I have the heart of Mother Teresa, but it’s trapped in the body of Mae West. Anyone who knows me is aware that, although it sounds funny, I really do believe it. They are both my heroes, just for different reasons.
For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa wandered barefoot through the streets of Calcutta, ministering to the sick, the destitute, the dying. She once referred to herself as being, “… like a little pencil in God’s hand…” claiming that she did nothing, … “He did all the work.” Her humility struck me hard at a very young and impressionable age and I once greatly desired to go to India and hang with her.
Soon thereafter I discovered the other great influence of my life, Mae West. The unequivocal queen of double entendre, West was an unprecedented female pioneer in the silver-screen industries as an actress, screenwriter, and playwright. Her bawdiness, beauty, and brash persona mesmerized me, while her ambitious sexuality simultaneously inspired me, let’s just say, beyond words.
Somewhere between my saintly yearnings and not-so-saintly inclinations, I managed to find some equilibrium. Just like you, I wanted to do good things for the world. Just like me, I got waylaid by all the naughty diversions that kept landing in my so-called path.
Aye, there is a mighty fine line between intention and actualization, and I am continuously straddling it. For example, I yearn to effectuate World Peace. Yes, it is a lofty ambition, but I think a person should aim high. In truth, the closest I have come to achieving said goal is “one piece at a time.” Another aspiration is to shelter the homeless and feed the hungry. Ironically, that reality is much the same as the aforementioned world peace… my excuse being that Alaskan winters have always been too long to muck through unaccompanied, especially when there is wood to chop and deer to skin. (Don’t even think about asking me about how mechanical repairs happen.)
Fortunately, after years of trying to reconcile the vast differences between my heroines, it occurred to me that they were, in fact, in accord on many subjects and, by golly, I am so relieved! Check it out:
Mother Teresa said: In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Mae West said: Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
My interpretation: Do things. It’s all good.
Mother Teresa said: I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
Mae West said: Love thy neighbor – and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.
My interpretation: Can I borrow a cup of sugar?
Mother Teresa said: If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Mae West said: One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.
My interpretation: Math gives me a headache.
Mother Teresa said: Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Mae West said: Any time you got nothing to do – and lots of time to do it – come on up.
My interpretation: Always use a condom.
Mother Teresa said: Good works are links that form a chain of love.
Mae West said: A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.
My interpretation: Apparently bondage can lead to salvation.
Mother Teresa said: God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.
Mae West said: Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
My interpretation: The Devil made me do it, but God gave me permission.
Mother Teresa said: One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mae West said: It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
My interpretation: Sometimes it’s okay to dress like a hoochie mama.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Perhaps you have one hero, or maybe you have several heroes. You may even live a hero-free existence. Either way, I think it’s dang near delicious to sandwich your true identity between the various attributes of whoever rocks your world, assuming that you can live with the consequences of your own ambitions – or better yet, find a way to justify them. I did.