March 6, 2008

Making Your Mark

I know that this blog is supposed to be about sex and bdsm and gender and all that good stuff but I wanted to talk about something else.

I want to talk about "making a mark" in life. I want to talk about "purpose".

I got to thinking about this because of Wake Up Tiger, which does delve into the idea of our purpose in life being to live it, etc. It's an excellent blog and I found it very inspiring, and you should check it out.

It got me thinking about my own philosophies on life. I have a few, they're easily summarized in short, happy motivational ways:

* Never give up.
* If it won't matter in five years, then it doesn't matter.
* Throw everything you have into everything you want.
* Don't live your life forever planning the future; get what you want out of life NOW. Seize the day and all that.
* Bring the good china out for every meal, not just the "special occasions".

It also got me thinking about the need that we have, as people to make our mark on society. We need to feel that should we die, we leave behind some kind of legacy.

I try to live my life so that should I die in the next five minutes, I will be satisfied with how I have lived so far. I will be satisfied with how I have dealt with life, the steps I have taken, the sacrifices I make, the dreams I fulfil and the people whose lives I touch.

In particular I got thinking about that final point; the people whose lives I touch.

I remember the first time someone said to me, "Thank you, you've made such a difference to me. You've had such an impact on my life." She was a teenage girl that I had been talking to for a while, we discussed her problems and I listened to her and comforted her.

I cannot express to you what that felt like to me (but I'll try). I was surprised, first and foremost, because I don't particularly try to live my life in order to affect people's lives. I try to live life so that I am satisfied by it.

But I was deeply honoured. I was so stunned and affected deeply myself, by their words.

I have had people have astounding effects on my life - one in particular comes to mind. He was, at first, merely my karate instructor. But he became so much more than that - he became my father figure, my mentor, he became the one person who has had more impact in my life than any other. I looked up to him, I respected him, and I still mourn his death almost ten years later.

As well as mourning him, I mourned that I never told him how much he meant to me. I never told him that I loved him, I never told him that it was because of him that I became a strong person, I never told him that he had such a powerful effect on me. I still wish, to this day, that I could have done so. I make an effort to do so every time I visit his grave.

Then there was the wonderful woman who rescued me from the influence of society when I began to question it. Instead of being crushed under the weight of what was "normal" and "right", I had a safe harbour to turn to. She talked with me and laughed with me and listened to me cry when it was all too much. She may have saved my life; I do not know where I would be today if wasn't for her.

But I wonder sometimes if she knows what an impact she had on me. I wonder if she knows that it's because of her that I am able to fight back against what is "expected" of me, I wonder if she knows that it is because of her that I am confident in who I am in a way that I wasn't even sure existed previously.

In case she doesn't, Lisa, thank you. You saved me from a cookie-cutter existence filled with fear.

With these two lovely people in mind it came as a shock to me when I became that person to others. The first time I was told this, it was by the previously mentioned teenage girl. I was blown away. Surely I, a small creature like myself, could not have an effect on someone as huge as the effect on me was from Sensei, or from Lisa?

I thanked her, smiled, and put it out of my mind.

A couple of years later, I was told by two people that I had indirectly (and directly, in one case) saved their lives. I had given them hope, I had given them strength. I had made them believe that there was something worth sticking around for, even if all it was was me, yelling at them to tell them that I loved them and I'd kick their asses if they did anything stupid.

Once again I was blown away; surely I could not possibly have saved people's lives? That's the kind of thing heroes do!

But the label stuck - and many people began telling me I was a hero, I was inspiring, I gave them something to look forward to.

It was around that time when I realized how life works.

We are all heroes, and we all save each other's lives, and we all have profoundly deep effects on those we touch. We are all powerful, amazing, beautiful people and every single one of us has someone out there that is grateful to us for existing.

I have my heroes, my wonderful people who changed my life. Why was I under the impression that I couldn't do the same? I can do the same and I have, and I will continue to do so.

Changing lives happens when we touch, speak, breathe into each other and receive love from each other. We are all changing our lives and the lives of those around us all the time; we are leaving emotional brands on each other's mental flesh. We love and we are loved and that makes us heroes, that makes us inspiring, that makes us who we are.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Erin...

That entry is utterly beautiful, entirely moving and entirely true.

What a way to start a blog, you rock!

Erinkyan said...

Heh, thanks. I found it quite wanky myself but I suppose we're all our own worst critics.