I’m thinking about this now because I saw the film about Ruth Bader Ginsberg the other evening and it confirmed for me that she is an amazing woman. Not that I doubted it for a moment, but it struck me that she was fearless and brave in her life and it was with the support and love of her family that she was able to achieve. Often we hear of people who have left relationships behind or driven their loved ones away in the thrall of ambition so to see her children and husband as integral to the success she has achieved was inspiring.
Years ago I joked that I should move to the US and market myself as a self-help guru. I reasoned that if Deepak Chopra could do it why couldn’t I ? It wasn’t entirely in jest and I now see that had I done that I’d probably have pre-empted the yoga boom we have seen and the resultant throw down of all the ‘spiritual leaders’ being accused of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour with their clients / students. It’s like a ‘me too’ movement with a hint of hemp. I’m not belittling this in any way. What I am doing is pointing to the all-encompassing nature of this culture of casual sexual misconduct that has pervaded even the ‘wellness’ sector. How even the act of finding inner peace is fraught with the potential for inappropriate touch or full on assault due to an imbalance of power and privilege.
And this is the crux of what I’ve been mulling over. For all that I am driven and passionate about equality and fairness and justice what have I achieved in my life ? Is there anything I have done to inspire ? I’m nowhere close to the giddy heights of Ginsberg and her impact, but have I done anything I can be proud of ?
Then at the weekend I shared a post that joked about a Mum’s fantasy being spending time alone in a hotel and just sleeping (all true by the way). My lovely friend Yasmin said she would be doing just that. Going away without her kids and having a break and some valuable ‘me time.’ I commented that I was jealous and she responded, “ I was inspired by you.” Wow that’s kind, I thought. Then I remembered other times people have kindly said they were inspired to do something because of me. Soraya went away on her own to Berlin for a mini break and she told me it was as a direct result of me taking time for myself. It was so much fun “I’m going to make it a regular thing,” she said. Sadly, months later she died, but she had done this thing for herself and I was so proud of her. I have a wonderful friend Paul who is a radio producer and recently he has been presenting a radio show of his own with amazing guests and I praised him on the great success he was having. “I was inspired by you,” he told me. Mind blown. This guy who actually works in radio and is in the business was inspired by little old me to present. What an honour.
Finally – and the one I am most proud of - is the one that I see my son doing. He can’t pass a homeless person without giving them something. It was early in his life that he started to say, “Mummy why is that man sleeping there ?” and I explained that he probably didn’t have a place to sleep or a home. My boy will ask if he can give money or food and always goes up and offers it himself. He has a kind heart and a deep seated desire to help others. I have often wondered where this came from.
The other night me and Hubbie went out for a pizza (I know we are so rock and roll !) and as we were walking home a woman asked for some money. I shook my head and apologised that I didn’t have any. Then I asked if she wanted some hot food as I could buy it for her. I had electronic money, but not real coinage or notes you see. We walked together to Burger King I paid for her food and asked the man behind the counter to ensure the lady got her meal. I patted her on the arm, smiled at her and wished her well. As we continued walking Hubbie was quiet. Then he said (a bit choked up if I’m honest), “I love it when you do things like that.” “What ?” “You know.” “Well, we are so fortunate and we just had a nice meal, she deserves to eat too.”
I think I might know where Brown Bear gets it from after all.