|light up your world|
That makes for a net sum good week.
I listened to this TED talk from a man who did a LONG longitudinal study on the happiness of a group of men over 70 plus years. It's worth hearing
I began thinking about my life and what do I want from it now. Big thoughts. After all I could continue hiding, putting my head in the sand and wringing my hands of a lack of feeling safe in today's world. Just watch an old movie and sew, and believe me, I do that happily most days.
I began to remember who made an impact on my life in a good way. It was not a person rich in gold, or famous to thousands. It was not someone who boasted they were the best because they were humble and had a tremendous impact because of their actions.
I called her Tatee
Myrtle came to work for my mother when I was a baby. My mother saw her as the maid of all work and spoke of her in derogatory ignorant terms much of the time.
I saw her as the shiniest human in my world.
Tatee quietly loved and raised me to be a good human being. She taught me that I was lovable. She taught me about unconditional love while teaching me manners. Every day after school she asked to teach her what I learned that day, standing next to her while she ironed or washed dishes.
She helped me feel safe in my unsafe family.
certain leaders would dismiss her as unacceptable because she was dark skinned, had little money, and didn't look like a model.
She was beautiful, her smile made me feel important and worthy. Her eyes told me I meant something to her. I wanted to make her happy.
I learned making others feel important is a very good quality to have in life, and that every person has a story that is interesting. I learned that wherever you are in life, do your best.
in my early 20's as I made my way down a career path and searched for romantic love, I met a fellow artist at a gathering. He had a beaming smile, and was so centered in who he was that he had no need to prove one thing to any other person.
That made him very comfortable to be around.
Again, he was not powerful or rich, or famous, he was who he was unapologetically, talented, and gracious. I still do not know how he did it, but he made every person in the room stand a bit taller, feel like they had a lot to give, and were important.
When he turned to talk to you, he really heard you. For that instant, you were important enough for his total attention.
It didn't matter that it lasted 5 minutes, he left you with an inner glow to sustain the feeling as he moved on to "chat" with others.
I've forgotten his name, but can see his face in my mind and remember how I felt around him.
I can count on one hand with fingers left over, the number of good school teachers I had.
One teacher, an English teacher in my senior year, stands out.
She was thin and wiry, expressive and real.
Real in a way that was different from every other teacher I'd known.
She treated us like people, seeing us as people not 30 students whose essays she had to grade.
Our class was special she said, she liked us. She liked us as people and we were as perfectly behaved for her as possible because we liked and respected her. She laughed with us, and encouraged us.
We were reading aloud a Shakespeare play one morning, and she walked around us as we read. She slowed at my desk, lifted my hand, observed the fingernails chewed down to nubs and said gently, "stop that"
I was dealing with an alcoholic and abusive father, an abusive mother, a lack of self esteem at school where I made straight A's, had friends, but looked a bit chubby(which was decidedly not okay back then) . I slept each night behind a locked door. I lived in books and tv shows and marching band practice. I had no idea what I was doing after high school.
I stopped biting my nails and chewing on my cuticles though.
This woman let a mild curse word fall now and then, she drove a carmen ghia sports car, and had our class come to her home for a BBQ after we graduated.
I love words, and writing, and she showed me how to be unique and strong and myself and I cannot remember her name but I remember how I felt in her presence.
And long after.
other people have changed the trajectory of my life too, and I might just tell you about them sometime. For now, I want to remember how to make other people fell included and important while I'm here on earth.
I hope it's enough.
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Lovely version of Imagine