Tuesday, August 3, 2010


What is inspiration, what does it mean to be inspired?

Miriam Webster provides plenty of definitions, but the most relevant here are
in·spired - \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\ - transitive verb

1 a : to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration

c : to spur on: impel, motivate

I don't know what to say about this. I think this word is cheap, and bandied about too freely. A blogger whose blog I read -- and that I usually like -- is particularly liberal (in my opinion) of reminding us what an inspiration he/she is, and how he/she motivates him/herself. I don't feel like this. I am sure this person is a normal person like we are. Yes this person has lost an inordinate amount of weight -- like many of us have done and/or are trying to do -- but let's put this in perspective. We're just attempting to right the wrongs we have done to our body. We're not overcoming adversity that any of us have not caused ourselves. We're not talking world peace here, just losing weight. And while that is great, and healthy, and wonderful, I don't consider the vast majority of weight loss stories "inspiring". Sorry, Valerie Bertinelli.

Included in these weight loss stories is my own. I am just a regular person, living a pretty regular life. I feel (usually) normal. I don't feel special (no more special than anyone else, really). I don't think I exude anything particularly inspiring. I am proud that I have lost 60 lbs. But I don't think that that qualifies me as someone who is inspiring.

I think it is funny how we see ourselves. I'm not necessarily talking about the you you face in the morning, before you put on your makeup, or shower, or do your hair -- the physical appearance. I am talking about who you fundamentally think you are -- your values, your beliefs, your habits, your self esteem. I consider myself normal, not inspiring.

My mom sent me my birthday present, and I got it today. It is a book with all of the archives of my blog painstakingly organized (something I absolutely am not) and nicely printed to read. Her explanation of the gift said,

"Thought it would be neat to have on a shelf somewhere to pull down and look through when you want to be inspired by YOU."

While the gift itself was thoughtful and meaningful and well-done, what really means the most to me is that she thinks I am capable of being an inspiration, and that she is proud of what I have done so far on this journey to get healthy and, more fundamentally, change who I am and how I see myself. She is like me in that she thinks that words like "hero" and "inspiration" are often bandied about too freely, and often abused -- so for her to think that I am capable of inspiring someone is really meaningful.

Incidentally, I had a counseling session yesterday. The details are not important, but it was very draining (yet insightful) as most of them are. I left feeling like crap, but knowing that I had more puzzle pieces that I needed to fit into figuring out the path forward. A blogger whose blog I read posted a link to a non-WL blog that I think is truly inspiring. Maile lost her husband and son, and yet she soldiers on. If she can go to work and make it through, I can too. And I will. And I will really draw inspiration from her. 99.99999% of us will not have to deal with anything nearly as painful as she has, and she is making it with candor and humor and grace. She inspires me. Reading her story will make you realize that your life -- truly -- is not that bad.


  1. I think we can all be inspirations, but usually those who gloat about being an inspiration, aren't.

  2. You may not think of yourself as an inspiration to others, but I do not think it is for you to decide where people draw their inspiration from. You have done amazing things and I will look up to you regardless of if you think you deserve it or not.. so suck it up LOL!

  3. I think that you can see inspiration everywhere, it's like anything else in that it comes in big and small doses. I think that if sharing your story can even help one person along the way it definitely deserves to be called inspiring!

  4. Losing 60 pounds is most definitely inspirational. I'm honored that you visited/referenced my little blog. Take care of you!

  5. I really struggle on this journey, and the (almost)40 pounds I've lost has been a long hard trip.

    When I read a blog where someone has lost 20, 60, 100 pounds, etc., I am inspired to continue on my journey. Maybe the word is thrown around alot, but I don't use it lightly.

    You are an inspiration. The things you do, the changes you've made, the perseverance in the face of difficulties; it all inspires me to do even better.


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