Inspiration

OpEdThe other day I was strolling through the blog world, trying to catch up with my reading; it seems I am always behind these days. I haven’t been up to my usual self frankly; things have been weighing on my heart and mind, keeping me from my normal enthusiasm, my desire for social interaction and visits with friends flung far and wide. I miss you all; I truly do yet can’t seem to concentrate, to focus on what is needful to maintain the important relationships we have built through our shared words in this strange and wonderful blog world we all visit and make a piece of our homes.

Then I saw this: What Inspires You, by Penny

I have been thinking about this one for days, truly off and on I have been thinking about what inspires me for days. I have also been thinking about why I am feeling a bit uninspired, why it is hard for me to get up off my azz and write, dance, visit or anything else I normally do. So, in response and as a challenge to myself, I have spent the past couple of days writing down what inspires me.

Life inspires me. Yes, just life, the idea we have a limited number of days on this earth and how we choose to live them, what we do with them is a concept so few of us grasp completely. Some of us, we spend our life in frivolous, sometimes ignorant pursuits. Others are amazing what they are able to accomplish, so yes life inspires me.roseglasses

Hope inspires me, so much seems terrible and tragic these days and yet so many still face the world with hope. I know there are those who look at me and think I see the world through rose colored glasses, who believe I am a bit naïve. Honestly though, I am not naïve. I know there are monsters in the world; I have met many of them. I simply choose which I will dance with and continue to rest in the lavender in a lounge chair of green wearing tarnished rose colored glasses. I am inspired by hope, all around me I am inspired by others, who despite the terrible and the tragic continue to rise up out of the muck and the mire, face adversity and hope for more and better.

Malala

Malala

Fearlessness inspires me. Not stupidity, not bungee jumping types of fearlessness, but fearlessness in the face of great odds. I am at times stunned by just how truly fearless human beings can be when it is needful and meaningful.

Joy inspires me. There is nothing more I can say about this. Great joy, pass it on.

Selflessness inspires me. Those men and women of our past who gave the gift of their blood, sweat, tears and lives to gain us so much; they inspire me to do more and better. I forget sometimes how much they gave, I think we all do.

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Love inspires me. Yes, love in all its manifestations love inspires me. It is so easy to say, “I love you”. It is really hard to live, “I love you”, every single day, every single night. Love is hard, perhaps it was meant to be so we would have to work for it. We are, I think by nature, selfish and self-centered creatures. Love is, by its very nature, selfless. For any of us to love, we have to set ourselves aside and choose to not be selfish, even if only for the minute it takes to not think about what 1img-thingwe get out of it.

That is what inspires me, it isn’t all that inspires me but it is enough for now. There are people who inspire me. There are things, great works of art, great pieces of music; but for now, this will do. Many of you inspire me quite often. If I don’t visit often right now, it is because I am having a difficult time keeping up, working through personal things that will sort themselves out as they should.

I hope you will visit Penny, who inspired this one. Maybe you will be inspired as I was.

Making of Me

What if someone asked you today to define yourself, all that is you, who you are and what makes up the core of you. Could you do it?

One of my favorite bloggers, Rebecca “Sweet Mother” Donohue, did just that the other day in her three hundred and fortieth post (I am half way there and in awe of this number), What Made You (#340)? Her post got me thinking, even as I read and sometimes giggled I was thinking about what made me what I am. Rebecca asked a question, “What made you?”

My answer to her question was simplistic, it was also the only way I knew to answer on someone else’s blog, it was this.

My history forced me to make the best of me. My future forces me to see what is possible for the rest.

I look at that answer I think, what does that really mean? Big picture, little picture all of us are cobbled together from so many different experiences, so many different sensory inputs and so many  choices we make through the course of a lifetime. What really sticks?

So, I thought to myself, I want to take that answer and expand it. I want to try to pick apart what is important and trace the roots back to what made me.

scan0028My Parents Made Me: all of them, each in their own way contributed to how I view relationships both inside and outside of family. Most people only have one set of parents, I have three and half sets each individual added to who I am over my lifetime. Of course, my biological parents contributed my DNA but more than this, when I met them in my twenties they gave me a sense identity. My adoptive parents showed me the world and expanded my opportunities, they also taught me survival instincts and unfortunately hate. My adoptive father and my heart mother taught me the most important lesson of all, don’t settle for anything short of real love. My heart mother made me more compassionate, she taught me to see others with empathy and to forgive shortcomings, she taught me to heal.

Travel Made Me: exposure to the world made me, it broadened my horizons from a very early age. Travel made me more willing to accept what wasn’t exactly like what I had at home and even welcome what020 Venice San Marko 6504 was different. World travel made me look for adventure, excited by new stamps on my passport and miles in my airline bank. Travel wiped out the jingoistic attitude we Americans so often have that cause our “Ugly American” reputation worldwide. Travel seeped into my blood and spirit at a very early age, I have had a passport since I was six and never let it expire. Travel taught me there is wide-world out there that think and do differently than me.

Dance Made Me: as a very young child, I was Pigeon Toed, drastically so. I wore really ugly corrective shoes (when anyone could get me into them). Finally a doctor suggested Ballet might help to correct both my posture and my Pigeon Toedness (is that a word?). Off we went, beginning Ballet at barely five (5), even before I saw my first Nutcracker Suite. I was lost forever after, even when the teacher hit my toes to point them out. I was lost, linda2even when she cracked my knees to bend them properly. I loved dance I specifically loved ballet. I loved the discipline of it. I loved the movement, I would move furniture in the living room and dance when no one was home. I would practice form in my bedroom using the window as my barre. Dance taught me self-discipline and beauty.

The Men in My Life Made Me: not telling who or how many, not important. The men in my life both those I married and those I didn’t made me who I am. This is true whether we ended well or on the other end of the spectrum and ended nightmarishly. The men I have chosen to partner with over my lifetime have taught me enormous lessons about myself, life, forgiveness and obviously love. Whether those lessons were how to walk away and rebuild or how to love someone who failed me, all of these lessons made me. There was a time when my heart was set behind a steel door, the key was in a bottomless sea and I had no space in my life for love, no patience for fools in love. Over time, the men in my life including brothers, fathers, lovers and husbands have taught me better and thus made me who I am today.

The Women in My Life Made Me: I have been mostly fortunate in my friends, blessed in the longevity of my friendships. The women in my life have enriched me in more ways than I can ever say. Though cautious in who I let in I have been uncommonly privileged; when I am unlucky even then, I have learned lessons I apparently needed at the time.  All the women in my life have made me, from mothers, sisters to heart sisters, friends and mentors.

The Convicts in My Life Made Me: sounds strange doesn’t it, for nine years I have walked a road I never thought to walk, speaking about what happened to me twenty-one years ago to offenders. Speaking in a program intended to teach Empathy to Offenders based on the experiences of real victims, like me. When I started down this path, I was so angry still my fury was white hot I could not imagine how I was going to stand in front of a room of Convicts and not lash out. I made it through that night and many more since then. I have expanded speaking to Juvenile Offenders in the Sex Offender program, because it is important. How do they make me? Because they have stories, because their humanity exists right alongside mine and I have learned compassion and empathy as I stand up and tell my story and listen to theirs.

There is more that went into the making of me, I know there is more, some of it terrible.

  • Violence made me. I have let it go, I will not allow what was done to own my future.
  • Rape made me. I have let it go, my past does not own today or my future.
  • Pain makes me even today, it does not own me though.
  • Divorce and abandonment made me, it does not own me it does not convince me of my worth.

Writing makes me today, I am learning a craft I thought I had no talent for but I am finding my voice and my heart in it.

What makes you?

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