Maria Shriver’s life is often summarized in fairy tale terms. A child of the Kennedy clan in the Camelot aura of the early 1960s. Daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics, and Sargent Shriver, who founded the Peace Corps. An esteemed broadcast journalist. First lady of California. She opened up with Krista Tippett during a conversation on her show, On Being, about having a personal history that is also public history — and the ordinariness that is her life and any life, however glamorous on the outside.
We experience the toughness for which the women in Maria Shriver’s family are legendary — but also the hard-won tenderness and wisdom with which she has come to raise her own voice.
She declares, “I’m not here trying to get a vote for my father or my brother or my uncle or my cousin. I’m not here campaigning for Arnold. I’m not here for NBC. I’m here for me. And it’s the first moment — I’m 62, and I’m like, OK, I deserve to stand on this stage. I got my “I” on.
So, I say that to people, so they don’t despair, that sometimes it takes a really long time to feel like you deserve to be on the stage; you deserve to be in the room; you have earned your “I.”
I think in my life, trying to stake one’s ground that you are a human being has really been a lifelong struggle, in a way, for me, because I think I’ve always been looked at as a part of a larger group, without a name but with just hair and teeth; and people were fascinated with those events and stuff like that, but never really with, “Wow, what was that like for you, as a person?” So, I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself, with myself, to find some peace with that, to heal myself with that, to work on my own identity separate from the larger. And so that’s a really complex, complicated subject and space, and one I think that I’m finally, at this age, able to not get mad when someone asks me about it.
I thought about calling my latest book I Am Maria because that’s really been a refrain for me throughout my whole life. People always coming up to me, going, “Which Kennedy are you?” And I would always respond, “I’m Maria.” They’d be like, “But which one are you?” I was like, “Well, I’m Maria.” They’re like, “Well, is your father this? Is your father that?” And I’d say, “No, my mother is.” And they’d be like, “Ugh. OK. Well, where is Caroline?” or “Where are Bobby’s kids?” And I’d be like, “Oh.” So, I grew up when “I am Maria” wasn’t sufficient. “I am Maria” wasn’t enough.”
And this is Tyra reaching out to YOU saying, shouting, wanting you to believe, to know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! YOU ARE SUFFICIENT! YOU ARE AMAZING! …JUST AS YOU ARE!Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.