Welcome to the first in an ongoing series "Inspiration From Random Places" Where I will be posting about something that inspires me, past and present. Hopefully it will inspire you as you start your week to get on the floor, or even seek out what inspires you most!
So you know how hindsight is 20/20 right? How sometimes it isn't until you get through something that you truly find it's meaning. I actually have a lot of those things in my life and I'm willing to bet you have quite a few in yours too.
Since my last lesson I've had the quote "Life is a Banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" running through my head. This quote is from the musical "Mame" and it is probably one of the most inspirational to me.
Back when I was 21, I was enrolled in a Chicago area community college and I had the best academic adviser. His name is Andy and while we never really talked about it, we were kind of kindred spirits. Now that I think on it Steve reminds me a bit of Andy, never made that connection before this moment. Anyway, during the year I worked with Andy and we stood firmly planted in each other's corners. (I as much as I could as a student) I had been inspired and motivated enough to land on a list of academic achievement. Which, even for as brilliant as I can sometimes be, is a very difficult task. To date, I have yet to get my grades quite as high as they were that year.
Anyway there was a little luncheon that was given for those of us that made that list and a surprise for me was that Andy was asked to give a speech about me and my progress. This speech now hangs on my wall and I try to read it as often as possible. (Well a copy of it does, I lost the original in the fire).
This first in the series of Inspiration From Random Places may be a little self serving, because I want to post it here now, but I want to let you know that chances are you inspire someone in your life the way Andy and I seemed to inspire each other. Sadly the semester after this Andy went to another school and was not brave enough to say goodbye before he left and I have never found him. I really felt abandoned for a while after he left because there was no closure, but he left me with this gift and one of my fondest memories:
"One of my all time favorite fictional characters is a character by the name of Auntie Mame. Auntie Mame's most famous line is "Life is a Banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." Kat truly lives life as if it were a banquet. Her sense of humor brightens my day each time I see her. She knows how to enjoy life's rewards and challenges (even when it comes to taking a Math class). She enthusiastically approaches obstacles as a new challenge for her to prove to herself and others that she can succeed. When she creates these successes, she doesn't forget to celebrate. Lately, I have seen Kat celebrate more and more because she is creating these successes more and more. One thing I find most impressive about Kat is that she knows that it is okay to laugh and it is okay to cry. "
[Insert comments here Andy received from my instructors at the time. and a mention of my dream to be a theatrical director.]
"I recently asked Kat what she was most proud of. After a bit of humorous sarcasm, she got serious and replied, "I'm proud of myself for sticking to what I believe in, regarding anything, and never letting someone else change my mind." I believe Kat was saying that she holds her beliefs values and dreams like a rope and doesn't let go. This rope gives Kat her personal courage to push through fear and take chances. She knows that the wind can sometimes make the rope unsteady. When her beliefs values and dreams are challenged she holds on to this rope even tighter. She also knows that sometimes we all need help in overcoming these challenges, and she isn't afraid to ask for that help."
"Kat doesn't know this, but one of my heroes is William Shakespeare (I had gone to London that year and brought Andy a small souvenir from The Globe Theater, Shakespeare is one of my favorites too.) He is a hero of mine not because of his writing, but because, like Kat, he too stuck to his beliefs and never let anyone else change his mind. I would like to give this book of plays from William Shakespeare to you, Kat, and say "hold on to your rope and never let it go."
So that's it.... what I consider to be some of the greatest things ever said about me, to my face, IN PUBLIC and I was a mere 21 years old.
I did loose my rope for a while, and I wasn't living life as if it were a banquet. I let my spirit starve and my soul get lost. Until I found Ballroom Dancing, there have been days when I have read that speech and mumbled out loud "I remember being that girl, I don't know where she went, but she's not here."
Taking some of the best dance lessons ever helped me feed my spirit and find my soul very quickly and it made me realize that there are SO MANY other people who need to nourish their spirits and re-discover what makes them happy.
Now I read this speech, and aside from still getting a little teary at the end, I'm ready to grab my boa (Auntie Mame reference) and live life for the banquet it was always meant to be.
Will you do me the honor of coming along to be inspired with me?
Comments below and e-mail is off to the left, it would be one of the greatest honors in my life to help you to know what it is to sit at life's banquet and feast. You can also contact Steve yourself if you'd like, his phone number is listed right here.