helps you tolerate life a little longer. Sorry don’t mean to be depressive – it just makes those shittier days a little bit more bearable if you have something or someone to inspire you. I am enjoying finishing my day reading Mo Mowlam’s autobiography just before I go to sleep. No matter how challenging, boring or annoying your day has been, it is strangely calming to read about one person’s battle to get the Northern Ireland peace process back on track while battling treatment for a brain tumour at the same time. Mo Mowlam seems to have a rare and unique ability to cope with the incredibly stressful demands of being secretary of state for NI, at a time when murders were occuring daily in the country by both sides. She also rose above the commentary of her apperance and rapid weight gain, a story that would have affected most women to the core and probably crippled their confidence in public. In addition, she still found time to keep her constituents happy, make sure all communities in NI were being heard and their needs addressed – as well as put on the odd concert or gathering for the community featuring the likes of U2 and Elton John.
I also enjoyed watching a documentary on the life of snooker player Ronnie O Sullivan, his struggle with addiction and his personal self-esteem and confidence issues. Yet he is perhaps the best snooker player in the world. Most of his career his father was in jail and his father told him that he liked it when he played the biog snooker championships because, for him, it was like Ronnie was visiting him in prison every time he played on national television. Ronnie found that pressure hard to handle, knowing his father was watching from his prison cell. Ronnie has no airs or graces – what you see is what you get and I like that about him. Its also refreshing to find someone else who is not afraid to retain their dialect or slang regardless of their audience. Someone else uses ‘quid’ and ‘earroles’ in their everyday language. I dont feel so common when a high profile character on TV is relaxed in the way he speaks. My Dad has a South London accent but when I catch him answering the phone at work I love hearing his ‘phone voice’ – he almost sounds camp. I often ring him up first thing in the morning before the office secretary has got in so I can listen to his phone voice.
I find myself adjusting the way I speak, particularly when speaking to work colleagues of a certain class and also my parents in law who are a little bit posh. I wish I could relax and just talk “how I wanna” but I am worried about the reaction if I do. Don’t get me wrong I am no Katie Price, but it would be nice not to have to consciously think about my langauge and tone all the time.
Those that are inspiring are those that have achieved something without having to adjust themselves in anyway – they have just had to apply themselves. They have achieved because of who they are not despite it. Mo Mowlam is a prime example of this. Perhaps the biggest respect for her comes from her decision to enter the notorious ‘Maze’ prison in NI when the peace talks hit crisis point and she had no option but to talk to the incarcerated paramilitaries – mass murderers. I remember at the time finding it hard to believe watching it on television, particularly the involvement of Sinn Fein, who, to many of us Brits were almost (not quite) on a par with the Taliban in terms of the level of brutality they showed towards their ‘enemies’. But Mo pulled it off – she knew it was the right thing to do but if it went wrong it would have been the end of her political career – but she was willing to take that gamble. This one act was pivotal in the peace process and she succeeded – what a great movie that would make.
Most of us have forgotten how bad it was in NI before the Good Friday agreement. No more random bomb explosions in the UK, no more news of daily killings between the protestants and catholics in NI. Mo really did help to achieve peace and over a decade later we have forgotten what it was like to be so near acts of terrorism – that is what peace feels like – you just forget. At least that is what it feels like from a British point of view – Belfast may be different but it is still an improvement.
Inspirational people provide a little bit of therapy because they are proof it is possible to defy the status quo and do something cool with your life.
I am blogging every day for Unicef – an inspiring charity that does a lot of good world-wide. If you can help with their fundraising, please visit this site.