Ze Frank, Kony 2012 and Don Quixote

When I was a little girl, my bed was tall enough for me to sit under. My sister and I had gotten on our own rooms for the first time in our lives. Our dad had cut in half the bunk bed he had made for us to share. Kerry got the bottom half, and I got the top half. It was my space, under my bed. I had pillows, a lamp and a record player. I read, dreamed and listened to music.

It was under my bed that I discovered Man of la Mancha. I was so swept away by Don Quixote, Sancho and Dulcinea that I had the words of the story album memorized. To this day, I can still recite most of it from memory. It has been strong in my mind this morning.

In the past few months, I have found myself drawn to people in positions of anguish who are failing to fall prostrate to their despair…choosing instead to not only create hope in the midst of pain, but to share it publicly. I am inspired by the vulnerability in it. I am inspired by the strength in it. I am drawn to the humanity and imperfection of them. Through their bravery, I see the path to my own courage light up before me…and I push forward.

In every instance, however, I find encounters with another character in Man of la Mancha, the Great Enchanter. For those unfamiliar with the story, the Great Enchanter defeats Don Quixote in battle by presenting him with his own reflection in a circle of mirrors. Don Quixote’s faith in his mission is overcome by the “reality” of his circumstances and limitations. He falls, never to return to the field.

Cynicism is a tempting version of reality. The reality of our fallible humanity is a truth that is hard to argue with. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We break down. We do stupid things. And, as the windows into each other’s worlds increase as our online lives become increasingly visible, becoming the ‘voice of reason” amidst a groundswell of enthusiasm over anything is an addictive position to take. It arms up against the possibility of dashed hopes. It puts us into a position of “see? I told you so.” In the instance that someone’s imperfection shows. We did not fall for it.

The Joseph Kony 2012 campaign drew criticism from the moment it was launched, and then the criticism grew sharper and more pointed after the man who made the video had a very public breakdown as a result of the public scrutiny.

Ze Frank became an online sensation six years ago with his quirky breakthrough video blog. You can see the fear in his latest video as he screws up the courage to launch his next endeavor. He seems to be braced for impact. And, unfortunately, he is likely to get it as people will come out of the woodwork to offer up their commentary, good and bad.

The world is rotten and god doesn’t even know we’re living on it.
Aldonza
Man of la Mancha

I have loved this quote for most of my life and repeated it often. Cynicism has been my “go-to” forever. I wanted to be at the front of the “I-saw-right-through-it” queue. But I find that this kind of thinking has left me wanting. I want to be inspired. I want to hope. I want to believe. I want to find people’s bravery inspiring, especially if they are imperfectly human, like me. It gives me hope that all of us crazy, hot-headed, weepy, impractical, baggage-carrying misfits can do something beautiful. That maybe all our efforts will meld together, in ways we cannot even anticipate, to bring our broken culture into something beyond our ability to imagine alone.

So, to everyone out there who is thinking of putting yourself on the line and bringing your imperfection out for the rest of us to see – remember that what you see in the enchanter’s mirrors is only a very shallow aspect of reality, and that there are always going to be those who can’t see past that. Please don’t let that stop you.

To those of you who feel a little fire kindle whenever you see, hear or read something brave and human…comment, share, follow. Be bold in your hope. Set yourself up to be ridiculed for being naïve or misled. Don’t be afraid to be inspired.

And, to all of you, from a little girl, under her bed with a record player…

xo,
Kimberley

And it begins…

When do you stop doing what you should do and start doing what scares the hell out of you? For me, it’s Monday.

I have always felt called to be a writer. But there was always too much work…too much family activity…too many excused why I can’t do it yet. But, as we all know, there is always time enough to do the things you make time for. It was always just easier to explain why I couldn’t instead of figure out when and how.

Tina and I have decided that I will not go back to work for now. For now, my work will be writing. We shall see in a few months what it comes to.

I appreciate every word I get from you on this journey. You can follow me here:

www.kimcambron.com

or on Twitter at kimcambron.

I am ignoring the panicky feeling in my stomach as I post this for everyone to see, and posting it anyway.

Xo,

Kim

Possible, Not Probable

Almost a year ago, Tina and I had just returned from our latest trip to the desert. I was preparing mentally for surgery and the weeks following when I would be on “bed rest.” It was a strange time for us, to be sure. And into the mix came Mondo Beyondo.

Mondo Beyondo is an online course in dreaming big. Over five weeks, Jen Lemen and Andrea Scher walked us, and 300 others, through the process of reawakening the parts of us that imagine amazing lives full of adventure and rewards. For five weeks, we focused on what is possible, as opposed to what is probable.

Something shifted for me during that class and the past year has been a wild ride. At least internally.

It never occurred to me to go through this exercise with the kids for some reason until Jen suggested it to us recently. She gave us the process and we sat down with our kids this past weekend and had them make their own list of the possible, not probable.

Here they are making their lists.

The results were stunning.

I promised them I would not share them with anyone without asking, but trust me…they have some really cool stuff on them. I shared some of my list with them too. So did Tina.

Our conversations have changed as a result. I am regularly finding myself in discussions with them now about cool things they want to do. And not things like “Go to Disney World” (which was noticeably absent from all three lists). More adventurous things like travel to exotic and remote locales and adrenaline rush type of physical activities. I am finding out more about them every day. And man, they are cool.

I am hoping all their Mondo Beyondo dreams come true. In any case, we are dreaming into our future together. And it feels better that way.

Xo,

Kimberley

P.S. If you have not taken Mondo Beyondo already, get on it. For 99 bucks you can find out for yourself what big dreams are lurking in your heart.

Dreaming as a Family

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past year. Its funny how I clear I am about how long I have been thinking about that actually. It is tempting to say I have been thinking about this my whole life…but I know now that I haven’t. I have been so focused on what I want within what I think are my limitations that I have somehow lost my ability to dream big. I don’t even know when I stopped dreaming really big, but I do know it was before high school. I was pretty “realistic” about my dreaming by that time. The messaging in our culture is so focused on plugging away and then retiring that we don’t even realize that this dream does not really fit all of us. We have invested ourselves in pursuit of watered-down version of a dream older than our Grandparents. Or at least from a time when “plugging away” and then retiring meant security, or some semblance of it.

There is something freeing about letting go of the myth of security. Letting go of the thinking that, if we plan well enough, invest well enough and save well enough…we will be safe. There are still people now who are retiring comfortably, but there are more stories every day of people who had that in their plans and are not able to retire…at least not comfortably, whatever that means.

Lifting my head from this myth has made me realize that “safe” was never really all that inspiring to me. There is no adventure in that. And, as I look at my safe-seeking kids, I realize that I have been modeling, by example, that comfort is more important than adventure or taking risks.

Erica Jong famously said, “And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” I believe this in my heart. But I have not been living it as much as I would like.

I am glad my kids want to be safe, it is somehow in their nature. But I want them to know that they have access to more, should they want it. I want them to, at least occasionally, want something so passionately that they are willing to close their eyes and take that leap into the unknown. I don’t want them to think that their dream is safety.

Stay tuned…

Xo,

Kimberley

Tony Curtis

When I was a little girl, I was OBSESSED with old movies. Well, the comedies anyway. I saw them all. I loved Betty Hutton, Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby…I loved them all…even Danny Kaye. Tony Curtis was on my list. He was cute and was silly enough to wear a dress in Some Like it Hot. And my young mind was unencumbered by all the faults of alcoholism and drug abuse and whatever. Those were invisible to me. He was just fun.

I went to France to go to school for a year when I was 17. I was trying so hard to be cool, but everything was new and I was not cool. Probably not for a single moment while I was over there. I learned a lot about myself…but one of the big things I began to become aware of while I was there was that I was closer to the fumbling around slapstick style glamour of those old movies I loved than the sophisticated bored glamour of the film and music stars of my day. I have totally settled into that now, but I was just figuring it out then and it was slow going.

I dragged two of my friends with me to the Cannes film festival that year. Somehow I was expecting the streets to be absolutely littered with movie stars. I had seen the pictures in the gossip magazines. We would see them in cafes and on the beach and walking down the street. Strangely, we saw almost no one. Almost.

On a side street we took to cut through to the main drag I spotted Tony Curtis walking down the street. It was just us and him. The rest of this tiny little back street was empty. Without thinking I yelled out “Mr. Curtis!” My heart was racing a mile a minute. He certainly looked a lot older than I remembered…but he still carried himself like a movie star and it was unmistakably him. I wanted to tell him how much his movies had meant to me as a kid. I wanted to tell him how cool I thought it was that it seemed like he did not take himself too seriously. I wanted to tell him that of all the movie stars I could have stumbled upon in Cannes that year, this unexpected meeting was far and away the most exciting one that could have occurred for me and that I could return to my dorm completely satisfied that I had met him. He turned toward the sound of my voice and I panicked. I jumped into a doorway and he did not see me.

I don’t tend to regret a lot about my life. What has happened has brought me to where I am and I rather like where I am. But I do regret that moment. I have no idea why I panicked. I am not typically afraid of approaching people. I have actually met and talked to some serious movie stars since then and it was not that big of a deal. But this was Tony Curtis. He was a little unreal to me. I just could not hold it together.

Tony Curtis died yesterday. And, of the many deaths of people I have grown up watching, this one hits me just a little bit harder than most.

That was me on the back street in Cannes, Mr. Curtis. I just wanted to say thank you.

Kimberley

Morgan in Trouble

We are goin all Dog Whisperer around here.

A little over a week ago, Morgan attacked a smaller dog that surprised her (and me)in our driveway. Morgan was on a retractible lead, so was the chihuahua she jumped at. It was pretty scary, and the little dog escaped with the toothmark in the chest and a scraped belly. I gave the woman my card and let her know we would gladly pay for the vet bills. I was profusely apologetic. And felt sick that night trying to figure out what to do.

The apartment complex calls the next day (we are temporarily in an apartment until the end of the school year) and tells us we need to get rid of the vicious German Sheppard and that we are in violation of the lease. For those of you who do not know Morgan:

Come on. A German Sheppard? And I received a tight little email from her with the doctor bill. She is being nasty.

I am having a hard time with this. I was not the least bit resistant to giving her all the information she needed to get in touch with me. I immediately offered to pay the medical expenses. I genuinely had great concern for this dog and had already put things in motion to get Morgan into some kind of training program (this is the first time she has done anything like this). And Morgan mostly scared the dog. There was not even any blood. But now I am thinking I need to get a lawyer or something to make sure I am not signing on for a lifetime of this stuff with this woman. If I send a check, is that me accepting full accountability, even though her dog was relatively loose on a retractible lead right next to my car? If the dog develops some kind of sickness later, is this license to come back to me and blame this incident?

The horrible thing to me is that her actions have made me feel much less concerned about her and her dog and made me defensive about ours. Running to the leasing office to tell them we had a vicious sheppard living with us (her words)? Refusing to accept even the slightest bit of accountability for letting her dog run right up to our car? Sending me an ugly note with the bill? It has suddenly become a matter of trust with me. And I do not trust her.

I want to write her a note to tell her all of this. I want her to know that there are consequences to behaving the way she does and what could have been a very simple transaction is now more complex. I want to let her know that I am struggling to feel any compassion for her, given that she clearly has none for anyone else involved here.

I am still glad the chihuahua is fine. Too bad about her owner.

xo