Humans in Healthcare #37 | Shadow or light

Hi friend, Amy here, your authentically honest full-stop human, community builder, and creator of Humans in Healthcare, sharing the stories and experiences of healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers.

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Theatre was my first love. I started as a theatre major in college before eventually becoming a healthcare professional. I used to love watching awards shows like the Oscars or the Golden Globes, rooting for my favorite actors with whom I felt a connection through their storytelling and portrayal of characters. I don’t often watch those shows anymore, but recently had the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards playing on the TV in the background. Lily Gladstone won Best Actress for the movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, and her acceptance speech made me pause:

“It's truly a gift that we get to do this for a living. That's the win. It was getting to be here, it was getting to be on set. It was getting to tell stories. We bring empathy into a world that so much needs it. It's so easy to distance ourselves. It's so easy to close off to stop feeling, and we all bravely keep feeling, and that humanizes people. That brings people out of the shadows; it brings visibility.

Keep telling stories to everybody in this room, to everybody watching abroad. Those of you who are not actors but have a voice, have a story that needs to be heard. Thank you for all of the compassionate souls in this room and all of the storytellers here tonight. Keep speaking your truths, and keep speaking up for each other”

How much I needed to be reminded of the bravery of an open heart and deep compassion — of storytellers who humanize us and invite people out of the shadows and into their light.

Newsletter writing is hard. To be transparent, I struggle to find my footing among the trendy newsletters that share news, business models, hacks, tips, and tricks because that is the antithesis of what I write about, it is the antithesis of me. This newsletter is a reflection of me — a generous and open giver of my thoughts, story, and heart — and a generous extender of my platform, inviting others out of the shadow and into their light. The tremendous effort of input week after week doesn’t always match the output and sometimes I ask myself — why do it at all?

Lily’s eloquent speech reminds me how we storytellers are compassionate souls who bring empathy into a world that so much needs it. That is who I am, what this newsletter is, and will continue to be against the tide of discouragement, the closed hearts, and the near and far enemies of fierce compassion.

As a generous giver of my thoughts and story, I have an open heart, but am working to develop what Brene Brown calls, a strong back and soft front — what can help me to stand in my authenticity and vulnerability while continuing to wear my heart on my sleeve with my soul exposed, what she describes as the link between vulnerability and courage. The duality of being brave and afraid, strong and sensitive, fierce and gentle. That is what will allow me to share my own stories and provide a platform for other brave and compassionate souls to do the same, regardless of who reads, who relates, or who rejects it.

Brave people who have been willing to share their stories like:

  • Karen sharing her postpartum story [read]

  • Kelley sharing her grief story [read]

  • Sam sharing her cancer story [read]

  • Harrison sharing his frontline story [read]

  • Sonia sharing her caregiving story [read]

  • May sharing her sibling story [read]

  • Bryce sharing his burnout story [read]

  • Elena sharing her crisis story [read]

Maya Angelou is one of my favorite famous authors. She had one son, Guy. When she passed, Guy was asked if he felt like he grew up in her shadow. No, he said. I grew up in her light.

When I think about this newsletter and my life — I want people to live in my light, but not only that, to invite others into their light by providing a platform for their stories to be told and to be heard. As Lily Gladstone said about telling stories, it brings people out of the shadows and creates visibility. Her call to action to keep speaking truths and keep speaking up for one another in compassion will not soon be forgotten.

Are people living in our shadow or our light?

In humanity,


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