Kelly was literally fighting cancer to stay alive and she would address all of the things she was thankful for. She would surround herself with positivity and remove negativity. In her mission statement it says “create positivity.” That’s right: “create,” not spread. Create. Kelly created positivity out of thin air, from situations where many would find none at all.
In the early stages of mourning Kelly, I was just mad all of the time. I was mad that we lived in a world where someone like Kelly was taken from us too soon. I was mad that her parents had to bury a child, I was mad Kelly’s Aunt Mona had passed away a year earlier from cancer (like seriously what the hell world???). For a little while I just drifted along with the rage train. Just felt my anger for a while. But I kept on having this thought of Kelly in the back of my mind, and how mad she would be at me for being so angry. I had this cloud of negativity surrounding me all of the time.
To drag myself out the negative anger prison I had created for myself, I dove deep into Kelly’s blog. She had so many reasons to be an angry negative person, but she wasn’t. She not only managed to keep herself positive but also those around her. I created a list of 6 tips to help me maintain and grow my positivity. Some of the tips are specific to me, and some are strongly influenced from Kelly that help me create positivity. I use these tips frequently, because I work as a pediatric intensive care nurse and I am reminded of our mortality every day I work. And honestly, if I you are not super careful you can become a negative, hopeless, burnout nurse pretty quick.
I mean if you are a cat person it could be cats instead of dogs. Kelly didn’t really like cats… so we all know that dogs are superior. Anyway dogs are great. They are cute, and fluffy, and sense when you are sad. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the negativity in the world I make sure to look at some dog pictures, or pet some dogs.
- Being thankful
The other day, after losing a patient, one of my coworkers posted this quote: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” –Winnie the Pooh
It is hard to be thankful when things are sad, and it seems really silly to tell you be thankful for the time spent with those you lost (i.e. Kelly for me). But for real it is the truth.
- Accepting that things are sad sometimes, but remembering the good in the world
“A lot of scary things have been happening lately. So many awful things followed by so much banding together, kindness, and healing. We can choose to focus on the good or the bad, but we can’t ignore either one. I think though, that the good things can be more powerful if we give them that power.” –Kelly Cosby, April 2013
Seriously Kelly was so good at this. Kelly never forgot that there was bad in the world. She never tried to reach blissful ignorance. She addressed horrible things directly, and then made efforts to change them. I feel like so often we just want to turn a blind eye, especially to issues that are happening on the other side of the planet. We just want to pretend that we live in a perfect world where everyone is happy and no one dies, but that is not how it is. And if you continue to ignore the sadness will catch up with you someday. Kelly was very active in social justice issues affecting people all over the world. She accepted that things weren’t always perfect, but was in awe at the love and kindness that does exist in the world. I strive to be more like Kelly in this way.
I maybe try a little too hard to get people to laugh. Actually, I am not sure there is a such thing as trying too hard to get people to laugh. Seriously, laughter is magical science that makes you feel better and makes you better. I try to set a goal each day to get my coworkers to have a good laugh, and if it is appropriate, to get my patient and their parents to laugh. Don’t let people know you are doing it, it makes it significantly more difficult. Kelly and I probably became friends originally because of our shared love for laughter.
- Spending time with loved ones
Kelly was the best at this. I mean she came home to visit her family all the time, and she was in freaking law school. She was a crazy busy woman who in undergrad pulled off astounding grades, job, and involvement in committees. Despite this, Kelly always had time for her loved ones.
Seriously, make more time to hang out with loved ones. You will feel so much better.
- Keeping a leash on your inner thoughts
Positive thoughts are also magical science like laughter. People have done science on it! For me it is as “simple” as catching negative thoughts as they intrude, putting a stop to it, and making a somewhat positive spin. Okay it’s not really simple. It’s hard as hell. If a current thought is like “you are bad at your job” and I really can’t think anything positive about this situation I will focus on something else like “you are a great friend”, etc.
And yeah… that’s that. These are the steps I use to help me create positivity. It may seem kinda silly having a list to a list (the mission statement habits), but if it is your weakest habit—what is your weakest habit? (like mine) then it might prove to be at least a little beneficial. Hopefully with each others’ help and lots of laughter we can make the world a little more livable without Kelly.