Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who is This Small Statured Subject, Plain Jane?

When I was a child people always told me that I was an, “inspiration” to them.  My response was usually a confused smile and a, “thank you.” I just thought it was a rather silly thing for a grown-up to say to me.  In my mind, I was just a kid who liked to color and play with Legos.  As puzzling as it was as I experienced life and moved through different circles, I learned how I was an inspiration to others.  I had work to do though and lessons to be learned. 

I needed to explore what my passion was, what inspired me, and how I could share it with the people in my world along with the people of this world to make an impact.  

This film illustrates me in real form, surrounded by my interests, my actions, the actors of my world and how we direct our stories…  

As a teenager I got involved in extracurricular activities in school and Church. This allowed for lots of interaction with people who were not accustom to seeing a teenager with a physical disability who was as socially active as me.  Again, people would approach me to let me know that I was an “inspiration” to them.  I didn’t consider any of my activities to be extraordinary, so I assumed that I just impressed them by my fashionably tall 80’s hair and snazzy fashion sense.

In my early adulthood I attended college, became politically active in regard to the rights of people with disabilities, and overcame huge personal struggles with abuse, alcoholism and learning to live independently.  Family, friends, and total strangers still commented to the fact that I “inspired” them.  I did not understand…how were the things that were tearing at me somehow “inspiration” to others?

When I reached my 30’s, I experienced a shift in my own consciousness and self-awareness.  I had one realization after another.  I’m not certain what caused this shift but I’m sure being physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy had something to do with it. 

It wasn’t my fantastic coloring skills that people found inspiring.  It was the fact that when I had one or two broken arms, I would just naturally color with my feet.  It wasn’t exactly my keen 80’s fashion sense that inspired people.  It was the way that I always carried myself like a rock star with inner confidence, which inspired people to reconcile with their own body image insecurities.  The observations of me struggling to overcome abuse, alcoholism, and independence made it clear what capabilities we all have and the control we all have over our life circumstances.  Regardless the limitation I’m perceived to have; I’ve been able to turn roadblocks into speed bumps and continuously move forward toward a more peaceful and sustainable life. 
This is the stuff people find inspiring!

Then I asked myself…”I wonder how many lives I could have a positive impact on if I actually put forth a little effort?”  Thus far, any inspiration I have brought others has just been a by-product of me living my life.  I began to explore what really interested me, how that would impact my world, and how it would in turn benefit people in this world.  I took my stance on politics, laws, environmental issues, health, modern medicine, and current community events.  By defining my beliefs, building a foundation through education, standing up for what I see as important issues of today, and speaking what my plans are to help improve the states of these issues, I can just sit back and do what I do best…inspire people to do the same. 

The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to reach lots of people.  My efforts are now focused on not only reaching people through my daily living, but to capture them, get them involved in their own lives, and show them how to act on their life to better themselves and our world.  This was a lot harder than I anticipated. I needed an audience outside my inner circle of influence.  My goal was defined and I had to find a way to reach new and greater points of impact.    

So, I did some research and found Documentarian Tom Trainer.  It would be much easier to give everyone an opportunity to play voyeur while I just kept living my life.  Imagine the opportunity to inspire within the median of film! I basically pitched the idea to him like this, “I’m just going to do what I normally do and I want you to film it. When we have enough interesting footage, we’ll turn it into a movie.  Ok?”  He agreed. 

This project turned out better than either of us could have imagined five years ago.  Being the most challenging and most rewarding endeavor that I have ever willingly taken on, here is my life and here are my inspirations.  

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