Monday, April 25, 2016

Writing Lab: On Legacies

Prompt: "A line from the play Hamilton asks: 'Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.' What do you want your legacy to be?"

This is a hard question for me. As I've touched on here before, I've never wanted to become much or accomplish anything in particular, so I can't really say I've ever truly been interested in leaving a legacy as most people would define the term. I'm 40 years old. I'm growing more tired and jaded by the day. I may never manage to create anything earth-shattering or change the world in any notable way. And to be totally honest, it's OK with me if I don't.

That said, I think what I'd like most is to know I might have inspired other people to approach life differently while I was still here. I am a firm believer in the notion that human beings are taught to swallow bullshit their entire lives from the moment they're born. They're told that there is this one right way to be a child of God, to be a women, to be a man. One right way to look and one list of right ways to earn a living or exist in this world. There's not. There are as many possibilities as far as who you can be and how you can choose to live as can be -- too many to ever count.

I grew up and came of age not only being told otherwise, but taking every last one of the lies I was told completely to heart. I've also struggled with my self-image my entire life because of it. I don't want that for other people. At all. I'm not perfect by any means, but I do think of myself as honest and forthright, so I try to be transparent with people about my life and especially about how hard certain things have been for me. I try to be an example of a person that lives with integrity, accepts herself even when it's not easy, and actively chooses to be herself. I'd like to think my belief in the importance of those things is relatively infectious and that knowing me might inspire people to rethink some of what they were taught to believe about themselves or about life.