Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Role models

Once again, this was sparked by someone else's musings. This morning, a friend I follow on Twitter was looking for people's role models in order to find pictures for a presentation. I had a quick scan through the replies, and there were some interesting suggestions. Graham Coxon, "my mum" (lots of people's mums, not everyone looking up to my mum) and apparently she eventually settled for her own role model, the brilliant Ellen DeGeneres (incidentally, check out Ellen dancing with Barack Obama).

I originally came up with two people; a very dear friend who is pastor of the Big Easy Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans, and then for the sake of having someone famous, Mr. Stephen Fry.

The reason I came up with Stephen Fry is perhaps obvious to you. When I read Moab is my Washpot, I was struck by a number of things. Firstly, that he has a very clear and direct outlook on life that is actually pretty refreshing, secondly that he has a security about his sexuality that I admire deeply and that I feel we don't see very much even in this age of supposed freedom, and finally that he is able to accept and acknowledge his mental health difficulties as a part of him without making excuses or pretending he is anything other than who he is. That sort of security in one's identity is brilliant and hard to find in people. It is something I aspire to, and the reason I count him as a role model. Of course, the fact he is a classicist and brilliant general knowledge buff, and a very funny individual are all part of that, too.

But then there are all the other people who've touched my life. In no particutlar order:
  • My whole family, my brilliantly talented sister, mum and dad, Granny Prue and Grandpa who had so much faith in God, G&G who have taught me what family is, and my fabulously diverse cousins, who are the smartest people I know; 
  • my friends - every single one of them - who have held my hands, prayed with me, let me cry and given me much-needed cuddles and kisses;
  • the people who have shared my living space graciously and given me someone to come home to;
  • the woman I shared my life with for two years, who will always hold a special place in my heart and taught me a lot about sincerity;
  • 'My Wife', who shows more maturity and courage at 18 than I think I have ever had;
  • the teachers who took the time to look out for me, who supervised school trips, or who are the reason I have such a passion for learning;
  • the wonderful conductor of the first wind band I played in, who was the first person to give me faith in my musical ability; 
  • my flute and piano teacher, who deserves to be canonised; 
  • everyone who has ministered to me, lay and ordained, and prayed for me and given me time and space;
  • girl at school who kept in touch with me when she left the sixth form (even though I was only a year seven), told me it was ok to be gay, and gave me some self-belief; 
  • the administrator of my academic department at university, who kept me at university through the worst of times;
  • the former presidents of UCLU LGB Society who took me under their wings and showed me what it means to achieve things for other people; 
  • the sabbs who came before me and the ones who are doing the job now; 
  • everyone who has had a kind word or a smile for me when I was low.
I love you all. Each of us has the power to make a difference in someone's life, and the best we can aspire to is to make a positive difference in someone's life. I wouldn't be who I was if it weren't for you all. If I can do justice to your influence on my life I will consider that I have been greatly blessed.

Thank you.

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