I Am My Own Inspiration

By Susan DeBow

There are certain things I feel that God short changed me on when She was arranging my genes. I can’t sing worth a sunken ship, my thighs are genetic mutations of the California Redwoods, and my right leg is an inch and a half longer than my left. Those are just a few of my perfectly imperfect characteristics.

But, the one thing I think God has endowed me with is the ability to inspire myself. I am not talking about the Madam Curie or Clara Barton types of things that have a global impact on the world. I am talking about the smaller inspirations that I need to live the life I want.

I am the double nickel now. Fifty-five. I say if you get to be fifty-five and you are not your own inspiration, you’ve missed one of the boats that have sailed past you. One that is right under your nose, over your nose and in front of your eyes.

We have a habit in our culture of looking in the wrong places for the wrong things.

Take inspiration.

For many years I looked to others, not only for inspiration, but also for answers to life’s questions. I read self-help books that promised to help me do this or do that, each assuming that I was starting somewhere in a deficit of life. My only real issue was that I hadn’t lived long enough to figure certain things out. It was easier to look for someone else’s rules to live by than to take the time to decide what I believed and how I should make my own decisions. I was a chameleon. A leaping lizard of confusion and the last opinions I heard. Anybody I thought knew or who had done anything was my inspiration.

And I was a mess. When I was in the business world, mentors were the rage. Now there are “life coaches.” Fie I say. And then there are the Dr. Phils and Dr. Lauras whose own inspiration seems to be how much money they can put in their own bank accounts because of the problems of others.

Why is it that women so often feel like everybody else knows what is best? That we need to look at others to find out who we truly are? Why aren’t little girls taught to be their own inspiration? To create their own story? When and why as a society did our value system shift into looking outward for our inspiration?

There is a presumptive attitude in our country that people who have made it to the silver screen, the Super Bowl, the top tiers of business and even the highest ranks of nothingness, are role models, and that we should be inspired by them. The problem with using fellow human beings to be inspirations is just that…they are human. Flawed. They don’t aspire to inspire.

It took me too long of a portion of my life to realize that someone who has achieved money, wealth and fame, might or might not be someone to applaud, but to bring them into my own life as an inspiration is risky and not necessary.

Once I realized that my inspiration was closer to home. Within me I have the potential and all the tools to be who I want to be. I don’t need to wait to be inspired by an outside force.

So many products have not been created, stories not written, art that hasn’t been painted, dreams unfulfilled because people waited for inspiration to come to them or looked in the wrong place for inspiration. Inspiration comes with the act of doing. It comes from visions I get in my head and taking those images and putting my pedal to the metal. Often it entails getting off my butt and into territory that is uncharted and unclear. Other times it takes putting my butt in a chair and typing words onto a computer when the inspiration is unclear, or not there at all. But by the act of doing, most of the time, the inspiration will begin to follow and sooner than I realize, it will be pulling me along.

I have been fortunate to have gone to Ireland many times. People ask me, because I am a writer, if I go there to get my inspiration. Like inspiration is hidden like a fairy in the green woodlands and I will stumble upon it, pluck it up and be all set. I smile in response, and chuckle, knowing what they don’t know. That whether I am in Ireland or in Ohio, my inspiration travels with me wherever I go.

About this writer

  • Susan Hipkins DeBow Susan Hipkins DeBow is a writer and artist. A hobby of hers is watching Law and Order reruns and then going around telling people she wants to make a “collar on the perps,” and demands a “remand.” She got hooked on Law and Order reruns after seeing Seinfeld reruns 20 times. You can read Susan’s work and see her art, photography and miscellaneous miscellany at www.ohiowritergirl.com If you are nice, she’d like to be your friend on facebook. Go to her Facebook page, Ohio Writer Girl.

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