So Facebook has this new thing on the profile where you can put "People who inspire you." Inspre me to what? To sing? To laugh? To work harder at something? To not do bad things? That's so vague, Facebook. Inspire me how?Peace and love,
Should I fill that space in with all of the many actors, singers, and writers who make me laugh, cry, sing, dance, and think? Or the few who inspire me to actually create something of my own - a story or icons or some other graphic or a playlist?
What about those people who piss me off or upset me in some way and thus inspire me to do something against them? That list would be easier to make, actually.
I've never really had a hero or an idol. There's never really been someone out there that I've thought, "I want to be just like them." Certainly people are awesome - I mean, Rachel Maddow is awesome, but I wouldn't really say she inspires me - but I look at someone and say, "Oh, I love his determination," or "Oh, she was pretty badass that one time" or "I love how they ____," but rarely is there someone who just all-around is fucking amazing, and I want to emulate them.
So I tried making a list for Facebook. The only person at this point in my life who I think I can really, truly call a hero of mine is Ida B. Wells, who is like the HBIC of the 19th century. But it felt wrong to list her alongside Chris Colfer and Stephen Colbert. It was making them look more important or her less important.
OK, so here - let me try to make a list -
Ida B. Wells, for researching lynchings in the South, for writing about things no one would dare say aloud, for buying a gun so if white supremacists came after her she could take out at least one of them with her, for standing up to white suffragettes & calling them out on their racism, to being generally HBIC
Harvey Milk, for standing up for queers all over the country, for being a great person and politician
Chris Colfer, for being a beautiful person inside and out, for staying real, for being so fucking talented, for helping millions of kids feel better about themselves, for being an It Gets Better video come to life, for your fantastic version of "Rose's Turn"
Neil Gaiman, for writing three of my favorite books (Coraline, American Gods, and Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett), for being hilarious and touching and creepy, for being a world-maker, for being someone whose words I can quote and reread and completely lose myself in
Robert Downey Jr, for proving that anyone can come back from their lowest point to be amazing
Sarah Rees Brennan, for proving that fanfic writers can also write fantastic, even award-winning, original fic, too, without losing touch with her online fanbase or forgetting her roots, for sticking up for women in literature, for being a straight woman who can write a great gay character - and just a great gay character, but a great character who just happens to be gay, rather than a gay character who happens to be great
Amanda Palmer, whose voice may not be the best but whose lyrics, energy, and authenticity are fabulous and thought-provoking
Dan Choi, who outed himself on live TV and became the face of the fight against DADT, who has been arrested and yelled at and demonized and still never gave up hope
...and I know there are more! Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Jonathan Larson, Darren Criss, Zona Gale, Alice Paul, Jon Stewart, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, J.K. Rowling - and this isn't even getting into the wonderful people who I actually know who inspire me and push me and support me and amaze me, or the anonymous people I encounter online who are funny, smart, scathing, talented, supportive...
Ok, enough. I've clearly put too much thought into this.
And to be honest? It'd be nice to find someone who I can definitely say inspires me, who can be my hero and idol, but I'd rather be the sort of person that will make someone, someday, say, "She inspires me."
x-posted to Facebook (although that will be edited for language)