Being one brings pain. Being one-of-a brings power.
A few weeks ago I talked my man into taking a day trip up to LA to enter the Newsies lottery for day-of tickets at the Pantages. And by talked into I mean I said “hey you wanna do this?” and he said “yeah”. I know, I’m really very convincing.
We got in line right on time (rule-follower here), and they said they’d be lottery-ing (is that a word?) 26 tickets. Several of us started counting. There were about 26 of us in line. Boom.
But then all these other people started showing up. Not on time. I’m just sayin’. By the time they called tickets, there were a lot more than 26 entries. Sigh. Our chances were now about 1 in 5.
About halfway through the call-outs, I hear my name.
It was a good day to be one in five.
Here’s my cheesy smile to prove it.
And really, being one-in-a-___________ is awesome when you’re winning something.
But there are other days that one-in-a-_________ is a punch in the gut. I’m one in eight women experiencing infertility. One in about eighty experiencing infertility without any explanation.
As National Infertility Awareness week ends, I find it no small coincidence that this very morning I’ll be in a room filled with brave stories at the Choose Joy conference, sharing both smiles and tears. There’s something fiercely powerful about bringing a bunch of one-in-a’s into the same room together.
And the awareness doesn’t end with a week. Having my own one-of-a story has made me all the more aware of the many other one-of-a stories being lived out around me …
… like a nine-year-old cancer warrior with rare genetic disorder that makes him susceptible to recurring cancer – chances are one in about 1.4 million.
… like having an in-utero test to tell you whether your baby has Down’s syndrome because other factors make the chances about one in forty.
… like a cancer that’s so rare it doesn’t even have a name and is only fatal when combined with another rare condition, both of which your husband had – chances are one in a million. Squared.
The thing about being a one-of-a is that you feel so utterly alone when the diagnosis is handed down. And you are. I mean, no one else has ever been you, facing this specific circumstance at this time in history.
But I think we tend to focus on the “I’m one” and miss the “of-a” part. That’s the powerful part. That’s the part that tells you that you. are. not. alone. That’s the part can happen over a simple cup of coffee or over instagram or at a gathering or anywhere in between. Just last night, as a Choose Joy speaker shared her story of infertility, bringing us laughter as the ridiculousness of hormones and the pee sticks and the what-not is a shared experience in the room, a woman turned around to her husband and mouthed “see, I’m normal.”
Isn’t that exactly what we need to hear when we find out we are one-in-a-________? See, I’m normal. I’m one-of-a-new-normal.
So sister, whether you’re one-in-a-handful or one-in-a-million, you. are. not. alone. Find your people. Find your “of-a”. They need you just as much as you need them.