Of course, there are different kinds of role models in the world. Some of them are positive. They serve as an example of the things we should be doing. A friend who exercises and has a healthy diet is a great model for us to follow. But we also have negative role models all around us, friends who eat poorly, exercise rarely, and may suffer health problems as a result of their choices.
Bottom line: True role models are those who possess the qualities that we would like to have and those who have affected us in a way that makes us want to be better people.
These people make us want to advocate for ourselves and our goals and take leadership on the issues that we believe in. We often don't recognize our true role models until we have noticed our own personal growth and progress.
Listening to Kevin Smith and reading his books has helped me in a really big way when it comes to taking chances. Without Smith, self-publishing my work wouldn’t have even seemed like a possibility. Like Smith’s upbringing I feel like mine was very traditional. We weren’t church goers or very religious, but we were Puerto Rican. I bet any Puerto Rican child will vouch for this but growing up Puerto Rican IS practically a religion.
In many ways I was taught that my worth was always going to be based upon my marriage. People were going to judge me based on my husband’s job, how clean our house was, and how many children we had. I was taught everything I would need in life: cooking, cleaning, respecting men and taking care of my parents. And sometimes these lessons were more important than school.
Every writing college professor I had delivered the same message. Writing was a hobby, it wasn’t a job, it wasn’t going to lead to anything and I should aim for something better.
It always seemed to me that the American dream had requirements. White skin. Tiny waist line. Blues eyes and a bright smile.
So I’ll never forget when I heard him say it. “Always live a "Why not?" life.” That moment awakened something inside of me. It was true we were all gonna die at some point so why not? Nothing made me more or less deserving than the next guy. And at least when my time came I could look back and say I feel totally fulfilled. I took shots with my life. Chances with my dreams, and risk with my work. I did it. I went after everything I wanted to or at least I tried.
I know Kevin Smith is a hit or miss with a lot of people. Truth be told, I don’t really watch his movies myself. But that’s life you know, people have their hiccups about everything, always have and probably always will. But Kevin Smith is my hero and every time he talks about what drives him to create or what he's experienced I get the goosebumps and the butterflies.
He was right! People are always going to asking you "why?" For the fifteen years that I've been writing I've always heard "you shouldn't do it," "there no money in it," "being a fan fiction writer means nothing," "You're horrible at it."
I've written and published two books so far and I'm working on book number three. I'm not rich or what society may call successful, but I wanted something badly enough and I went for it. It's my shot, and Kevin Smith is the one who really got through to me.
He made me see the “why not?” way of life.