Monday, April 21, 2014

Be Someone's Inspiration

Who inspires you?

Sitting in the first hour of an eight hour training meeting last week, the room full of my coworkers was asked by the trainer, who inspires you? No limitations were set; she didn't say, who inspires your personal life, nor did she target our professional mentors. She simply wanted to know who we were inspired by or who we looked up to.

As we went around the room, more and more people saying, "my mom inspires me because she's amazing," I got to thinking; who am I truly inspired by?

When it got to be my turn, I announced that I am inspired by Beverly Cleary, my favorite author, because she wrote what I dream of writing: a successful series of children's books about a famous character,  Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I devoured the Ramona books as a kid, and I love them, even now. Ramona was a character I loved and related to, and she is now a character I dream of finding in my own head. I told the group that Beverly Cleary was my inspiration because she does exactly what I want to do with my life: she writes, and people know who she is. And I love that.

But Beverly Cleary, while she is a professional motivator for me, doesn't really apply as far as personal inspiration in my daily life. And I left the training thinking more and more about who does, actually inspire me daily...

I am inspired by my parents, to wait for the right man, the one who will be my partner in life and who will treat me well. My mom and dad have taught me to fight for what I believe in and stand up for myself no matter what. They have taught me to be strong as well as to compromise, and to put the person I love first. From my mom and dad I have learned to blaze my own trail, not wait for someone to blaze it for me; they taught me to be me, and to love me.

I am inspired by my girlfriends, to create the life that I know will make me happy. My best friend wrote this today, and I find myself so truly proud of where she has come in the year I've known her. When we met, she was, as she says, a basketcase, unable to calm the fuck down. In the last 12 months, she has realized exactly who she is and what she wants, and has learned to put herself in the driver's seat to make it happen. I am inspired by her to do the same - to calm the fuck down, to decide what I want, and to go after it, full force, until I get it. I have a group of strong, independent, happy, driven girlfriends, who make me proud to be a part of their group, proud to be someone who drives and motivates them as well.

I am inspired by the number of babies and toddlers, as well as little kids, in my life who look up to me and who need me. I look at all those little faces, all of their impressionable eyes, and I want to be a better person, to be the best example possible for all of them. I am inspired to be proud of who I am and to not complain about my body, because I want Camille and June to grow up in a world where they know they can be happy no matter what they look like; and I want to give Blake, Finn, Archer, and Oskar an example of a strong girl, and teach them the best way to be a supportive and uplifting man, one who accepts and loves women no matter what. Being an auntie to all of these babies is a motivator for me to really be careful of the way I talk about myself or about other people. If I want them to grow up to change the world, I need to help give them the tools to do that.

I am inspired by my family - specifically by my cousins - who are unique and empowered women. None of us are the same, but in our individuality, we are each others' biggest support and encouragement. We make vastly different life choices but I know I can always count on them to believe in and support me, regardless of the decisions I make. And it goes both ways; they can always count on me to love them and to support the life choices they make, no matter what.

Sitting in this training meeting, with about 30 of my peers, none of whom could come up with anyone inspirational other than their parents, left me feeling truly grateful for the amazing sources of inspiration in my life; I am a lucky girl to have so many people to help me stay on track, to encourage me to blaze a new trail, and to support me when I fall out of line.

So the question is, who are you inspiring?