I am not a pundit, or columnist, or inspirational figure.   I am an interior designer in Los Angeles, CA.  But my passion – now and always – is rational discourse;  caring for and listening to people and their ideas, embracing differences, and trying to understand why they feel the way they do.  

Mainly, I am an activist driven by unfairness, cultural disparities, and untruths. But, most importantly, by purpose and need.  Like most, I feel better when I have purpose.  Otherwise, accepting the slings and arrows being thrown at us on a regular basis would be unbearable.  When people feel they are being overpowered, unheard, or dismissed, it is extremely discouraging and impossible to not feel angry and dispirited.  Which begs the question:  Why is it so hard to encourage ourselves and others?  

It isn’t.  YOU are the answer.  Not some person on television or someone telling you what is best for you.  All the ingredients to empower yourself in any given situation, at any given moment, exist in your core.  It is this very core which defines you and in times of strife and disappointment, your most valuable asset.  It cannot be taken away by circumstances or shaken by outside influences.  Most often, you are not even aware it is there but it is and it’s a very powerful tool.  Whether it is this current political climate in America or personal happenings in your everyday life, knowing and relying on your core is your greatest strength and your best source of self-encouragement.  Nurture and trust it.  It houses your beliefs and is the control you have in your life.  So, if you are feeling a little uncomfortable or uneasy, you may need to encourage yourself by listening to your core and consider the possibility that you are doing or being something lesser than you are.

My first job out of college was working in the Governor’s office in Kentucky.  I moved from correspondence with constituents to scheduling and advance work for the Governor’s campaign.  It was a very abrupt and eye opening introduction into politics.  I will be honest.  I experienced many things that were disturbing but at the same time, I was exposed to what could be considered the best of humanity.  It was this influence that encouraged me to get involved in ways I defined for myself and to stop focusing on all that was wrong with the world.  Believe me, I have my moments and am no Pollyanna but eventually my core will get me back on track.

I have stayed focused on politics and civic involvement on many levels since those days.  It keeps me from feeling distressed and helpless.  One big problem I encountered as a girl from the South was coming to grips with the isolationism  of the Southern culture.  Yes, there is a horrid history there but not communicating with one another keeps the cycle going and prevents solutions. You could describe it as tribalism but, mostly, it is based on low self-esteem.  Where do you come in here?  It is so easy to encourage and make others feel better about themselves but it starts with encouraging yourself.

I do get a little defensive when people make blanket assumptions about other people and cultures as we inadvertently do with anyone who is different, but it is almost always unfair and misguided.  The world has an enormous population of kind and generous souls.  Unfortunately, the other end of the spectrum resists curiosity, feeling they would be threatened or not embraced by ‘outside’ cultures.  It has always been a source of disappointment for me that we cannot seem to bridge this divide.  Hierarchies, whether they be micro or macro, are a fact of life but also one of the primary reasons we cannot empathize with others and another explanation as to why we have reached this juncture in life.

We all have stories of disappointment and defeat.  In fact, many throughout our lives.  There are moments when it would just be easier to walk away and, honestly, I have done so more than once. But that is not the way to deal with disappointment. It is always going to be part of the deal.  So instead of getting bitter or trying to hide from it, tap into your core and allow yourself to realize what gifts you possess. Enlarge your presence with all you have been storing inside.  Your courage,  your caring, your hopefulness should be shared.  You can change so many lives and I don’t see anything more valuable than that.  There is much needed and plenty to go around.

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  • Mary graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a minor in Housing and Interior Design, and completed design studies at Parsons School of Design in New York and the Inchbald School of Design in London. She is the founder of Kids for Kids, and is affiliated with WE.org, where she travels to countries around the world to build schools and provide necessary provisions and services, the Harvard School of Public Health as a supporter of fistula surgery in Africa, Women To Women International, and Planned Parenthood. She also volunteers for a multitude of candidates in California, assists in elections around the country, and fundraises for PACs and individual candidates.