Billions of ways to be

Some people live highly interesting lives. I guess, in some way, that can be said about all of us. Maybe. Well, okay. Not really. Some people are simply more fascinating than others. As an example. This morning, I was reading about a woman named Edith Piaf. I won’t write in length about her. Although, her life was filled with circumstances and events, that most of us don’t go through. Or would never dream of.

She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion, on this day, in 1915. Right there, on the pavement, on the streets of Paris, France. And her mother gave her away, at birth. It wasn’t a cozy give away. It was more like, “I don’t want a kid, so I’m going to leave it here on the sidewalk.” So Edith’s father (who was a street performer nicknamed Madman), took her to his Mom’s house. But here is the thing. His mom’s “house” happened to be a sordid brothel in Paris. Yes. Grandma was a Madam. And the prostitutes working there, raised her. One in particular, named Gaby. This same hooker, Gaby, also had sex with Edith’s dad. And that resulted in a half-sister to Edith.

It goes crazily along. Edith, was raised with the notion that once a man showed interest in a woman, she had to give in to his every sexual whim. This mindset was a result of being reared by ten prostitutes. This would also lend to her promiscuous lifestyle later in life. But. Back to her childhood. From the age of three to seven, Piaf was allegedly blind as a result of keratitis. (That is an inflammation of the cornea. I had to look it up. It can be caused by a lot of different things, but “dirty” eyes are one of them.)

So here she is, a blind kid, growing up in a house of hookers. And, one of those prostitutes must have been a good Catholic there in Paris, France. She convinced the rest of the “gals” to pool their money. And they took little Edith on a pilgrimage honoring Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. During the visit, Piaf regained her sight, and they claimed this was the result of a miraculous healing. Saint Therese, and all.

Now, just stop for a moment and look at her life. She’s not even eight-years-old yet. And her story is jammed-packed with incredible details. I haven’t gotten to the part where she comes back from being supernaturally-healed and then joins her acrobatic father on the streets of Paris as a performer. Where she sang.

And she sang so well. It served her. She would grow up to find her career as a French vocalist, songwriter, cabaret performer, and film actress. She is now (to this day) noted as France’s National Chanteuse and one of the country’s most widely known international stars. But even in that, the rest of her life was tragic. She drank uncontrollably. She did lots of morphine. This because she kept crashing her cars, as a result of drinking, and getting very injured. Not only that. The love of her life, a famous boxer, was killed in a plane crash. Edith had one daughter out of wedlock, who she did not want, and that daughter died after two years. The details keep rolling. And here I am writing about her. I’ll stop.

But my point, at the beginning was about people and their riveting lives.

I am boring Polly. The biggest thing that happened to me before I was eight years old, was that I discovered if you put both ketchup and mustard on a corndog, it is twice-as-deliciuos-good. The revelation was earth-shattering for me.

But here I am. Standing shoulder to shoulder with seven billion other people on this planet. All of us. And that is not counting the ones who have gone before us. Counting all the dead people up until now, that means there have been about 108 billion who have lived on earth.

Call us all snowflakes. Because no two are alike. Nope. Not another person in creation like you or me. Unique, with a capital YOU.

And the thing is, I believe, I think. We’ve all come here to do something. Something unique. No one else has what we have to offer. There is something, somewhere along the way, that we give, or share, or do. Or be.

Who knows what that thing is. But it is yours to do. It is our offering to humanity. And each day, I think, we advance ourselves in our kindness and awareness. In good hopes that our actions reach their good places.

And in my case, boring is perfectly okay.

“All stories are true. But some of them never happened.”
― James A. Owen, The Search for the Red Dragon

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”
― George Carlin