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photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Less Than Inspiring

Yanno what I'm sick to death of?

Inspirational stories.

"What an awful thing to say! How can anyone be anti-inspirational story?"

I can. I can totally be anti-inspirational story because they are inherently cruel.

Oh, I get it. Overcoming adversity, surmounting great odds, rising above a humble perhaps even squalid beginning, yada, yada, yada.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not disrespecting those stories or those people because their accomplishments are worthy and to be lauded. What I *do* take issue with is that their stories are so often used as a weapon of derision for those who DON'T 'measure up'.

You know- the rest of us.

Try to talk about the difficulties of getting ahead in our society without the benefit of a beginning that includes the right neighborhoods, relatives or money and someone slaps up a story about the kid who makes a million dollars out of spunk and bootstraps.

Say something about a challenging- even life-threatening- health issue you or a loved one is fighting with, and BAM there's a heartwarming tale about a guy who beat cancer with a good attitude and sunshine enemas.

Natural disaster? There's the inevitable family talking about how blessed they are because they done found that baby up in that tree alongside the cat- both alive and well.

So what does that tell us? That the family next door who are all dead now weren't blessed? They somehow didn't pray right or well enough or went to the wrong church?

The thing about inspirational stories is that they celebrate those who do something that, given the exact same circumstances, OTHER PEOPLE CAN'T DO. They have some freak combination of luck, right place/right time, genetics, temperament and opportunity that the rest of us don't. Oh, for sure they work hard and go out on limbs and persevere sometimes to an extreme.

But they make the news because what they have done is SO UNUSUAL that it's remarkable.

If everyone really COULD do what they did, it wouldn't be inspirational- it would be mundane.

To hold up one of these stories and crow, "If THIS person could do it- anyone can if they want it bad enough" is cruelty pure and simple.

Because MOST people can't. Or for damn sure they would.

Tell that person who has worked two or three jobs at a time and never quite gets ahead that they just aren't trying hard enough.

Tell the person who is fading away with disease that they just need to take X miracle cure and have a better attitude.

Tell those people who lose loved ones to natural disasters that God needed more angels so he took their family up to heaven.

I have a better idea.

Why don't we support a society that doesn't make everything such a hard-scrabble for so many?

Why do we accept as normal people having to work 60+ hours a week just to stay clothed and fed and their family barely cared for...and then say, "Hey- I did it- my kid can too!" Isn't the whole point of life to make things BETTER for your kids?

There's not a damn thing wrong with looking at how things are and saying, "This is BULLshit! No one should have to work themselves to literal death. No one should have to feel responsible for the outcome (bad or good) of their own healing. No one should ever EVER have to think 'maybe if I'd prayed harder, suffered more, just had more gumption even though I bled bullets to get even this far'...no one."

in·spi·ra·tion
ˌinspəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun
1.the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.


Instead of holding up a very few blazing stars to blind and shame us with their superiority, let's be truly INSPIRED to foster an atmosphere where success is not only attainable, but normal...and fill the skies with starshine.

PS- They were hunting hogs the other night. I heard the lead dog from afar, right through the walls of the house and over the sound of the TV. Rhythmic baying, deep and insistent coming closer, closer- probably down the creek bed. I went out onto the porch and was assaulted by the savage cacophony of the entire pack; lead hound over it all, but the high adrenalin growling, howling, barking, snapping of the back-up dogs; an assortment I knew even without seeing them- Catahoula and Pits and crosses of Mastiffs- everything big and bloodthirsty enough to haul a huge tusked feral hog to the ground.

My livestock guard dogs were frantic and answering them outburst for outburst with offensive fervor and I silently hoped there would be no physical confrontations between them.

Holding my breath in the aural primal hurricane, it inched up to our place, across it, and drove on through the night leaving only the sound of the early spring peepers in the creek, full moon peeking through the scuttering clouds.







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