I think I take inspiration for granted. I kind of walk around expecting to be inspired by everything, and I wonder what happens when I end up coming home at the end of the day thinking everything is so mundane. Where’s the amazing? Where’s the incredible? Why am I not full of new ideas and all a-quiver at the thought of all the opportunities out there in the great wide world?
Well, obviously the thing about inspiration is that it’s special because it’s so rare, and because it usually comes when you least expect it. Or that’s how it is with me, anyway. And today served as a great reminder of how it all happens.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a restaurant near my office called 4food. My friend Mary and I had been there for lunch and unfortunately came away with a bad taste in our mouths, though not because of the food. Not too soon after I wrote about 4food, I was contacted by their operations manager, who invited me in to have lunch and talk about what I’d written. We had our lunch today, but I’ll save the details of it for another post.
I’m not really sure what I expected from this lunch. I sort of figured we’d sit down, and talk a little bit about the post, and maybe that would be it, really, and I’d leave feeling good and then feel kind of like nothing had actually happened a few hours later. That is, at least, how I felt when I spoke with the representative from Special K: as much as I tried to convince myself that maybe a big company would make a change that would indicate that our collective voice could have some kind of impact, I walked away from all that feeling like it would never happen. A lot of commenters pointed out that Kellogg’s wants to make money, and a good way to do so is to convince women that they’re fat, and that Special K can solve that problem. If people get hurt in the process, it’s no big deal (well, I’m paraphrasing slightly, but this summation is not far off). I didn’t want to believe that those commenters were right, even though I knew deep down that they were. Needless to say, that whole thing left me feeling a little bit jaded.
Today’s lunch was entirely different. For one thing, the part of the video that bothered me and Mary (and everyone else I spoke to about it) so much is going to be removed from the next version. Yay! I can’t really even express how happy that makes me; an image that plays into society’s narrow definition of health and beauty is being removed from promotional material? To me, that’s a really big deal, and quite a high note to hit during a lunch-hour meeting. What’s even better, though, is that it wasn’t the only high note.
Jonathan, 4food’s operations manager, and I talked a lot about health: definitions of health, perceptions of health, society’s way of dealing with health, our culture’s love/hate relationship with health. He has got amazing plans for 4food that involve promoting an image of health that isn’t based on what the media tells us we should look like, or eat, or do, or say. Rather, the image of health he is working to promote is one that encourages people to make small changes, value their connection with the food they eat, slow down, spend more time treating themselves and others with respect and kindness, and enhancing their overall well-being. I walked away from lunch with Jonathan knowing that I’d met someone with a real passion for he does, and a dedication to doing what he set out to do. This is the way I want to feel about my work; obviously being around someone like that is inspirational. But even more inspiring was meeting someone who, like me, wants to play a role in changing the way people think about health and their relationship with it. The difference is that he is in a position to do it, while I’m just sitting here in front of my laptop trying to find a way to make it all come together.
Earlier, though, as I was telling Nat about my lunch, it dawned on me that this (well, not this in the literal sense of sitting in front of my laptop, etc., but in the sense of changing the way people think about health, etc.) is what I want to be doing. It is possible to make a difference in the way healthy choices and healthy living are viewed. Good health can be marketed differently. People can learn to feel differently about it, even embrace it. I think it’s a question of overhauling the way “healthy” is presented in today’s society, and I want to work on changing that presentation and changing as many people’s minds and lives as possible. I want to help companies and brands rethink the images of health they present to the public, and make a real difference in the messages the media sends. I want to show people that healthy–whatever it looks like and in all its incarnations–is beautiful, appealing, and even sexy. Essentially, it would be healthy living PR, and I would rock the hell out of it.
The only question is how to get started. Well, I’m working on it.
Embrace:Me 30-day challenge, day 19: So many things today, and many of them difficult! Such is the way of self-kindness, I’m learning. I gave myself a day off of running because of a very upset stomach (I really, really didn’t want to but had to recognize the necessity of it), I’m respecting the sleep hygiene rules I laid out for myself (no blogging in bed! even if your stomach is upset!), I accepted compliments (this took some work and did bring up some resistance, initially), and I’m letting myself get excited about the fact that today was so inspiring. I’ve said it before, but I really do feel like I’ve learned and grown as a result of this challenge.
- Embrace:Me 30-day challenge (icametorun.com)