Everyone feels self-conscious sometimes. You feel ugly, awkward, freakish, weird. When you go out in public it seems like everyone’s staring you, their faces scowling, eyes displaying a varied mix of disgust and fear.
You find yourself wanting to lock yourself in a closet, or like Harry Potter, throw an invisibility cloak over your head and forever disappear from the world.
I know this often seems worse when you’re disabled, because I’ve been there. People see my short stature, my twisted arms, my over-large head, and I can almost hear their thoughts saying “What is that?” as if it’s not clear to their questioning eyes that I’m a living, breathing human being just live everyone else.
I find myself wondering just how ignorant or downright stupid they must be to stare at me as if I’m too blind and witless to see them gawking at me. But over the years it’s gotten better, and of course I’m so used to it now that whenever it occurs I pretty much just shrug it off with a deep burning desire to scream “Kiss my a–“, um, well, you get the point.
Then one day I came across a quote by the great Satchel Paige, who was a famous Negro League pitcher, and at age 42 became the oldest rookie in major league history.
Not only did he play well into his 50s, but he was a legendary storyteller and a human quote machine as
well. He was a man who lived life and truly enjoyed it, and he brought this same joy to others as well.
Although by the time I came across this quote a couple of years ago, I had grown enough confidence in myself to pay little heed to my detractors.
However, this quote spoke directly to me, reminding me of the way we all should live our lives. Each living thing is a tiny miracle that should be loved and appreciated, and I understand now that in order to feel this way toward others, you must feel this way toward yourself first.
I don’t know if Mr. Paige understood how truly significant his words would be one day, but I’m now sharing them to all of you in the hopes that you will take these words to heart just as I have.
“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”
What I think Mr. Paige was trying to say was, “You get one shot at this life stuff. Don’t waste it!” So from now on, that’s exactly how I’m approaching “this life stuff.” I’m doing my best to enjoy every second of it.
I know gas prices are high, and the events of the Gulf Coast are weighing heavily on our collective minds and hearts, but life does go on. It is the bad times that should force us to appreciate the good times all the more. Storms do come, but eventually, they will pass.
So the next time you’re out in public and you find someone gazing at you as if they’ve just come from having a double lobotomy, just turn to them, smile, hold yourself high, and keep on dancing like ain’t nobody watching.
And who knows? Maybe before long others will start dancing with you.
What inspirational quote gives you the motivation to push forward in life?
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