Saturday, March 26, 2011

If I could lighten up

I gave a speech yesterday to a graduating class from a career training initiative at the shelter where I work. I wanted something fresh, lively, inspiring to read the class at the beginning of my talk.

I checked out quotes on the Internet, browsed through my documents, and came upon a piece, "If I could lighten up".

I read it and, just as happened the first time I read it, I smiled and thought, "Yes!" Like Eliza Doolittle, "She's got it!"

What's amazing and wonderful for me about this piece is, it was written by my eldest daughter, Alexis, two and a half years ago when she was 22. She posted it on her blog (a place she doesn't write in enough) and agreed to let me share it with others.

I share it with you today in the hopes, it will inspire you, as it did the group yesterday, to stand up and cheer and say, I wanna lighten up the world!

If I Could Lighten Up!
© Alexis McDonald

If I could lighten up a little I’d let myself sing as loudly as possible and I wouldn’t care if the neighbours heard.

If I could lighten up a little I’d jump on the bed. I would move to Paris and dye my hair a rich shade of red. I would take deeper breaths, stay up all night, and read poetry to strangers. I would dance. Naked. In front of a mirror. And I’d laugh at the way my flesh jiggles.

If I could lighten up a little I would take bubble baths, read more, and make decisions quickly without agonizing over the outcomes. I would breathe and forgive myself for making mistakes. I would cheer loudly at hockey games just for the hell of it. I would do cannonballs off the diving board. I’d paint with my feet and relish the goo sliding between my toes.

I would do more work and less procrastinating.

I would build sandcastles too close to the incoming tide. I would dress up in gowns and make fake Oscar speeches. I would sit inside grocery carts and have someone push me down the aisles. I would just get my license already.

I would hug people instead of shaking their hand, kiss everyone on both cheeks, and when I laughed it would be from the depths of my joy.

I would stop complaining about the weather and get dressed in the dark. I’d shake out my worries by shaking my soul.

If I could lighten up a little maybe I wouldn’t be so scared. Maybe I could shake the blues with a strawberry milkshake.

Maybe I would be able to take a breath without choking on my tears.

Maybe I’d get over all the things I can’t do, haven’t done, don’t want to do or haven’t done right.

Maybe I’d throw my hands up in the air and proclaim “How fascinating” before I had the chance to knock myself down.

Maybe I would be less selfish, more selfless. Less fake, more real.

Maybe I would surprise myself with how great I really am.

Maybe I’d take less and give more. Maybe I would have the courage to get closer to God. Maybe I would appreciate the moment and live from the heart.

If I could lighten up a little, maybe I would help to light up the world.

Alexis, you lighten up my world every day!


Maureen said...

Alexa's piece is wonderful. It reminds us to ask, what's holding me back? Go for it!

Josie said...

Wow! This is the most wonderful piece of writing I've read in a long time. It is so affirmative and uplifting. I'm going to print it out to remind me to lighten up, and I'm going to pass it on to my daughter and my sister and my friends! Bravo, Alexis, bravo!! And thank you so much for sharing it with us, Louise! Your book arrived today, I can't wait to start reading it! :))

Brandi said...

Awesome! What a proud mama bear you must be!!

Fiona said...

Her mothers daughter????
I love this, it's a reminder that we all need to lighten up a little.

Thanks for sharing

nance marie said...

let's do the lighten up

trisha said...

this is one of the very best posts i have ever read. i can guess alexis lights up every life that she touches just like her mom does.


Ann Brauer said...

What a wonderful post. Sometimes it is so hard not to be too serious. Thanks.

S. Etole said...

So glad you shared this ...

Linda said...

Well that was fun. I so enjoyed your daughter's poem.

I enjoy writing out my thoughts like that too.

I especially loved the thoughts of lightening up so we can light up the world a bit!

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Louise Gallagher said...

Hi Maureen -- it does, doesn't it? remind us to ask ourselves... what is it blocking me from living the life of my dreams!


Louise Gallagher said...

Oh Josie -- you are so kind. Alexis will be thrilled and to see you posted the link on your site -- thank you! What a gift!

Louise Gallagher said...

I am a proud mama bear Brandi -- and she is an amazing young woman! Thanks!

Louise Gallagher said...

She is my eldest daughter Fiona -- and an amazing writer. She has a beautiful, deep heart. Thank you so much for dropping by.

Louise Gallagher said...

nance marie -- all together we CAN lighten up the world.

Louise Gallagher said...

Trisha! Thanks for your comment, and your light! You lighten up my world.

Louise Gallagher said...

Ann, I have to remind myself to 'not take myself too seriously' all the time. Alexis piece reminds me of that -- which is a real gift!

Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks Susan.

Louise Gallagher said...

Hi Linda -- Thanks so much for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoyed her poem -- she's quite a remarkable young woman.

Sandra Heska King said...

Absolutely wonderful! I'm printing this out for re-reading. Over and over. Give Alexis a hug from me.

Kathleen Overby said...

I'd love to hold this girl close to my heart. Well done to both of you. :)