Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on December 8, 2011
Without the benefit of my mom being alive today, I am certain that she would be proud of me to see what I am doing.
Before she died in 2002, she saw the twin towers come down, she saw our country head into a fearful time when the government would increase its reach into its citizens’ privacy. She knew there was something foul going on, though she had no idea how to change things. She was under the delusion that writing to your Congressman or Senator might actually make a difference, when in fact, this act has lost much of its power now that the influence in Washington sides with the monied interests.
She knew: there was something rotten.
In my family, there were four of us children. My eldest brother is the most highly educated, my middle brother is the most charismatic, my little sister is the most kind-hearted, and then there is me. I was the one most likely to do something strange and (perhaps) wonderful. I can’t just sit things out, or stay quietly on the sidelines. I have an irrepressible spirit that made my Dad call me the smartest, though I think he said that to each one of us in privacy (I can’t be sure, because children often forget what their parents say.)
Someone close to me said a very smart thing yesterday: she said that we don’t teach children to listen to their joy. In other words, we don’t sit them down and say “pay attention to what makes your heart sing, and don’t be so mindful of what you fear.” In fact, I don’t agree completely with this idea. Fear is a great motivator. But rather than be fearful of other people and their agenda, what scares me the most is not fulfilling my own mandate of what I can achieve in my lifetime. I am afraid of dying before I finish the job I was set here to accomplish.
And yet, the message of joy is not lost on me. Little things like having my daughter read to me, or tasting an excellent concoction I whipped up, or picking a homegrown broccoli head with NO aphids on it, or opening up my new checkbook for writeindependent feed my life. Things that haven’t happened yet, but I wish for like witnessing people who “get” this website, or overcoming my fear of being in the public eye, or being on the Colbert Report (!), these things make my heart leap in anticipation! It does wonders to the soul to have imaginary little fantasies because they keep me in a positive “it’s possible!” frame of mind.
I think it is my willful fantasy life that makes me the oddball, go-get-’em type that my Mom would be proud of today. I kept my idealism going, no matter how many years and disappointments I’ve been through. This one is for you, Mom.