Everyone has a story. And the story is always extraordinary. It is for this reason that I adore memoirs, simply because I love immersing myself in other people’s stories.
I read memoirs of ordinary people (whose stories make them extraordinary). I read memoirs of notable people from history. And yes, I read memoirs of present-day celebrities. A few years ago, I read Olivia Newton John’s memoir “Don’t Stop Believing”. It was filled with her trademark sunny spirit and perspectives on life, stories about her career and family, inspiring information about her work on behalf of cancer victims, animals, and the environment, as well as motivational advice about how to always face life with optimism and hope.
I also happened to read a memoir recently by the actress Busy Phillips who wrote:
“There are certain people who are what I call sparkly humans. These are people who have things just happen for them or to them because other people see them and seemingly inexplicably want to help them. Because they sparkle….from the inside out. Sparkly humans aren’t always entertainers, and they don’t always become famous. There are sparkly humans everywhere. “
Well, if there is such a thing as supersparkly, Olivia Newton John was it, except she was the one who helped so many people. Everything about her radiated like the brightest star in the sky: her voice, her face, her physical presence, and most importantly, her giving, graceful, and hopeful spirit.
People may wonder why tears are shed for someone we don’t even know. But Olivia’s radiance was so bright, that it permeated the collective spirits of so many around the world – particularly those little girls who not only emulated her in the blockbuster movie “Grease”, but who sang their hearts out into the mirrors of their childhood bedrooms – finding themselves and their own voices and spirits by channeling their inner Olivia. It made them fell, well, supersparkly.
So you see that losing this extraordinary human is also like losing a little piece of ourselves – because that time so long ago when feeling supersparkly was more easily accessed….childhood, when life was seemingly less fragile. As time goes by and age sets in, it’s not as easy to feel so carefree. But looking at the way this human carried her life? Grace, poise, dignity, warmth, compassion, optimism, authenticity, and a reverence for life through her work on behalf of animals, the environment, and cancer research makes it that much easier.
So look in that mirror tonight, sing your heart out and channel your inner Olivia. Your tears might dry and sparkle instead. You might find out that somewhere inside of you is that extraordinary story waiting to be told. You might also find out that while being a bonafide superstar like Olivia may not be possible, being something much more important is: a supersparkly human being. So don’t ever stop believing in yourself, in others, and in life.
Thank you to Olivia Newton John for the music, the hope, and the magic – and for always making me feel super sparkly. May your star continue to illuminate the sky for all of us to emulate – with and without the mirror – for generations to come.
Hopelessly Devoted to You,