Influencers. It’s a ‘word’ seen abundantly in social media metrics and such. But who are our true influencers? The men and women who raised us, an older sibling, grandparents… and,
sometimes often, a teacher.
I must admit that I truly enjoyed high school. Not for the social aspect – I wasn’t at the very bottom of the social totem pole but it was close. Not for the classes – though I truly enjoyed learning and had great teachers. But for what it allowed me to do. High school gave me a platform; I discovered my love of public speaking and all things theater. I discovered community engagement – I was always on some committee or another – and the gift of volunteering. And I may have found my voice.
My life today is so different – I am different. Better. Happier. One such influencer – perhaps the greatest aside from my parents – was my drama teacher and mentor, Lise. From her I learned the value in being yourself (amongst many other things!).
Dance like no one’s watching, laugh like no one cares; be seen AND heard. Have a voice – use it. Be yourself. You don’t need to be 120 lbs to rock out a pair of leather pants – you don’t need to be 20 either. To this day I can’t look at a martini glass without thinking of her – she didn’t drink but loved how they looked and felt in her hands. Stay true to yourself – your culture, your values, the stuff that makes you ‘you’.
So you’re weird and quirky and different and loud? Embrace it. Some will love you for it, some will hate you for it – but embrace the awesomeness that is you.
Plus Fort! If she couldn’t hear you whisper your lines from across the auditorium, you weren’t whispering loud enough. Today, I can talk to a room full of people and be heard from a mile away if need be – very convenient at the park with the kids.
Oui Madame! Seriously folks, I can’t read your mind nor can I see you behind the curtains. Acknowledge that you’ve heard and understood. Depending on my mood…. Just do it, don’t ask. ‘Oui Maman’ is a phrase well-known to my kids.
Parles-moi en français! I could fill pages with the life lessons she taught me… but perhaps the biggest one is to value your roots, your culture, your language.
She gave me the gift of allowing me to being me – and allowing me to embrace ME.
There are no words, really. A well-placed M E R C I is as good a start as any, as I look over a sprinkling of memories from the stage.
A teacher, a mentor, a friend – and her legacy never forgotten! She has written a book about her years in the classroom, and I’m so excited for the launch of ‘Une goutte d’eau a la fois‘. It will be great to relive some of the greatest moments of my youth, and read of many more who’s footsteps I followed.