While not an avid, nightly, Daily Show with Jon Stewart watcher, I enjoyed watching him from time to time. I barely have the time to watch the few shows we do DVR, so adding a nightly show to the mix is not in the cards for us. In any case, the man is an inspiration and is hilarious. I am sad to know his show is over. In all the pleas from his fans to not end his show, I came across this quote:
“The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” – Jon Stewart
Ah, well put, Jon. Well put. I love it. I am a fan of saying something — always. I am that person that 99% of the time is going to call you out on your bullshit. Why live life without being honest, transparent, and authentic? That does not mean it is always easy for me. Most of the time if I do not say something it eats away at me. While I am not yet a parent, I know all the times I have been told by my own parents, or in childcare situations, that if you let kids get away with something and you let time pass then the teaching moment is over. In most cases I agree. However, what matters most is that you say something.
Be it your spouse, your friend, a family member we so often let things sit inside and agonize over them. We get frustrated, we get angry, and often if we were just open and honest with the other person it resolves itself. They might respond by telling you how grateful they are for your transparency, they might be angry (and really that is their thing to work out), or they might even laugh at you thinking how absurd that such a thing bothered you. Whatever the result, it is good to get it off our chests and not let it fester inside.
Thank you, Jon, for your wisdom and for making us laugh for the past 16 years.
I have always been a fan of letter writing. There is something that comes out of your soul when you pen ink to paper. It is not the same when you send a text, or when you write an email. There is something private, raw, and real about a letter that shares from deep within a heart. Maybe that letter was not the first draft. Maybe it had been written over and over after many drafts, and the final version is what takes the journey from mailbox, to post office to truck, to mailbox, to the hands of the recipient — who has a moment to absorb themselves into the words shared with them over many miles. They have a choice to keep and treasure the letter or to throw it in the trash. That letter or card has a life of its own.
A life of its own. This is why I love that, in a few weeks, it will be National Letter Writing and Card Month (April). This article from Huffington Post shares about a contest from Crane called: “The Letters You Keep” — which invites people to share about the letters they have received over the years. I still have quite a few letters from my past. My mother and grandma wrote me telling me what was happening in their lives while I was away at high school. Later I received letters from my grandma while I was away at college, and while a counselor at camp. I have the 10+ page letter my father wrote to my mother telling her how she had ruined our family with the sickness that had plagued her body. You might wonder why I have kept that long letter? It is a moment of history. It tells me a bit about my father. It reminds me where I come from, and how far I have come.
What I regret is all the letters that are missing. The letters I received from Santa (penned by my father). What wisdom might they have told me about life or given me wisdom today about my father? Were there letters between my sister and me? I do not have any. Maybe we were always together? Maybe we communicated more via phone. I also regret that I no longer have the emails between Chris and I from the early stages of our dating life. No they were not handwritten, yet those were the earlier days of emails and instant messaging. We probably were excited and passionate about how quickly you could go back and forth to share our thoughts and feelings without having to wait for the mailman. We actually saved a lot of them, but they were lost on a hard drive that died when a laptop crashed to the floor. I still have that hard drive in hopes that someday we will be able to magically resurrect our early days of falling in love.
Whether or not you join Crane’s contest, I hope you will at the very least take a few moments to send a card to someone you love, someone you appreciate, or someone who has not heard from you in eons. As the Huffington Post article states:
“A handwritten envelope found amidst catalogs and credit card bills is the equivalent of a still-cold canteen in the middle of the desert. It’s refreshing and gives you reason to keep going.”
Think about who in your life needs that still-cold canteen. Reach out to them. You might just find someone to be there to quench your thirst.
I am sure a lot of people are writing and sharing about Maya Angelou today, yesterday, and in the coming weeks. She deserves the fanfare. A stellar woman, with so much poise, brilliance, and badassness. The Internet is buzzing with her quotes, thoughts about her life, and how she inspired millions upon millions of people in the course of her life. I love, love, love her last tweet:
I wonder what was going through her thoughts, if she was coherent, if she was so closely talking to God. Regardless, she shared such wisdom with the world, and we are all the better for it.
One of my all time favorite Maya Angelou poems is: “Phenomenal Woman.” In case you have not read it, it still brings tears to my eyes. I think I first read it in college. It was one of those poems that I instantly memorized and often has come back to my thoughts. I often wonder if it was the first time that I actually thought about the idea of a woman being “phenomenal.” Sad, but true. Here is the first verse, but I encourage you to click the above link and read the entire poem.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say, It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I only hope that we can continue to raise our girls to know they are phenomenal — whatever their age, background, or disposition. Here is also a past blog post with another favorite Maya Angelou quote.