“Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.”
This day made me think of that quote, and no, I didn’t get it from the Bible, actually. I retrieved it from one of my all-time favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s one of those rare novels that actually compelled me to read it– twice! The first time around, I began reading it, quite reluctantly, for high school freshman summer reading. Before I knew it, I couldn’t put it down.
Now, I think this calls for a little backstory, or a context for this quote. Today, like any other day at UCF, I expected to blend in with the crowd. Usually, it’s either that, or stick out like a sore thumb. All things considered, I prefer the former, as I don’t like to be noticed exclusively for my use of a wheelchair.
After being dropped off by the bus, I made my way towards the Student Union. Let me tell you something about Wednesday mornings at UCF: they’re absolutely crazy. Wednesday is “Market Day,” when many clubs and organizations set up tables in the little plaza and accost unsuspecting students who linger in front of any given table for more than two seconds with a flyer, a sales pitch, and sometimes a Bible. (My honest explanation always is, “I already have one!”)
I could easily avoid the pandemonium by taking a more circuitous route to the bookstore, but I rather like the excitement of special events. It’s the day when I most feel like I am part of a university. Today, though, I averted my eyes as best as I could, and went straight to my friend Stephanie’s table, who works at one of UCF’s offices. She’s only a few years older than me, but it already seems to me that Stephanie knows everything. She’s what I would call a “social media expert.” If there is a social networking site or a career resource within a five-mile radius, this gal will find it!
To be honest, I tend to seek Stephanie out when I need a little encouragement, because she never fails in this department. Today, with a folder full of flyers neatly tucked in my backpack (untouched!), I felt particularly dubious as to whether I could carry out my “mission” in promoting the blog.
Stephanie told me, “Girl, you need to be here!” referring to getting me a table for Market Day. I said, “I’ve been posting on a couple of bulletin boards, but I don’t know if I need permission or not. I don’t want to get in trouble.” Stephanie looked me square in the eye and said, “Remember, Laurita: it’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.” I thought about it, told her she was right, and left a few minutes later to go to the library.
The day went by pretty quickly, and soon, class was over. As I stood outside my classroom, with my creative writing professor about to leave, I took heart at Stephanie’s sound advice, and approached her with a flyer. I explained my “mission,” and she even gave me some ideas. Very approachable, a cinch. Then I approached a small group of people who were standing around, talking about the class. A group of– my peers. Oh, Dear God. I’ve never been good at this. “Adults,” (meaning, people older than me) I can handle. Twenty-something-year-olds? Panic attack! Still, I rolled right up to them, immersed myself in their conversation, and made my pitch. Thankfully, they took the bait. (Although, since I’m not trying to “sell” something, or hoodwink them, it seems wrong to call it “bait.”)
I left the building feeling triumphant, my confidence restored.
As I waited inside another building for the bus to arrive (it was cold outside!), I started studying my surroundings. It was already five, and the building was nearly empty. My eyes began to focus on some small bulletin boards that were placed beside each classroom door. Some of them said, “For use by [classroom number] only.” Suddenly, I found a blank bulletin board. I hesitated. What if someone saw me, and told me I couldn’t post my flyer there? I quickly scanned the perimeter. Nope, no patrol here. Just fellow students. Still, I hesitated. Then, once again, Stephanie’s words popped into my head. “It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.” Certain of my decision, I now made my move.
I may not know until Monday if my flyer survived the rest of the week, or if it was torn down. But, at least, if no one saw it, it wasn’t because I wasn’t brave enough.
You’re wondering when I’m going to start talking about Julianne Moore, right? Well, here it is! The star of such films as “Laws of Attraction” and “Far From Heaven,” the talented Julianne has recently retired somewhat from the spotlight. A wife and mother of two, she only chooses roles in movies that film in the summer, so that her family can travel with her.
In the public sector, Moore is a supporter of the AmberWatch Foundation, which is “dedicated to the prevention of child abduction and molestation.” She is the Honorary Chair for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
Ms. Moore was also a recipient of the “Love Our Children USA ‘Mothers Who Make a Difference'” award last year.
Last May, Moore hosted the TSA’s 35th anniversary gala. So, it’s my hope that, with Julianne being a dedicated mother, and an avid supporter of children’s charities, she will see the true merits of lending her voice to the spina bifida cause.
Remember to check out www.cnn.com/impact for information on how you can help the people of Haiti in recovering from the earthquake disaster.
Please tune back in tomorrow. There’s a lot I need to catch up on, but I’ve also been making time to get the word out by E-mailing or contacting different entities. My prayer is that it will only be a matter of time before I can share some more exciting news with you.