Influence

Wow.  I’m exhausted.

Instagram stories, Facebook links, an online presence (@meg.in.the.mid), a day-job that actually pays the bills which involves tons of hours and work and brain capacity, two beloved kids, a committed and complicated relationship, a book I want to finish, ya’ know: life-in-general.

During all of this social media/website hullabaloo, I nearly forgot why I was here.  Why all of us are here: to “influence”.

Influencer.

Make of that what you will.

Aren’t we all here to influence?  To pass on our life lessons, our morals, our values, our mistakes, our hard times, in order to preserve our legacy and simultaneously inspire another younger generation?

Or maybe we shouldn’t influence at all.

Maybe we should allow each individual to grow into the person s/he was meant to become without us inserting ourselves into their own fragile identities.

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?  Am I really more Megan Alef Foster or am I really more @meg.in.the.mid?

I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  😉

When you think about how many people our lives can possibly intersect with, on any given day: in person–at school drop offs and pickups, through texts, emails, group chats, social media, the gas station, the grocery store, our nuclear families, our extended families…

Maybe we influence others.  Maybe they influence us.  It should be both, right?

Maybe, if we’re audacious enough, we allow ourselves the foolish boldness to think that we, yes we, have something that others desire.  So we succumb to that delusion that we have some “thing”: be it material (a new sweater!), or an intellect (I have this job because of this degree!), or a new resolution (I’m on this diet working out at this place!) that we may assert ourselves over other human beings.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my friends who do this stuff.  I love their sweaters, and their jobs, and their diets, and their workout venues.  I’m just trying to figure out more about myself.

Why do I “like” or “follow”?

What’s it all for?

I think it’s the same motivation behind people who work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving.  (I know I’ll get a lot of backlash on this one.)

It’s like we’re split in half: appearance versus reality.

We want to show and tell people that we worked at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving.  We run an inner narrative about what we did on that day for those people.

Now comes the hard part: is that the appearance or the reality?  Are they separate or interwoven?  Can those even be mutually exclusive anymore?

I dunno.

I also don’t know what the hell I’m influencing these days.

So I decided to start with what I do know:

  1. I’m a Glambassador.  They contacted me.  I like it.  It’s a win-win hobby.
  2. I’m an Amazon Influencer.  They contacted me.  It’s a lot of work.  I find myself doing more shopping than I used to just to find items to put on my website.  I have this “storefront” which feels more like a “Megan-front” which is no different from a facade. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? https://www.amazon.com/shop/meg.in.the.mid
  3. I’m a mother.
  4. I’m a teacher.
  5. I’m a writer.

I’m a writer. I’ve known this since I was eight and stole my dad’s typewriter to bring up to my bedroom to put on my desk to sleep at night with the inner knowledge that I was a writer.

Since I cut Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” out and restructured it–collage style with images from magazines–into a frame and hung it in my bedroom.  Since I found a carpet cleaner staring at my “work” and asking about its deconstruction/reconstruction, realizing that my “work” brought two insanely different people into the same conversation.

Since I first saw my name in print on a newspaper.

Since I first saw my name in print on a website.

Since I went mute at my mother’s eulogy and my sister embraced me at the podium and bespoke the words I couldn’t say because they were buried beneath my grief, underneath my pregnant belly.

Since I saw that other people read my words.  Our words.

Since I loved the words when they were the only thing that loved me back, I have loved the words.  And the words have loved me.

I’m a writer.

So if there’s any kind of “influence” that I may so glibly cast upon the world with such egotism and hubris…it’s not the pillow on my couch, nor the wine that I drink, nor the tissues that I wipe tears from my face with.

My only influence, God-willing, is the words.

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