|Al Franken as Stewart Smalley|
It's not his self-affirmations that are so hilarious (though they are funny), but his constant struggle with self-doubt, which is easily brought about by a word or two from the people around him. Who does THAT sound like? Pretty much everybody, right? It kind of makes his self-affirmations useless and futile, since he entirely misses the point, which is to ultimately become a confident, self-contained entity. Now THERE'S a goal. You know, I don't think any of us is really ever supposed to be entirely self-contained, and that's...okay (a little Stewart humor for ya), but I think if we can summon even a shred of autonomy and self-belief, great things can happen.
What brought on this meandering and random post? It's silly, really. I just happened to pick up Marguerite Henry's book, "White Stallion of Lipizza ", which was one of my favorites when I was a child. This particular copy was my daughter's but it was sitting on a shelf at eye-level so I grabbed it. Yes, it's a kid's book, but written with enough nuance and impeccable research for an adult to enjoy it too. It immediately took me back to when I was a horse-crazy child and could identify immensely with the main character, a boy named Hans. I won't re-write the book for you, but let's just say that Hans was passionate about horses and was told by almost everyone that it was a waste of his time and out of his reach. He would do better to focus on more sensible pursuits more suited to his station in life. Fortunately for Hans, his heart spoke more loudly than any of those voices of "reason". I knew, even then, what Hans knew: You can't choose your passion, your passion chooses you. You can listen to the nay-sayers and take on their pessimistic point of view, and in fact that is the easiest thing to do. Especially if you are a child and have no power of your own. You're more or less at the mercy of folks who believe they know better, like teachers who think the box they want to put you into is more relevant than what your own heart knows. But that's a whole 'nother story and not really the point.
The point is this: Your life WILL follow your inner-dialog. Make it YOUR inner dialog, and make it a hopeful one. Have the audacity to think you can do outrageous things, and you'll do them. Start today. I'm not saying I'm some uber-successful person who followed my own path and now all is hunky-dory in Kristel-land (yet;-). But I DID notice something really cool: When I started listening to myself and believing that I deserved good things as much as the next guy, my hard work started paying off. The bleak sort of desperation, the idea that everything meaningful to me will be forever beyond my reach while I struggle to keep things afloat, it started to melt away as the Universe began to cooperate with me and show me the way forward. And this is real, not a fascinating work of fiction that I identify strongly with, but LIFE.
I'm not suggesting anarchy here, and there are lots of you out there saying "Well, SOMEBODY has to be responsible". Responsible to whom? Yourself, or your family? I get that. Why does following your passion preclude being responsible? If you look up responsible in the dictionary (which I did for you because I'm that awesome), it says nothing whatsoever about being miserable, unhappy or trapped in drudgery from which there is no escape. So there. No excuses. Channel your inner Stewart (or who Stewart is trying to be!) and mean it, because you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it PEOPLE LIKE YOU! On that note, I leave you with a song that used to resonate with me when I was a young teeny-bopper and my mind was just absolutely beginning to rail against years of confinement (which could be yet another story that I will probably never tell you, lol). There is no "official video" so I chose a version with good audio that someone (not me) had done a really nice slide-show for. Enjoy :-)