My friend Denise Jolly is one of my favoritest people. I haven’t gotten to see her in person in a few years and this saddens me, as she is one of the most loving, most sincere, most community-driven and supportive individuals I’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting. What I love about Denise is that her light, her being, makes me want to love her and to continue increasing my capacity to love others. One of the things that I can now add to the list of reasons why I love Denise Jolly is her courage.
Last month, Ms. Jolly set out to fall in love with herself. I’ll let her do the talking because it’s her project to talk about, and because she already has so eloquently over at The Body Is Not An Apology, a revolution of body empowerment started by the inimitable Sonya Renee, which was reposted and shared today at The Huffington Post. But to sum up, she spent 30 days taking pictures of her nearly naked self and posting them on the internet. As approximately 15 percent of the internet is comprised of nearly naked pictures, with the remaining 85 percent being fully naked pictures, this may not seem like a big deal. But when the world equates the naked body with sexuality and then provides a very narrow definition as to what sexiness means and thus what is desirable and thus what is beautiful, generally women who weigh 300 pounds do not fit into that definition. Hell, most women don’t feel like they fall into whatever imaginary definition of beauty the world thinks it believes in. But thankfully Ms. Jolly is what she is, amazing. And because Ms Jolly should love the amazingness that is herself at least as much as she loves the world around her, and she’s amazing enough to know this herself, she proceeded to strip down to various levels of undress, write the word “BEAUTIFUL” across parts of her body, and document this action, however not only in the privacy of her home but taking it into the outside world as well.
O the boldness, the bravery, the beauty that is Denise Jolly. But I’ll say no more on it. Go read of her journey for yourself.
Don Ritchie: Angel Of The Gap
Up until May of last year, when he tragically lost his battle with cancer at the age of 86, Australian Don Ritchie lived a modest, unassuming life, one which earned him the deserved nickname ‘Angel of the Gap’ having saved the lives of more than 160 people throughout his residency in eastern Sydney.
Having spent much of his young-adult life serving in the Royal Australian Navy, followed by a long career at a life insurance company, Don Ritchie lead something of a quiet, inelaborate existence. However, with his family home located just meters away from Australia’s most famous suicide point, known as The Gap, found within the sheer cliffs of Sydney harbour, Don was destined to become a saviour to many.
Having begun his selfless service back in 1964, Don would gaze out of his window, every morning, looking for anybody standing alone, too close to the cliff’s edge. Beginning with the simple phrase, "Can I help you in some way?" Don would approach those contemplating suicide, often inviting them inside for a cup of tea, or, if necessary, sometimes even physically dragging them back from the edge, with no regard for his own health or well-being. In doing so, Don offered them another chance to reconsider their potentially fatal decision, and he did so to great effect.
Seeing his bittersweet location as nothing less than a blessing, and never once considering moving house, Don once spoke to his friends about his life-saving habits, telling them, “I was a salesman for most of my life and [to the people whose deaths I prevented] - I sold them life.”
For more, visit The Smiling Anchor.
This day, this day, this day.