Are you someone's example? Do you want to be that person? A few thoughts
Earlier today I received a comment on a post over on Medium which included the remark that I was that person's "spirit animal."
That struck me so much that I had to write about it.
You know, I hardly give much thought to how my stories land. I injure, make fun of myself, I do seriously badass things really badly and make fun of that, but all through all of that is a throughline: live vibrantly. Screw old age stereotypes.
It simply doesn't occur until someone says something, right? I mean we really don't know who is watching or reading or registering some aspect of our lives and using it for some kind of motivation.
Hell, in my case that means don't do what I do unless you have really good health insurance, but I digress.
That note caught me off guard. Then I thought, who are my "human" spirit animals? There are many, dead and alive.
Today my buddy Melissa called me in tears because she just got word she has to have cataract surgery. She's already had eye surgery which helped but left her feeling as though she was seeing through a shower curtain.
This news was rough. It will help but it wasn't really the eyes. Melissa is 65, and for whatever reason, the vision issues cause her to feel deeply vulnerable.
I called her back and told her that she was my spirit animal. She broke into tears again, but we walked through it. She is my spirit animal, one of several, for Melissa is my great truth-sayer when I need it. How she faces off with some difficult issues is a model in courage.
We need to be reminded by those who do watch us, learn from us and benefit from whatever we might be doing which inspires them. For that statement on a rough day, when the walls are closing in and the lights dim and we feel so very alone...
...being told that you are someone's spirit animal, or their hero, or role model, or whatever it is that you feel, might be the turning point. It might be the one thing they hear that day which helps them reach down for those bootstraps which need pulling.
If you admire someone, tell them so. They have terrible days, too. Those words can be the one thing we can hang our hats on when the monsters come up out of the basement, the god-killer we grasp when darkness grabs at our ankles.
On the flip side, if you want to be someone's spirit animal, be the person that others admire. Stand up for those you love, stand tall in the face of disaster, be vulnerable in that way that allows you to hurt but bend, so that the hurt doesn't destroy you.
You never know when someone is watching, and how your choices influence their lives.
With any luck and grace, they will tell you. I got told today, and I paid it forward.
Words change lives. Whose will yours change?
Let's be someone's spirit animal. Let's remind those who are spirit animals for us how much they matter.
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