Oh, the list is long… I admire a lot of people for a variety of reasons.
Number one on my list is my grandmother. She probably did more for me and taught me more than anyone in my life. She was quite a character and nothing was off-limits for her. In the 1920s, she and her friends scandalized their small town by wearing men’s clothing, smoking cigarettes, and driving cars around town. These things just were not done in their small midwestern town by young ladies. She married young, had a child and divorced (another scandal), and married again. She told me stories of her sex life including making her sister angry for waking her up while grandma and her boyfriend were having sex in the next bed. She taught me to cook, and introduced me to genealogy, photography, and a nice hot cup of tea. Grandma was a closet witch who abided by superstitions and read tea leaves. All this while being married to an ultra-religious Christian man.
Second on my list was my mother. My mom didn’t have it easy. Being raised in a strict Christian home where everything was considered evil, especially dancing and smoking, was difficult for her. She was the youngest of three girls, living in a poor family where both parents worked but neither made much money. Mom eloped with my dad at age 18, and I think it was mostly to get away from her father, but she only ended up being dominated by MY father. She never had a chance to ever live on her own, to decide what it was she wanted to do. After my parents divorced, mom married again within months. Mom hated sex and loved to smoke and drink and she did the last two with relish up until she developed Alzheimer’s. She loved her three kids, the only good result of sexual activity, in her eyes. She was an accomplished artist and worked as a model, but had problems with reading. Still, she tried to learn new things.
The third is my daughter. Her short life wasn’t easy either. She had bipolar disorder, very possibly inherited from my grandmother, and agonized over it. As a rapid cycler, her mood swings came and went quickly and it was hard to guess which direction they would go. She was an active child, always moving, and participated in various forms of dancing, as well as swimming and gymnastics. She liked to help others and would become frustrated when she couldn’t save the whole world. After she died, people would tell me stories of the things she said and did for them. She was an inspiration for them and for me.
Others are people I’ve never met but feel I know… they are part of my online life; bloggers and people I’ve met on the different groups I’ve been on around the Internet. Some I’ve known for more than 20 years and we still are friends. Just recently two of them died. This is part of the reality of getting older. But all of them have been an inspiration for me in the things they have said and done in their lifetimes.
Then there are the famous people who are those who do something special and unique that makes it easy to admire them.
On this list, number one for me is Elizabeth Taylor. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was about nine. My mom use to get Life magazine and any time Elizabeth Taylor was in the magazine, I cut out the pages and saved them. My mother’s friend had gossip magazines of the 50s and 60s like Photo Play and Movie World and when she was finished with them, she would pass them down to me. I watched Elizabeth Taylor’s movies, read books about her, and knew who her many husbands and children were. But I admired the fact that she did things her way, on her terms. Yes, she was criticized and often times condemned for her actions and I have no doubt that those things hurt her, but she carried on anyway.
Another actress that I have always admired was Cybill Shepherd, from the time she was a model in teen magazines until she was in the TV shows “Moonlighting” and “Cybill”. I remember being impressed that she didn’t wear shoes to her wedding, as I hate wearing shoes too. I always felt that if they ever made a movie about my life, I’d want Cybill Shepherd to play me.
I’ve read that the people you admire, are a reflection of what you like best about yourself. If that is true, maybe I’m doing better than I give myself credit.