Soft on the Outside: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 6

Cara Michaels ushers in Day 6 of the Orange Karen Anthology Countdown with a great post about the power of human will. So if you Inkslingers are thinking about wanting to submit a short story to the anthology, there’s only a handful of days left until the deadline (December 15, 2012) have a read of Cara’s post and dig in for some will and hit the keys with renewed vim and vigor! Once you’re all motivated, read up on the Submission Guidelines.


Soft on the Outside

Cara Michaels

A good friend and I have spent time discussing the power of human will in recent months. Could we change things in our lives simply by changing how we thought about them? Did a lot of the crap in our lives begin with the crap we expected to experience?

We humans spend an awful lot of time talking about people, places, jobs, events…especially those that make our lives not so great. We want people to ‘vent’ to, to spew our misery on empathetic ears. Maybe we get some positive feedback. Maybe we just get commiseration, because oh yeah, our friends and loved ones all have a laundry list of people, places, jobs, and events, too.

We wallow. A lot.

Until one day, the news spreads of a dear friend’s illness. Along with this news come pleas for positive thoughts, prayers, love, juju: Whatever you’ve got in your spiritual arsenal, will you please send it her way? Because this isn’t a mundane illness. This bastard could take our friend out of this world any moment. Days, hours, minutes… it’s all touch and go. Maybe she’ll respond to treatment. And maybe she won’t.


Karen DeLabar, Our Orange Warrior

We’re pretty soft on the outside. Prone to illness, injury, wear and tear. Plus we let the day to day worries bruise us and knock us down emotionally and spiritually. But then a life and death moment comes along to wash away the small concerns. A moment to recognize how incomprehensible and frightening the world can be. She’s not even 30. She has a husband… two beautiful little girls. How can this happen? Why did this happen?

While Karen’s illness didn’t prompt the talks between me and my friend, she provided plenty of real world examples of the power of human will. We get to go through most of our days without having our resolves truly tested. Sure, we have ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows. But we should be grateful every day we don’t face the life and death moments, and perhaps the biggest question we answer in life: If the worst happens, how do we carry on?

It’s a question Karen’s family faced day in and day out during her hospitalization, even as they tried to stay positive.

When it comes down to it, maybe the hows and whys don’t matter. Maybe all that matters is we offered any support we could. We climbed to our feet and we stood together. Such an outpouring of love, hope, and help reached out to Karen and her family. And… in the face of terrifying illness, Karen survived. The illness left its marks, permanent reminders of how fragile our bodies are. Reminders in the form of surgeries, scars, therapy. Ten days of illness has yielded six months of recovery and it’s still going. But her survival gives testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

We may be soft on the outside, but we’re pretty damn tough on the inside.


About Cara Michaels

A left-handed, right-brained Gemini with stories to tell, I have been writing since childhood. I suffer from an extremely low boredom threshold and can typically be found tinkering with half a dozen projects. Occasionally all at once.

Many of her projects can be found on her website. She also tweets on the Twitter and has an author page on Facebook.


3 thoughts on “Soft on the Outside: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 6

  1. zencherry

    I have wondered what illness people were speaking of that was affecting our Karen. Last year we did a Christmas post together and I was ENAMORED with her wit and attitude. I’m in.

    1. christinaesdon Post author

      Yes, Karen is very special. So glad that you’re considering submitting a story! Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Karen DeLabar

    Cara, thank you. That was a beautiful post, especially the last part, it truly resonated with me. “We may be soft on the outside, but we’re pretty damn tough on the inside.” You got it, sister. Our bodies may be weak but our minds are strong. #live 😉


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