1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being with Mr. Wonderful, my friends or family.
2. What is your greatest fear?
Never making a difference in the world – particularly the lives of women and African children – and, correspondingly, never living up to my potential. I believe both require me to throw my full weight behind becoming a writer.
3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
This is a tough one. Politically – James Madison; professionally/socially – Abigail Adams (who was close to the political scene but wrote about it from the sidelines), Alice Paul (who fought for women’s suffrage) and Mr. Wonderful’s mother (who had a successful career but who gave back to her community as well).
4. Which living person do you most admire?
Leymah Gbowee, Nelson Mandela, Azar Nafisi.
5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Like Leslie Knope, I too can be a “steamroller.”
6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance, ignorance, selfishness, lack of empathy.
7. What is your greatest extravagance?
kate spade bags, an exorbitant amount of shoes, idealism.
8. On what occasion do you lie?
By omission – when to tell the truth would cause a fight or rift; by commission – when to tell the truth would unnecessarily injure another’s feelings.
9. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
What woman likes her stomach or thighs?
10. When and where were you happiest?
Outside New Orleans, the first time I saw and then held my baby brother (2003), and just a few days ago after seeing Cirque du Soleil with Mr. Wonderful.
11. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would listen more, talk less; I would be more confident and feel insecure less; and I would be much, much more laid-back
12. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I guess I would make them wholly tolerant and even-tempered individuals who give to others lavishly and with abandon.
13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being the first woman in my family to graduate from college; finishing my Master’s; being told by men whose intelligence I respect that I was a “superstar” in the Master’s program and am “extraordinarily talented.”
14. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A slug. I despise boredom and slow movement, and I suspect I’d have to learn the need for and value in both.
15. What is your most treasured possession?
My pictures and letters/cards I’ve received over the years from family and friends.
16. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being unloved and under-understood.
17. Who are your heroes in real life?
Gabrielle Giffords’ therapist, the women who fight globally against oppression, and anyone who fights to make individuals’ lives better or to change broken systems and, therefore, make a powerful difference. (The unsung heroes, as it were.)
18. What is it that you most dislike?
Selfishness, bigotry/blind hatred, violence, and
19. How would you like to die?
Rocking on my beach- or mountain-side porch alongside Mr. Wonderful at the ripe old age of 97.
20. What is your motto?
I have a few: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold Niebuhr); “Be gentle to all and stern with yourself” (St. Teresa of Avila); and, “To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that” (St. Teresa of Avila).
As I've thought long and hard about being authentic (post still to come!) and being at peace with it as of late, these questions hit me in a whole new way.
Reasons to be thankful during the last few days:
#197: Wonderful evening with Mr. Wonderful on Friday.
#198: I didn't get full-blown sick when I awoke feeling less than 100% on Friday.
#199: Christmas decorations!
#200: Sending a letter from Santa to my little brother.
#201: Reliving childhood memories this weekend while watching "Mrs. Doubtfire."
#202: Christmas music!
#203: Brunch with good friends yesterday.
#204: Any day you get to be around someone else's baby (!) is a good day...
#205: Fantastic dinner after church with fellow church members last night.
#206: Glowing review from my senior boss. (Especially grateful for this, having lost my job earlier this year...)
Please feel free to share your own stories.