Thursday, February 17, 2011


My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars

"There's nothin wrong with lovin who you are"
She said, "Cause He made you perfect, Babe"

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way

Don't be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you're broke or evergreen
You're black, white, beige, chola descent
You're Lebanese, you're Orient
Whether life's disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
'Cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or Orient made
I'm on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

I was born this way hey!
I was born this way hey!
I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way hey!

--Partial lyrics from "Born This Way," written by Lady Gaga


Some years ago, when Chris and I lived on West 7th in Vancouver, I worked out at the Fitness World facility located at City Square, several blocks up Ash Street on West 12th.   

I remember on Sunday mornings, I used to see a young fellow working out with weights.  There we were, surrounded by men in their twenties, thirties, and older, many of their bodies already big, buff, and intimidating as hell.  But this young fellow, short and skinny, who couldn't have been more than fourteen or fifteen, worked out amongst them, not the least bit insecure or uncomfortable.  

In all the years I was a member at Fitness World facilities in Vancouver and Victoria, never once did I see another kid his age work out with weights.  Not one.  

At the time, I remember shaking my head.  While I struggled to get through my own routine, distracted by this young man, I found myself asking the question, what would it have taken for me to walk into a fitness facility at his age and to work out like he was?  And the only answer I could come up with was...a strong sense of self.

I guessed his parents had instilled in him from an early age the knowledge of his self-worth. As I saw it then, knowing his self-worth had given him the confidence not only to realize he deserved to work out--in order to improve his strength, health, and appearance--but also to have the courage to be in a place where no one else his age would be; where the rest of the club members were older, more physically fit, and potentially intimidating; and where he might be stared at and feel uncomfortable.

Superstars.  How many of us were told we were superstars growing up?  How many of us were told we were perfect just the way we were because God doesn't make mistakes?  How many of us were told to love ourselves just because we were born the way we were?

Seeing the young man at Fitness World, and comparing him to me at his age, showed me just how much bigger the world of possibilities is for anyone who's validated at a young age, who's given a sense of himself, of his individuality, and of his self-worth, by nurturing and loving parents.

If you're an adult now, can't recall your parents ever telling you they loved you, and feel you're unlovable (as I did), you have the power to turn that around today.  You can do it.  Only you can do it.          


  1. Great lyrics... this should be the theme song for your blog's new direction! Perhaps the young guy you saw in the gym realized that we are all works in progress. He wasn't intimidated by those around him, rather he was inspired! Personally, I have always been intimidated by gyms, perhaps due to their conventional ultra-macho image. But these days all kinds of people use the weights, just as part of being healthy. Different is beautiful, and we should love ourselves just the way we are, while working to stay active and have fun! Everyone looks great when they're having fun.

  2. NIcely done, Doug. Thank you for your comment.

    In addition to what I wrote about the young guy, I think what I saw was a maturity beyond his years. He was one impressive young man to watch, so self-assured, like he belonged there--which, of course, he did.

    I appreciate the observation you made about gyms being different today from the past. True enough, many types of people frequent them today, looking to be healthy, not necessarily buff. That's a good thing.

    And I love your last sentence. Fun is the operative word. Couldn't agree more.

    Thanks again for your ongoing interest in my blog, and for your support as well. You know I appreciate them.

  3. Please note: This comment is from elevencats, who attached it to the previous post but intended it to go here.

    Physical appearance and spiritual development has to go hand in hand. I have never been actively involved in team sports and working out with weights with other sweaty... And I have to be honest, I do not like this overly masculine environment with often arrogant alfa males. So sports has always been a periphery subject... until I discovered (i can remember a moment when my body just wanted to do something actively, like an inner beacon was lighten) running, swimming and dancing. Doing physical activities sets me free from thinking and somehow grows me to be a stronger individual. Gives me confidence, makes me look better and therefore feel like I am also lovable and sexy.

    I do not know how much my parents played a part in this discovery. But I can surely say that parents effect children just by living and growing there children as a hobby not as an responsibility.

  4. Thank you so much for your comment, elevencats.

    I love the connection you made between physical and spiritual development. I couldn't agree more. To be a complete manifestation of yourself, you need both.

    And I love how you say physical activity not only makes you grow stronger, but also makes you feel loveable and sexy. Absolutely. I wish everyone knew that. Feeling fully alive and healthy has a huge benefit on the mind and soul.

    I love your use of the word hobby. Seems strange in the context of talking about how parents should raise their children, but I understand what you mean. Great advice for would-be parents.

    Thank you for keeping in touch.