I am a lot of things, both appealing and offensive. Similarly, I do many things, mostly offensive and sometimes, hopefully, appealing. For instance, free writing on my blog might turn out to be splendidly appealing or horribly offensive (or just plain boring, but perish the thought, I could never be boring).
There are things I should be doing, like writing more articles, and things I am doing, like writing more fanfiction. There’s the person I should be, who is always confident and kind and composed, and the person I actually am, who takes everything to heart and loses her temper and, like an elephant, never forgets. In all honesty, it’s harder to try and change yourself, even when it seems like it’s for the better, and being yourself cannot be anything but positive in the long run. If you are yourself, you’ll reduce a large amount of secrets you have to keep from people.
As for doing things, people talk about how we have little time to do the things we should. Logically, I believe that, but to me it seems that life goes on and on and never lets me rest. Screw doing stuff, most of the time I just want to sleep.
I’ve been encouraged to write a book, possibly, about living in Appalachia and fighting the destruction here. It strikes me as funny that something I do everyday – i.e. “live here” – would be appealing enough in book form to actually sell. That being said, I’m sure I’ll do it eventually. Probably next year for NaNoWriMo. But what’s wrong with inspirational stories about boy robots who want to save the world and understand love? So the next book, which I’ll be writing for NaNo this year, is the third book in the Jonah series.
Actually, I haven’t even tried to get Jonah published. I haven’t sent it anywhere at all, so I don’t even know if it would be rejected or if I’m just paranoid. It seems like a crazy thought, that I could really publish a book. I used to tell people that my ultimate goal was to get at least one book published. If I got published now, at 22, it would be so strange. I would, however, consider myself highly successful for my age. That would sum up what I’ve been working for my whole life. Maybe it would be peaceful or maybe it wouldn’t be peaceful at all. I’d probably sleep more, and that really can’t be a good thing.
But today is a special day. Today is the birthday of activist Judy Bonds, who inspired me like no one else ever could in the fight against mountaintop removal. I miss Judy. For her, life was too short, just like everyone always says it will be. But if there was ever a person who spent every day being herself for everyone in the world to see, it was Judy. The world is full of people who hide behind all sorts of different masks but Judy didn’t hide. She was, and continues to be, a character that overwhelms every room full of stereotypes and cop-outs with her sheer individuality and persistence.
I prefaced that small paragraph about Judy with a lot of stuff about myself because I didn’t know what I wanted to write, I guess, to mark this important day. What can I say about Judy that hasn’t already been said a million times over by everyone who loved her? What right do I have to say anything at all? I was just some random girl who listened to her speak and loved the things she said and the way she held herself, not above the people, but above the lies and fear and hate.
Maybe she was nothing like I imagined her to be. I never got to sit and have coffee with her or share stories and get to know her. Still, I think that when someone is as real as Judy was, it makes them shine somehow. When I saw Judy speak or on the front lines at actions, I always knew that I liked her – loved her – in a world full of people who never quite measure up. And all she had to do was be herself. But that’s harder than you might think, when being yourself and speaking the truth puts you in harm’s way, when the safest path to take would be to duck your head down and pretend you can’t do anything. I’m sure that there were days when she was afraid but she kept going.
I don’t want to glorify her beyond what she really was – and I don’t think she would have wanted that either. She was a person, just like you and me. We all have an opportunity to be that real, that solid, and Judy took that opportunity. I guess the reason why I had to talk about myself before I could talk about Judy is that when I think about Judy, I think about myself too. I think about all of the things I’m capable of doing that I haven’t done yet, for whatever reason. I think about how it’s so hard to hide my real self from the world, but it’s even harder to be honest and take the criticism from others that comes with it. Maybe Judy was like me and she just couldn’t keep herself locked up and boxed away. Whatever the reason, I was honored to meet her. I would have been honored to know her. Most of all, I am grateful to her for fighting until the end. There’s a lesson there I still haven’t quite learned but I think Judy gave me the answer to a question I’ve always had.
When you’re a kid and you dream about going down in history books, you don’t think about what that means. To be remembered like that, you have to leave something behind in peoples’ hearts. You have to work hard, bust your ass, and never, ever take shit from anybody, but you also have to have compassion and love. When you get up in front of a crowd, you have to let them know that you’re not going to back down and that you still love the world, no matter how much pain it puts you through. The people who see that about you and are inspired by you will keep you alive in their thoughts. You will never be forgotten. It’s a brave thing to do with your life because you won’t be around to see the impact you have. You have to have blind faith in the world and give as much as you can while you have the chance. It’s not about personal glory, being remembered. I guess I don’t really know what it’s about, except that Judy didn’t fight so people would remember her. People remember her because she fought for something real.