“Everything happens for a reason,” is probably one of the worst things you can say to someone after a tragedy or traumatic event. My head explodes a little whenever I hear someone make that statement, because it’s super trite and borderline insensitive. One never has a complete picture of another person’s frame of reference or what’s going on inside their head or the scope of how a traumatic event or tragedy truly affects another person.
Yes, everything does happen for a reason, but only if one makes that choice (hopefully a healthy choice)—and no one can make that choice for another person.
Bob Brader, a playwright/actor/advocate/man-crush-on-Joseph-Gordon-Levitt, is someone who made a choice in his life, where everything to date has happened for a reason. Dude was traumatized, beaten, and belittled constantly as a child by his father. He worked his butt off to get out of his smallish town in Pennsylvania and hustled and grinded for years as an actor and playwright.
I interviewed Bob because I saw his one man show Spitting in the Face of the Devil in New York City a few years back. Bob created purpose and meaning from his tumultuous childhood by bearing it all on stage in Spitting… and has toured it all over North America and fellow abuse survivors have found inspiration and the capacity to make purpose and meaning from their own experiences because of Bob’s work. He’s showing and not telling people that yes, everything does happen for a reason… but it’s a choice and not a manifest.
In my interview, Bob and I talk about self-doubt and how to work through it—not simply silencing those negative voices but turning them into allies and friends. We talk the art of creativity, (specifically theater) and how it can help one’s healing process, how it can facilitate self-awareness, and how it can bring about catharsis.