Monday, December 29, 2014

Life Is with Taylor DuVall

I met Taylor Duvall in an English class. Being an English major, I've learned that a lot of aspiring writers are so into preserving their art and hoarding their creativity instead of sharing it, that sometimes they comes off as rude or pretentious.
This is definitely not Taylor. In fact, the definition above is probably the antonym of what Taylor is. She is one of those people you want to be friends with because she is so open and lovely and wonderful. She speaks her mind and still listens intently to others. She's got a great perspective on life, love, and adventures. The first time I read her Life Is answers, I was reminded why I began interviewing people for my blog. I was reminded that there are so many more beautiful people in the world than there are bad ones.
We've all got something to learn, something we need to really hear, and Taylor's responses have me listening.

Life is… interview questions

1. What do you think are the three most important parts of living a meaningful life?

Compassion – I have been through some very hard times in my life.  I’m certainly not alone in this!  Human beings across generations and nations are unified in the same experience: difficulty.  A meaningful life realizes this fact and shows compassion, extends grace, and offers a little extra love.  

Adventure – I don’t want to live a lifetime without actually experiencing all life has to offer: meeting new people, trying new things, going to new places, eating new food, loving fiercely and chasing wild dreams.  

Honesty – A meaningful life demands honesty in all things, of course.  But it also requires honesty with myself.  Who am I?  What do I like and dislike?  What makes me excited and what makes me uncomfortable? It’s important to live an authentic life by answering these questions honestly.

2. Who do you look up to?

My parents and Jesus of Nazareth.  Also, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Gilbert, and other feisty women doing what they love to do.

3. What are three non-essential things that get you through the day? Ex. chocolate, coffee,...

  1. Sugar – This may or may not belong on the list, because basically I see sugar as a daily essential.  Most people tell me it’s non-essential.  Agree to disagree.  
  2. Text Messaging – An introvert’s favorite way to communicate!
  3. Lip Crayons – Half lipstick/half liner – great for lazy people great for all the dark colors happening this season!

4. What does the world need more of?

Celebrations!  Celebrating each other, celebrating achievements, or celebrating just making it through another day.  From parties and dinners out to kitchen dance parties and sharing a bottle of wine. Life is hard, laughter is healing, and celebrations are fun.  

Glennon Doyle Melton wrote: “If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are…then we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated.”  I happen to agree.

5. What is your personal mission?

“Feel the fear. Do it anyway”

I used to live my life in complete fear of everything.  I think “Play It Safe” used to be my personal mission.  That or “Hide.”  But fear is a vicious leader.  When fear leads, you do not live – you only pretend to live. That being said, I don’t have to wait for the fear to go away completely before doing the things I want to do- like going back to college, going out on a blind date, or canceling a summer class in order to fly to Puerto Rico. These things all scared me, and these things ended up being some of my favorite, most cherished experiences this year.

It’s not that I’ve lost my fear.  We haven’t broken up.  I feel fear…a lot.  The difference is I’ve learned to do all the good things anyway. (Sidenote: sometimes I still fail miserably at this and allow fear to win out, but then I try to do better the next time).

6. Tell about a moment in your life that has shaped your belief system. A single moment that your heart holds onto forever.

There have been so many.  The first that comes to mind is reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller as a teenager and realizing for the first time that God was a lot bigger than the box I had put Him in.  I had thought until then that God was on the side of Republicans and heterosexuals.  That is true.  He is just also on the side of everyone else as well.  God is on the side of human beings. It was the first moment that opened my eyes to the fact that loving people is way more important than a set of overbearing moral codes.   

7. What is your favorite quote?

When it’s over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world
- Mary Oliver

8. Fill in the blank. Life is...

a story.  Full of varied chapters and plot twists.  Heroes and Villains and Sidekicks.  Comedy, drama, romance, and horror.  Page-turning suspense and some boring exposition.  All of these things combine into a chaotically beautiful story.  

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