Two things I’m discovering intrigue me, as I’m on this journey of jobless exploration and navel gazing. I’m fascinated by people (mainly women, but certainly men too) who inspire the concept of healthy body image in themselves and others. Seriously, I’m over the moon toward people who rock a positive body image, even if (especially if) it’s not what society typically defines as “beautiful,” which, as we all know, is a very narrow definition.
Heavier people, people with disabilities, people who have not been blessed with blonde hair and blue eyes and a fucking statuesque figure, who are out there doing their thing in front of the world even though society and internet haters tell them they should be sitting under a blanket in their parents’ basements hiding in shame for being “hideous” are the people that FUCKING MAKE MY NIPPLES STAND UP WITH JOY.
We live in a world full of assholes who sit in front of computer monitors and who just waiting to tell you how gross you look, how fat you are, what a loser you are, how you will fail at everything you attempt. Yet, you are brave enough to put up a video showing everyone what it’s like to live with excess skin since you lost 270 pounds because you hope that it will inspire or help others. You expose yourself to these hateful, small bigots because you think your Instagram page of you kicking major ass at yoga will encourage other heavier people to also try yoga.
Y’all are my fucking heroes. Seriously, good on you. There need to be more people like you in the world. You are inspirational. Don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing.
The second type of person that inspires and intrigues me is the person that finds a need in the community and just goes out and fills it. Just like that. In a never-ending cycle of negative news stories, I try and seek out positive shit, and I’m fascinated by stories like the guys who tricked out a VW van with a washer and dryer and drive it around Brisbane and let homeless people do their laundry in their van. Or, closer to home, the guy who just, on a whim, bought a cement statue of Buddha at Ace Hardware one day and stuck it on a particularly bad corner in his particularly bad neighborhood in Oakland, where it then became an anchor for the community. Buddhist nuns came to pray at it every morning, as did many other non-Buddhist members of the neighborhood. People stopped selling and doing drugs on that corner and stopped dumping trash there. It became a gathering place, and neighbors started getting to know neighbors. All because one guy bought a $50 statue.
The common theme here for me is that none of these things involved a major movement. All of these people ended up being an inspiration to large numbers of people through their actions, yet they did it by simply being true to themselves. They did it by showing the rest of the world what was in their hearts, and for those of us that were ready to be inspired, we responded with glee and joy and love.
And I think, in a world where it’s so easy to get discouraged by how impotent we feel all the time, the fact that these people were able to inspire us on their own is enormously important. How many times have you thought about politics, the environment, education, the state of the world “Yeah, it sucks, but what can *I* do?!” All the time, right? It’s demoralizing to feel that powerless all the fucking time. We need to feel like we are capable of affecting change sometimes. These are the people we can look up to. Look at them! Singlehandedly, look at how many people they inspired.
Anyway, to that end, I’m starting a hashtag called #WhatCan1BuddhaDo. So occasionally you’ll see this on my Facebook page and Twitter account. I’ll be highlighting stories of people I feel are just fucking rocking it in the Being True to Themselves department—either with positive body image, or helping others, or just being kickass heroes in their community—and I’ll be using this hashtag to highlight the fact that they’re out there inspiring us on the solo tip. If y’all read stories of people doing this as well, please don’t hesitate to let me know on my Facebook page or by leaving me a comment here. I’m always interested in hearing of these folks!