It started when I was 11-years-old when I shared with my friend in a hushed whisper that I never thought for a second would carry on throughout my life: “I’m scared. I do not want to be like my mother. I just want to be like my father.”
My friend said: “You have choices in life. You can bend to the light or away from the light.”
I have always tried to bend to the light, but, sometimes, it is hard to be good and to do by right to bathe and bask in the light that can also burn you at times with so many inner demons of mental and emotional battles raging on.
When I look back now, I would call my confession under the general umbrella of: “Class Act.” What’s a ‘class act’? Alas, a ‘class act’ can only be explained through examples and can only be seen under the worst rather than the best of conditions and situations. I’ve come to understand that it is in the worst and most stressful and pressure-filled situations that “class acts” emerge or non-exist. A ‘class act’ realizes how their actions and words affect others in the best or worst and to be like or not to be like. A ‘class act’ is someone to admire and to try to be like.
The first person who was and always is the truest of “Class Acts” is my father. He is the ultimate survivor who worked hard for what he earned, never believed or gave in to charity or entitlement, always selflessly gave, loathed pity, did all he said he would, laughed loud when he could have cried hard. When I asked my father years later how he did all he did as a single father and after all he has survived, he shrugged nonchalantly and said: “You don’t think about it. You don’t dwell. You do what you have to do. You just act. You do it.” Now, that’s a ‘class act.’
The first person I did not want to be like was obvious: My mother. I need not say more about why I never wanted to be like her except she plays a good victim and makes everything extremely dramatic, stressful, and that the whole world revolves around her.
The two other people who will always remain a ‘class act’ are my aunt (my dad’s eldest sister) and my stepmom. My aunt was the first motherly figure I had after my mother left. She spent and still spends her life doing for others because, essentially, doing for others was doing for her to forget pain. She was always in pain, but she never said it. My aunt and I were like two peas in a pod with joints that eventually fell apart, endured chronic pain, never spoke or shared, and did what we had to do. My stepmom was my long-term motherly figure who quietly gives, always does, and never asks for anything from anyone; She is unbreakably strong.
From the moment I met both women, I wanted to be like both of them. I’ve always wanted to be like my father. I never wanted to complain when there were others who had it worse than me. I never wanted to dwell and wallow when I could not change the circumstances, but had the power to change the consequences.
In my life, there are very few who I strongly admire and consider as ‘class acts’ outside of my family, but these select few who I can probably only count them on one hand who have had a profound affect showing me how I want to be. In this life, you are lucky if you have good role models who guide and show and steer you towards the light from all they do and not all they say. In this life, you are also lucky if you have bad role models who show you how you DO NOT want to be. You are smart if you can decipher who is or is not a class act. You are wise if you can work and live up to being a ‘class act’ AND owning it.
How are you under pressure and stress? Do you carry on without going on about it to go through with it? Do you rant, grumble, complain, and vocalize all your worries and thoughts? Are you dramatic and somehow make the whole world revolved around you and your problems? Do you stay silent and do what you have to do to survive and thrive? Do you make everything about your circumstances rather than changing the consequences? I’ve been blessed to see the broad range of those who clamor, complain, and crack under pressure to those who silently and strongly survive and strive under pressure with such calm and artful grace and style.
Bottom line: I want to be a ‘class act.’ I want to smile, stay strong, always appreciate, and never take anything or anyone for granted. I want to stay calm and quiet through the storms of life to ride those rough waves and enjoy those ebbs and flows. I never want to be about the cause and I want to be about the results. Ultimately, I do not want to be defined by my problems and I want to be the creator of my solutions.
Who do you admire? Who do you see as a ‘class act’?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,