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for giving

"You have to use the gifts you're given to make others feel good. If you're beautiful, make others feel beautiful, if you're smart, make people feel in the know, if you're creative, teach others how to create."

This is Mom's wisdom. She tells me this driving home from Dad's concert. We have the windows down on 15-501 and the drive from Chapel Hill to Durham feels pretty tonight. Big, easy sky. My mom is driving, so I know I'm safe. Both of us are still elevated from the music we just heard. This is an unusual moment of calm between us in the disagreeable days of teenage angst. Mom says the thing about sharing your gifts because I'm having a hard time with some girls at school. They don't get me. They think I'm too friendly or too babyish or too stupid or too uninterested in boys or too much of a UNC fan - just too much of not enough all around.

Mom's talk about giving sticks with me. It's a ticklish suggestion, borderline annoying. I'm being yanked around by these shitheads at school and she tells me to give so that they can feel good. I want to feel better or at least like less of a loser. I eventually join the drama club and it works. I find my people by giving my gift.

Nineteen years later, I am repeating Mom's wisdom to my TV brother, Justin Chatwin, on set. We are talking about the best piece of advice we've ever received. I repeat my mom words, "You have to use the gifts you're given to make others feel good." What was true in adolescence remains true now. She taught me that every person's gift is worthy and singular; it's value awakened by it's offering.

How did Mom learn this herself? She didn't come from the generosity she embodies. She was raised by someone who is much too fearful to be generous; too arid to pour water on another seed. When I was fifteen she could have said, "those shitheads are right about you, Megan. You are too much of not enough all around. You aren't worth their time." But she didn't. She emboldened me to give the world, even the jerks, my gift.

Mom walks the walk. She gives. Everyday. It is how she heals the wounds in her child heart. It is how she waters the parched person in her family that she must love and forgive and love and forgive and love and forgive. For GIVING is how you find out who you are.

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