Friday, August 31, 2012

Off My Pedestal!

We all yearn to live a deeper, richer life. I dare say we all, like Dorothy & Jerry, also:  just want to be inspired! In that ever elusive quest we hunger to find inspiration in anything we come across: authors whose words speak to us, politicians that can promise a brighter tomorrow, musicians that can rock our world, lovers that can make us feel cherished. We take the person that has the rare gift to inspire us and we put them up on a pedestal.

Problem is it is so easy to project our fantasies of who someone is onto them and in this day and age we think fame, power, fortune, even follower-count makes someone worthy of that admiration. Silly, silly us. 

Let's take me: I love authors. I especially love business, self-development, and political writers. Because I have been known to send a letter, a couple tweets of appreciation, or occasionally even go see them speak at events, my sister has dubbed me an "author-stalker". I wear this as a badge of honor that I am supporting great thinkers and what is wrong with being crazy for brilliant people?

Actually, a lot. Last night it was a two-fer. At the Republican National Convention first Clint Eastwood did what can only be called a bizarre speech talking to a chair. As I was sitting there cringing, then laughing, then being very sad for him, my heart went out to all the people who had to see him like that. All the actors, directors, fans who had thought he was the greatest and now will see him as an old man who was giving away his dignity. Then Romney took the opportunity to point out why voters should stop hoping for change and how Obama didn't live up to his "promise" to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. I still strongly believe in Obama and his chances in November but no one can deny that his shine has been a bit scuffed up. 

It made me remember the heartache of repeatedly learning the truth about people I had put up on my pedestal: the authors who turned out not to live true to their words, the leaders who behind closed doors demonstrated no integrity, the intellectuals who ran scared when challenged on their ideas. Over the years I have gotten the opportunity to see some semi-famous, some powerful, some admired people behind the curtain and I am convinced it's all the illusion of Oz! 

The thing is everyone we look up to is as human as we are and flawed in many ways. More times then not people aren't who they say, seem, or show us they are. They may be gifted in one area and uber successful at something but that doesn't make them worthy to be placed on a pedestal.

The ironic thing is when I reevaluated who deserves my admiration I realized it was more due to the people who seek little or no admiration but are just quietly awesome. Take my friend Karyn who in addition to creating beautiful art runs marathons just for the challenge of it; Bridgitt who kicks ass as a mother and advocate for special needs children while simultaneously being one of the most optimistic, energetic people I know; or my friends Sue and Heidi who are both happily married hetero moms who regularly speak out to support their gay friends because they want to stand up for equal rights. 

People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune magazines are filled with people who are famous in their worlds and some aspire to be... I say learn, get motivated, be inspired by everyone we come across- but lets not wait to find someone else to plant atop our pedestal. Instead, let's be the very best we can be and then climb up on our own pedestal and heck even take a bow because we inspired ourselves.