Ever watch the Academy Awards and wish you had a platform to thank all the people who helped you get to where you are today? Maybe you won’t ever have quite that opportunity, but you don’t need an Oscar to say thanks.
I used to love watching awards shows as a kid. In my younger years I had dreams of being a performer – an actress and/or singer – and, like the old cliché about aspiring performers, I’d stand in front of the mirror in our blue tiled bathroom, holding a hair-brush, practicing my Tony/Emmy/Oscar acceptance speeches.
As I got older and realized what the life of a performer was like, the dream lost its glow. In time, I found that the things that I loved about performing: community, collaboration, being allowed – no, not just allowed: encouraged and celebrated – for sharing big emotions, stories, and truths … these things didn’t require a stage, costume, and a different character. I learned that I didn’t have to tell someone else’s stories, and I could collaborate, create community, and shine on in loads of other ways.
Still, sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to have that public platform to thank all the important people who brought me to this time and place in my life.
So, inspired by the Academy Awards …
- I’d like to thank my parents (my producers), for giving me love, love, and more love; for giving me something to push up against in my teen years (and sometimes beyond), and for support, encouragement and understanding always.
- To my sister and brother for the same, only different. And to time, for making our sibling challenges fade into love, understanding, and respect. For remembering things differently, but the same, and for the way those shared stories have made us into a unique, special club. And for giving me one of the best roles of my life: ‘Uncle Debbie’ (and to all the little – and not-quite-so-little-anymore – people who call me that.)
- To my aunts, uncles, and cousins, for many of the same reasons, and to one particular “loovely coozin” for all the shared experiences and stories along the path. (here’s to more.)
- To the friends I grew up with – the ones who knew me when I wore blue cats-eye glasses, through the teen years, the drama, the growth spurts, and the hurts. And to the ones who are still in that inner circle of call-at-any-hour/come-running-in-a-pinch/chosen-family: the ones who are there for the best of times and worst of times; who will laugh uncontrollably when we each remember different lines from the old songs from 5th grade chorus, among so many other things. The ones who will rally, mourn, and carry on.
- To my college and work-related friends – the ones who were of the time, and then, even better: those who continued beyond shared experience and proximity. Those who may still be bound by those common experiences, but who have grown way beyond.
- To the boyfriends, lovers, crushes, and ‘the one(s) who got away,’ as well as my dear, wonderful friend/ex-husband: for teaching me so very much about love and relationships. For helping me see that love doesn’t always conquer all, but the cliché is true: it really is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. And for reminding me that sometimes the most loving thing of all is letting go.
- And to the hubster: my Buddha; my curmudgeon. For the foot rubs … (we could probably stop there, because, yum. but …) … for being a mirror; for putting up with my quirks, and letting me remind you how I put up with yours. For being “in” with the theory that relationships really are the biggest personal growth workshop ever – from the very start. For staying in. For giving me space, and freedom, as well as support and encouragement; for so many other things I thought I’d have to give up to be in a relationship. I didn’t. Who knew? For being the unexpected, relationship sherpa that you are.
- To my step-son, for still calling me his step-mother, long after his dad and I split up, and for “whatever”ing me when I remind him of his little self, and putting up with me anyway, and letting me have what I have, and what I had. (and to his dad, and his mom, for helping with all of that.)
- To the places I’ve lived, for helping me see what matters in my community and my space. For reminding me (sometimes too many times) that I can create space, breath into, love, and rest just about anywhere I go. (and ok, so a little closer to NY would be nice now, but y’know: the hubster/compromise/the aforementioned personal growth workshop of relationship …) (damn.)
- To my beloved Writer Babes. Each and every one of them. From the early days to today. For helping me see what I’m doing on this planet; for appreciating what I do and paying me to do it (yay). For reminding me every time they show up with pens poised that the power of writing in community and being seen, acknowledged, and appreciated for their unapologetic selves is one of the best self-help gifts ever. And that my evangelism around this practice is important and worth doing.
- To pop culture for countless references, hours of entertainment, songs to sing, and inspiration, insight, and delight. (where would i be without the force and yoda? really …)
- To my teachers, coaches, friends, and inspirations (some of them are all four) including, but certainly not limited to: My mastermind ladies: Kira and Kate; where would I be without you two? To Pat Schneider, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Brenda Ueland and Maya Angelou; Lorrie Schneider, Lori Mazan, Sue Coleman, Ruth Flohr, Sandi Davis, Gail Barrie, Kathy Miller, the “Corals,” and to Tanya and Michelle for the golden experience, to my blog buddies (‘specially those from the early days), the peeps I worked with during my time with The Coaches Training Institute, my poet-teachers (rumi, billy collins, mary oliver, lucille clifton, david whyte, and on, and on, and on …) for everything. Everything.
- And to the person who gave me my first journal – even though I don’t remember who you are: thank you, thank you, thank you.
- And, since the music would SO have been playing me off by now … like Maureen Stapleton said when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Reds: “I want to thank … my family, my friends … and everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Try this at home: Ever tried writing your own ‘I’d like to thank the Academy’ speech? You don’t need to win something to thank the people who have helped to bring you to where you are. (why not thank ’em today?)