My Dad got bit by so many owls over the years

I will admit I am on the gullible side. As a child when my dad came home with cuts from working as a heating and air conditioner repair person, I'd ask him how he got hurt. Inevitably he'd tell me an owl bit him or my mom did. I had never noticed any owls flying around in Florida, but it seemed plausible. (Side note--I am scared of birds. Maybe this is one of the reasons why.) I also never knew my mom to bite anyone, so that was a little harder to swallow, but I partly believed him. I have a love of reading about other cultures and when I stumbled upon Greg Mortenson's books, "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools"I fell in love with his fantastic stories. I recounted the tales in GM's books to whoever would listen. He inspired me. I believed all of it. Ends up it inspired and affected a whole heck of a lot of people. Last week 60 Minutes did a segment recounting some of the allegations that some of GM's stories were untrue. There are also allegations about financial misconduct. In the last week, others have come forward with further allegations.  For those of you not familiar with the books or his organization, Central Asia Institute, I'll briefly recount his story.

GM is an American who stated he had been taken in by a village in Pakistan and nursed to health after a failed  mountain climb of K2. (K2=ginormous mountain that some say is harder to climb than Mount Everest.) In his books, he stated he was appalled that this kind village didn't have a proper school so he promised he would find a way to give them one. His books go on to recount his attempts to build schools for children all over Pakistan. GM has raised millions of dollars for his cause. Ends up several of his stories may be untrue and his personal finances may be mixed up with the non-profit.

I have been reading some of the press about the possible misappropriation of funds and people's take on the situation. I have been especially taken with articles about people's tendency towards hero worship and how GM fulfilled this purpose for many people. I definitely have had my share of hero worship. I have the tendency to look up to authorities in my life too much. In school, I was usually the teacher's pet or doing my best to become one.  Over the years, I have had several doctors who I believed could do no wrong. I also find heros to worship in books. I love reading memoirs and book about people who made a strong change in others' lives or their own. So, I was prime for GM's book. I have never realized I had an issue with hero worship, but I'm starting to realize how it's been a pattern in my life.

I am starting to be able to see how emotionally vulnerable this makes me. I am not exactly sure how to explain it, but I use others to gauge how I am doing in my life. I use other people's stories to help inspire my own. In the last 4 years, having migraine attacks from 4-17 times a month, I read stories like GM's and other people and think "I can do this. I can get through this somehow despite all I keep losing as a consequence of chronic illness." So when some of my hero falls and becomes a human with faults, I feel scared and betrayed. I'm somehow putting emotional investment in their success. The articles about GM have reminded me how much power I am giving to others --even people who have no idea who I am. I find myself wondering if I can get better emotionally if not physically. I don't feel I measure up to the people I look up to thereby not having any confidence in my own abilities.  I'm realizing I'm not setting myself up for success. I'm not really sure what all this means, or if I'm making odd connections because I have a migraine today for the 17th time this month. I do think I need to stop idolizing others and maybe spend more time investing in my own self-worth.


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