Being raw and real is about being authentic. Being strong. Being powerful. Being seen.
This women is all of those things, and more.
I’ve never liked the word ‘inspiration’. Don’t get me wrong, I find inspiration in words. Music. Colors. Textures. So many visions give me joy and fuel the fire to create inside my soul. But…
I find it difficult to swallow, sometimes, when people casually use that word to describe people – inspiring. I’m sure that it’s never said with ill-will, and always said with good intentions…but…I’m going to ask you to pause, just for a bit, and consider, what if that person you find inspirational doesn’t WANT to be your inspiration? What if they want, very simply, to just…BE. Without any stigma or the overwhelming pressure, or the restriction of having to BE SOMETHING TO YOU.
The person who is going through a body transformation from big to little? Perhaps they don’t want to be your inspiration. Perhaps they just want to keep up with their walking club every Saturday morning at the park and maybe lower their risk of a genetic health condition that runs in their family.
That burn survivor you see in the grocery store? Perhaps he doesn’t want to be your inspiration. Perhaps he just wants to get his groceries and get home to put together his famous spaghetti sauce in time for his weekend company.
The same-sex couple that sits next to you in birthing class? Perhaps they don’t want to be your inspiration. Maybe they just want to deliver their baby next month and begin their new life together as a family.
That woman in the wheelchair you see every day at school picking up her kid? Maybe she doesn’t want to be your inspiration. Maybe she just wants her daughter to pick up the pace so they can make it to the studio in time for her ballet lesson.
That soldier who was sent home with injuries after his fourth deployment in four years? Maybe he doesn’t want to be your inspiration. Maybe he just wants to return home to his dog and enjoy a potluck dinner with his friends again.
The kiddo with the large, wine-colored birthmark that maps the area between his mouth and left eyelid? What if he doesn’t want to be your inspiration? What if he just wants to be the first one to make it to the swingset at recess before they’re all taken and he gets stuck with tetherball? Again.
Sometimes those words slip off of our tongues before we have a chance to realize what we’re saying.
“You’re such an inspiration!”
It’s perfectly okay to feel bouyed by seeing someone else’s perceived success. I get that. Everybody deserves a pat on the back for getting through obstacles that life can throw at us. But sometimes, without intending to, we put these people in the position of having to answer to our inspired state of mind.
It’s wonderful to be inspired. Don’t get me wrong. Stay inspired. But be cautious of where you place the responsibility of your inspiration, and be even more thoughtful of whether or not somebody wants to be yours.
I hope I’m making sense.
The person featured in this post is not my inspiration. She is strong. And amazing. And her authentic self. And that’s enough.