In true procrastinatory style, I am blocked over an article I sort of have to write – that is, I’m not sure whether it will be published. Which would make any ordinary person draft it as soon as possible and as well as possible so that publication would be an irresistible option. Especially, when the writer herself has pitched it. Of course, in this case the writer is a giant idiot, who still hasn’t written or researched a line for the article in the past several weeks. This writer had asked to be able to write something on role models. And oh boy, has she made an example of what NOT to look for in a role model. Alas, her own experience of being anything-but-a-role-model cannot be streamlined into that fine publication, so that she could kill two birds with one stone by writing a self-deprecatory story. So, it is her readers on home ground who shall have to, yet again, put up with another tale of procrastination. She could write a book on it, her regulars may say. Only if she didn’t procrastinate that as well.
So, leaving not-well-thought-out pitches aside, is a role model really something anyone should have? Or aspire to be? People keep telling you to learn from your mistakes. But, wouldn’t it be more productive to learn from other people’s mistakes? Now, a role model isn’t somebody who is successful for the sake of it. They should have a struggle story behind it. But, you will frequently find, there is a more-or-less similar trajectory to their lives, no matter what their field of expertise may be. Their gift is clear right from childhood – they have a strong sense of what they want to do in life. Second, no matter how many varieties of obstacles they face, they never steer away from their ultimate goal. Third, despite having predominantly naysayers to populate their lives, they always have at least one person to encourage them, and some sort of mentor/role model as well. Last, even after they have achieved their goal and become a role model themselves, there is usually a downward spiral from which, if they rise, they have their Phoenix moment and become a double-time winner for being a role model. You also might get a movie out of it.
I am not trying to mock role models by mapping their lives in this way but, I am trying to see whether such people are prudent role models for anybody, not just young people. Being a writer and choosing Rocky Balboa as a role model after watching Rocky is obvious when you see the relationship between both journeys in an allegorical fashion. But, whether they resemble your life closely or not, how much should you try to emulate them? I adore Jane Austen and Shakespeare but, I’m setting myself up for disappointment if I think it’ll do me any good to, even creatively, let alone in terms of lifestyle, emulate them in anyway. A role model shouldn’t be someone you aspire to be like. They should be someone who should remind you of what you aspire to be on your own terms, using your own resources.
Like yesterday’s quote shows, it is much easier to imitate who you admire when you are younger. I cringe in embarrassment as I remember my various phases, which my thin skin will never allow me to share with you. But, they all remind me of how impressionable I was, as well as fickle. I suppose I was fortunate because I’ve turned out to be rather okayish, thanks to them. But, if I had had a strong role model/mentor when I was younger, would I have been much different? Would it have made me more determined or would my need for independence, to do things on my own terms, be stifled?
I actually think it is the latter. There are some who can so easily latch on to those who inspire them. Some people do not approve of such people recruiting fairy godmothers along the way but, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Whatever gets you to your destination, as long as you see that it was worth it. For myself, however, I find I need my personal, creative space way too much to get anyone too interested in my affairs. This seems contrary to what I usually moan about – uninvested people. But, more than encouragement, what is more important to me is to protect my creative identity, for I’ve found myself malleable or lost under the influence of someone else’s. That my ideas did not match up to their view of the world and therefore, should be discarded. Whereas, as I’ve found, there was a place for them somewhere else, after all.
For me, any role model, despite how momentary my devotion to them may be, is only about someone else reassuring me of my own path. There are so many people you can learn from. All those inspirational movies about boxers and scientists which teach you about things. And that is their role. That is the model they create.
Better get down to writing that article now. Inspiration psyched!