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Thursday, March 24, 2011

What her passing reminded me about living...

I’ve always admired Elizabeth Taylor, like many others I found her absolutely stunning and also an inspirational humanitarian.  Growing up, I had heard of Ms Taylor but in the sense of tabloid stories and her movies.  In 2005, I was properly introduced to her charity work and her pioneer spirit for dealing with AIDS research.  One of my best friends at the time, Lady J, loved Ms Taylor and respected her whole-heartedly.  Both women, Ms Taylor and Lady J, were strong examples of independent women who lived passionately.

Ms Taylor is a strong role-model for women everywhere.  No one told her who she could and could not love, she went bravely into relationships full steam ahead.  She turned a deaf ear to society’s attempt to restrict her affections to one or two husbands.  Yes in today’s time multiple spouses are becoming the norm but when she brazenly divorced her first husband – it was unheard of at that time!  This was also true in her friendships, when the world turned against Michael Jackson she stood boldly beside him as his friends, come hell and high water. 

I have truly be inspired by Ms Taylor’s refusal to turn her back on those that needed her, she forged ahead with AIDS and HIV research when others in Hollywood would turn the other cheek.  She was met with extreme negativity, even aggression, yet she didn’t surrender her cause. 

"Dame Elizabeth was without doubt one of the most inspirational figures in the fight against AIDS," said a statement released Wednesday by the American Foundation for AIDS Research. "She was among the first to speak out on behalf of people living with HIV when others reacted with fear and often outright hostility. - CNN 

I want to be that zealous about the people and causes that mean the most to me!  I want to follow her example of courage and dedication, so that everyone knows where I stand and what means the most to me.   I pray for the strength to love openly, not only people but charities that truly touch my heart.  I hope that I am an unyielding friend who  will not turn my back on people when faced with trials and tribulations. 

The biggest way that Ms Taylor has impacted me may sound a little vain, but she always looked fabulous.  She appeared confident, no matter what her health and abilities were at the time, she rocked it out – even in a wheelchair!  Lady J pointed out to me when I was newly diagnosed with my condition that even Ms Taylor needed mobility assistant, and she was so much “herself” that no one even noticed her adaptations!  That gave me the strength and guts to use a motorized scooter at the grocery store when I needed it or admit that I needed to hold onto the wall in moments of weakness while walking.  For that alone, I owe a great deal to Elizabeth Taylor for my inspiration, and my friend Lady J for the backbone to accept when I need a little extra help. 

When Lady J passed, in 2007, I didn’t think I could make it on my own.  I emulated her and Ms Taylor in my every day activities, calling on their examples when I needed to be brave and stay true to myself and my passions.   I miss her every day and as crazy as this may sound... When I heard that Elizabeth Taylor had passed, it felt like I lost Lady J all over again.  I am always thankful to both of these ladies for their strength, encouragement, and examples they both set that I hope will help me become a better friend and woman of independence. 



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