So this one will be a little light on pictures, but I hope that will be okay. *smile*
I is for Inspiration and for me when I think back over my adult life, there is one person who stands out as repeated and continual inspiration, even though our friendship at times goes through (longer than it should) periods where we drop out of communication. This woman has inspired me to do and be more than any other single person I can identify.
This is Kim. (“Hi, Kim!”) I met Kim in college and while I don’t think either of us really knew it at first, the seeds of a long and strong and lasting friendship were planted and have continued to grow over the last mumbletysomething years.
For most of you, it would be enough for me to tell you that this wonderous being was the first person to put “string and a couple sticks” (to steal the phrase *smile*) into my hands and teach me to knit (while sitting outside on the ground in a grey early morning while waiting in line for the REI garage sale, at least if memory serves). Thus began my fiber addiction (though it was slow to start and took a few years to really take hold).
But wait! There’s more!
Kim also inspired me to advocacy. She set an example and brought to what is sometimes a scary proposition a humanity that I can’t do justice do with mere words. She made it okay for me to *try* and equally okay for me to fall apart in a puddle of uncertainty and frustration and taught me that strong advocates are all, at the end of the day (and in the middle of it, too), people. She gave me confidence that I could step outside my comfort zone and reach out to help make the world better, safer, less abrasive than it sometimes is.
She taught me that respect for people means more than just politely nodding and smiling and changing the subject. She taught me that it was okay not to know and to ask questions, even around uncomfortable topics, and that by learning and really listening, the uncomfortableness diminished. She taught me to see beyond the incident through to the person in the middle. She taught me about empowerment, real, honest, true empowerment that is ongoing and every day and doesn’t stop at the end of a rally or a meeting.
She’s also a poet, and that, too, is inspiring. It made it okay when sometimes the only way the words would come were in cryptic phrases and half-verse (language warning on this link). It helped me discover who I am and who I wanted to be.
Most of all, though, Kim is unabashedly real and she’s taught me that it’s the only way to really live your life. She’s taught me that we’re all sometimes unsure or afraid or furious or self-righteous or blissfully happy and that all of it is okay. Better than okay, all of it is what it really means to *live*.