I was away on vacation the night of the Academy Awards earlier this month, so I’m just now getting around to watching the broadcast that I PVR-ed. I don’t care much about the awards themselves, but I like listening to the acceptance speeches.
Allison Janney had the one that made me laugh the most. Upon winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, she held the golden statue and said, “I did it all by myself.” The sly smile that followed that statement acknowledged that she was joking, but it was still funny.
Isn’t it great to witness such a rare moment of honesty? Within her comical remark she said what no one else ever does: “I worked hard for this, so while many people supported me through the hard times, ultimately I made a choice to get up every single day and put in the work.”
There’s a balance between acknowledging the help of others and admitting that no one pushes you better than you. No one made her go to for audition after audition, and endure rejection after rejection. I’m sure no one said, “Oh, Allison, you’re going to win an Oscar one day, and you’re going to look amazing on the stage in a beautiful red gown, and all those hurtful reviews will be worth it.” It took a good balance of personal strength and perseverance, in concert with outside support, to get to where she was that night.
Whenever I hear award winners thank the key supporters and influencers in their lives, I always think, what if everyone got to write an acceptance speech to the people who have contributed to their life success? What would it sound like? Mine would have to be broken up into phases.
For my childhood, I would like to thank my teachers, especially in the River Bourgeois School, for helping me believe I was smart. There has been no greater gift to me than that confidence, and it has endured throughout my adult life. A special thanks to Leona Campbell and Lynn Wambolt.
For my young adulthood, I should probably have an entire separate speech to acknowledge everyone who deserves thanks, but since there isn’t time I will start by thanking my friends; thank you not only for making sure I always got home in one piece, but for being terrible influences and giving me so many memories to laugh about in my 30s. I also have to thank Debbie Martell for reminding me, regularly, using examples, about the difference between responsible behaviour and complete idiocy. Lastly, I should thank Boys II Men and Take That for being the soundtracks for multiple bad days, hormone influxes, and assorted heartbreaks.
For being there in my 20s, thank you to TSN, Lightning McQueen, Tony Hawk, and the Backyardigans. You transfixed my children so this young mom could make breakfast and clean up, and even occasionally sit down for a bit. Big shout out to Loonette the Clown from Treehouse TV, who gave me permission to accept the dust bunnies under my couch without suffering from as much guilt from the Mommy Blogs.
Success and happiness in my 30s is due almost entirely to my husband. He won’t like me fawning all over him, so I’ll leave it at that. I do, however, have to quickly thank the people who gave me jobs despite my time being out of the workforce to raise a family; I am grateful for your leap of faith.
They’ve already cued the music, so I have to finish quickly. There are too many people to thank, but I would be remiss not to mention the one constant through every stage of my life, and that is Grandma and Grandpa. Although they are no longer here, they, individually and together, can take credit for more of my successes than any other person or thing in my life. They were the kindness, grace, generosity, and selflessness that every human being should aspire to. I shudder to think where I’d be today if not for their constant presence.
I’m not much of an actor and I’ll never have to accept awards for singing or being on Broadway, so I’m glad I got that out while I had the chance.