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time to make the donuts

some events used to be arranged solely for the benefit of charitable foundations. to directly aid the people impacted by the generosity they brought about. famous types came because they knew they could bring awareness to lesser-known plights. do their part, however small it may be. to extend the joy they saw that was present in those seemingly least likely to embody it. smiles for miles was a real thing.

kids are most often seen as their source. but when you look past the presented obvious, the depth of the most visibly warm sentiments goes far deeper than that most superficial layer. people who devote their existence to the joyful survival of those stricken with a monster outside of their control determine the ultimate vibe of the activity that keeps the others afloat.

days spent in sunshine on carnival rides and donning face paint are orchestrated perhaps as much for all those who endeavor to make life a bit more do-able as for those they do it for. before they became seen as just another necessary evil to circumvent, bureaucratic hoops served best to waylay unnecessary attendance. so the events were as enjoyable as they could be. as they can be so effortlessly.

for a lot of people, learning is simply the exhibition of mimicked behavior. we all do it, but those with disabilities utilize that skill likely more than most. perhaps most deliberately, anyway. not inherently being able to make body parts move in certain ways leads some to take direction from elsewhere. and that’s something we all need to take responsibility for.

being talked at as a means of educating can be quite limiting. college students in lecture halls may be able to grasp concepts later when they re-read their notes, but in most real life moments, what is referred to as the highest form of flattery heartily earns its moniker. humans are social beings. and that doesn’t only mean discourse.

one of the first events i attended is by far the most memorable. the details of the day are scattered now, but the overriding thruline of creating happiness has never left me. later, it often was hidden beneath corporate requirements, and understandably seemed to be missing from my person more often than not. but a day spent guiding photographers around a charity event held outside cemented my vision of what los angeles life was about.

early in my p.r. career, a lot of activities notable charges attended were to raise funds for those who could not. before time restrictions overtook that charitable agenda, ways for them to give back were prerequisites to peak my interest. for us to talk candidly with clients about. most felt the same way, and weren’t present when that was absent.

a repeat of a higher-end sitcom lamented the hubbub of modern day bridal showers and noted how nothing as similarly celebratory or life-affirming exists for singles. and, looking back, those events felt similarly as they were hosted from an ablest perspective. but no one who attended them let anyone feel lesser than. regardless of their reason to be there.

people wanted to look good in the photos they took, but sincerely so the attendees could maintain happy memories of the day. photographers on site knew that instinctively and didn’t seek to take unflattering ones. they paused to move wet hair from faces gotten at water amusements. waited until hot dogs were finished. common courtesy was respected. kindness reigned.

that children seen to be physically off-kilter didn’t embarrass as easily as was generically anticipated led to a lot of unexpected laughter. candid shots of genuine delight were picked up more frequently than those of beautiful people posed to simply look like they felt it. and we all got to see what was really important.

people with disabilities tend to carry with them a trait that has since become known best as a defining characteristic of autism. and somehow it became limited to that. but emotions in us all, and the ability to express them, are often hindered. gotten in the way of by needs to acquiesce to what makes others most comfortable. generations of people-pleasers, as a culture, we automatically subverted our own need for feeling safe to appease those around us. it seems that only the most vacuous among us are ok with that now. thankfully.

the physical ramifications of the not-so-hidden game of hide-and-seek we play with our arising feelings are just now being seriously looked into. nothing appears to be as disconnected as we may have once wanted to believe. made ourselves think. expressions brimming with wonder may have at one time implied a simpleness that was judged to be lesser. but time has shown us how wrong we were to make that assumption. the thoughts lurking behind simplistic motions are often anything but. which usually infers, too, that the broader thought processing isn’t too far behind. if at all.

as my m.s. weakens my body, the attention on my brain function has become heightened for me. and that i blindly wore it out over the years like an uneducated-but-always-running marathon runner leads me to ponder all that i missed in those afflicted at a younger age. there is probably a lot we still collectively don’t see. and what is obscured by what we choose to focus on instead is endless.

to the credit of him and his patience, my person brainstormed with me recently about starting a foundation. while i could only get as far as the name, he steadfastly worked to help me devise ways to share all i’ve had to learn about this ailment. so i can give back in a way that makes a dent in someone’s world as has been done to mine.

it has happened most when i least expected it. the commonalities we share and don’t know about are astounding. fellow former athletes act as though my anguish is their own. caretakers by both trade and from just having a basic good nature treat me like a normal person rather than a defunct and broken wife like i used to be. a helpful friend pointed out in his own way that maybe i felt that way myself. and woefully, admittedly, while i’m thankfully now outgrowing it, i had once.

the pushback i still find myself fighting internally as i continue to mentally paralyze originally stemmed from the downward spiral of my own internal perspective. a selfish and myopic focus on my declining self. and while i’ve gained a lot of semantic understanding, my ability to verbally convey what is common sense to me now has sharply dropped off. the silence i muster under my cockeyed expressions brings about a confusion that i’ve not witnessed in years. and i can’t imagine i’m the only one.

the chaos wreaked upon those in my immediate surroundings shows me that i’m not. and while the word “foundation” carries with it to me a quandary of meaning, the benefits that can come from them outweigh any pejorative connotation i can think of.

a movie we watched recently was far from the flashy blockbusters that are more commonly promoted. the settings were nondescript. the actors felt familiar, but were not obviously known. the story was paramount. and it brought me immediately back to the smaller film festivals i used to get to go to for work. at the end, clips of smiles and laughter illuminated the purpose to all of it. and i viscerally remembered why i’m here. and want to remain a part of this squirrelly entertainment business.

looks can be deceiving. and while i no longer aim to use that to skirt the underlying realities, it doesn’t mean that they don’t any longer exist. stories like these, and mine, show us that setbacks can be transcended. foundations can provide settings for the gathering of the good we have. and all that we can make.

experience with choices made by my person have let me be part of the thoughtful world i saw that very first summer here. and one i only hope to foster for others. it’s all we’re here to do, i think. and we can all benefit from a good belly-laugh, anyway. so we may as well.


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