Fight the Good Fight. Your Way.

Journalist, author, motivational speaker and world-record-holding marathon swimmer Diana Nyad made five attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida.

She first tried at age 28 in 1975.

She failed.

She made four subsequent attempts in August 1978, August 2011, September 2011, and August 2012. She finally succeeded in making the historic crossing “sans” shark cage in August 2013 at age 64.

“Find a way,” she says in the TED talk below. “You have a dream and you have obstacles in front of you, as we all do. None of us ever get through this life without heartache, without turmoil, and if you believe and you have faith and you can get knocked down and get back up again and you believe in perseverance as a great human quality, you find your way.”

I too am tenacious. Determined. Doggedly so. Perhaps stupidly so.

One thing is certain: once I’ve got my eyes on the prize I’m not likely to give up, and my stick-with-it-ness has helped me achieve cool things (like becoming a triathlete at age 50), and taken me places (from the Great Wall of China to the Arctic Circle) I never would have dreamed possible.

In my experience, the hardest decisions in life are those that force us to choose between giving up or trying harder, washing our hands or taking responsibility, doing the “right thing’ or doing the easy thing.

These are tough choices. At first glance, giving up, washing our hands and doing the easy thing may appear more attractive. Clearly these choices are less troublesome and burdensome. But they are invariably less satisfying, less honourable, and less enriching as well.

Even in adversarial situations when the prospects of failing far outweigh those of success, my pit-bullish unwillingness to surrender serves me well – albeit not always bloodlessly!

“There’s always a chance,” I remind myself.

There’s a chance – slim though it may be when you’re outnumbered, outgunned, and outsmarted – that you will emerge victorious. Sheer determination sometimes carries the day. Not often. But enough to make the struggle worthwhile.

This is truth, not some hallucination like those Nyad experiences during her long distance swims.

God knows I’ve lost many times. And I’ve been lost many times. But I’ve also won. And I’ve also  been found.

AWR better to lick woundsI learn from my failures (much more than from my successes); I get up, dust myself off, shed some tears, heal my hurts, and keep going. I’d rather lick my wounds and be battle-scarred than kiss ass and compromise my values.

I don’t hold any world records. I’m not internationally renowned like Diana Nyad. And I don’t have a big expert team to support me. Mostly I just have myself and a merry band of international misfits, rabblerousers and amazing women to cheer me on.

But like Nyad, I’m unwilling (maybe even unable) to give up.

According to Wikipedia, Nyad describes marathon swimming (in her 1978 autobiography) as a battle for survival against a brutal foe—the sea—and the only victory possible is to “touch the other shore.”

You don’t have to be a marathon swimmer or famous or special to be courageous in life. You don’t have to be shot at to be brave.

We all fight our own daily battles (big and small) against our own brutal foes. The only victory possible is to find a way–our own way–to persevere, prevail and live another day.

Fight the good fight. Whichever way is your way.

This is what a “fumerist” does…

Veteran comedian Kate Clinton describes herself as “a faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer,” and “fumerist” (feminist humourist). She’s a lesbian. She’s also witty and funny.

She celebrates her 66th birthday today (November 9, 2013). Continue reading

10 Cool Lists of 10 Cool Things to Love

PINK heart 10It’s no secret that, besides this soon-to-be-amazing personal blog, I also run an already amazing (she writes none-too-modestly) website not surprisingly called AmazingWomenRock.com, which has, over the last five years, become my own fabulously random work of multimedia performance art as well as an online oasis of inspiration for women and men who love women (she shares even more modestly).

(Phew! Shorter sentences please Susan.)

ANYWAY, just for fun it (and because I don’t have the time or inclination right now to pen, or more accurately to type, something deep and meaningful, and also there may soon be enough deep and meaningful shit on this blog for us all to wade through or drown in, in which case, bring wine please, or not, in which case, again, bring wine; in fact, bring wine in any and all cases: a case of it should do nicely), I thought this list of 10 Cool Lists of 10 Cool Things to Love, drawn from the pages of AmazingWomenRock.com, would, you know, tide us over for the moment, before the flood, the onslaught, the TSUNAMI of blog posts I may, just MAY, one day get a round to writing/typing, which reminds me, the next one will be about that very thing – getting around to it. Or at least that’s the plan. At the moment. Until it changes. (<= Sentences like this one are good. Ones like the first one, not so much.)

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, whaddaya’ think of these?

  1. 10 Affirmations to Kickstart Yourself (See “around to it” above)
  2. 10 Rules For Amazing & Brilliant Women (See AmazingWomenRock.com)
  3. 10 Obscure Facts About Orgasm (See below the belt)
  4. 10 Lessons to Learn From A Dog’s Life (File under love, love, love)
  5. 10 Things Teachers Make (by Taylor Mali) (Awesome slam)
  6. 10 Top Tips for Living in Love (Useful)
  7. 10 Gems From Making My Facial Into a Fellini Movie (See “Susan is quirky.” Okay, Susan is a case. See above.)
  8. 10 Rules To Live By Every Single Day (Break some rules, but not these ones…)
  9. 10 Life Lessons I Learned From Being a Biker (Guest blog post from a biker babe friend)
  10. 10 Ways To Be A Good Wife (in 1954) (Whoa!)

Th th th th th that’s all for now folks!

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10 Things I Loved About @TEDGlobal Day 1 via TED Live

Manal al-Sharif 2I love TED. I have since I watched my first TED talk about eight years ago.

And I’ve watched many, many, many others since.

I’ve even spoken myself, at TEDxAjman, on the subject of gender parity on world stages. Continue reading

29 Amazing Women @TEDGlobal 2013 Stage

Shereen El Feki 1Amazing and brilliant women are everywhere, including on TED and TEDx stages worldwide. There just aren’t enough of them on those stages.

At TEDGlobal 2013, in Edinburgh, 29 of the 85 speakers (about 36%) are women (see alphabetical by first name bios and links below).

Photo credit of Sonai Shah: Johnny Martyr

35mm Photojournalist

www.JohnnyMartyr.com

www.facebook.com/JohnnyMartyrPhotographer

Continue reading