I have quite a few, actually, that I want to talk about.
My immediate thought went directly to the Critical Role cast, but it would take forever to talk about them individually because they are all so amazing and inspirational in so many different ways that have positively impacted me. But there were two that specifically stood out to me that I really wanted to address: Marisha Ray and Taliesin Jaffe.
When it comes to Marisha Ray, the more I learn about her the more respect I end up having. She's been through the wringer plenty of times and endured some horrendous things from online harassment to being taken advantage of from within the industry simply for being a woman who is into gaming and other geeky and nerdy interests. I've watched many videos where she talked about her experiences and she's been very open and upfront of the kind of mistreatment she's gotten over the years from various trolls and assholes of varying degrees, including even during the first campaign of Critical Role were some who hated her character, Keyleth, and ended up sending her loads of hate mail (something I never understood). During her Between The Sheets episode she goes into some personal territory and you come to really understand and respect her even more for the shit that she's been through, and how far she's come with her career and surrounding herself with the kind and loving people she's currently with. Essentially, what I find inspirational about Marisha, aside from her "take no shit" attitude which I want to incorporate into my personality, is how incredibly hardworking and dedicated she is to the projects she works on. She's just an incredible woman who radiates such positive and confident energy, who knows what she wants and goes after it and doesn't let go. She just continues to impress and amaze me.
And Taliesin Jaffe, there is a lot to say about this man. He has led an interesting life, which he talks about during his episode of Between The Sheets, but there's also so much more that he's revealed through little tidbits here and there over the years, and I'm betting there is a lot more we don't know. Such a mystery of a man who has definitely lived thousands of years who probably has certain knowledge and wisdom that we have yet to uncover. But either way, what I find inspirational about Taliesin is, much like Marisha, he also has that "fuck it" kind of attitude but he's also someone who embraces being weird and the weirdness of life. He has this chill, laidback personality is something I admire as well. Just watch any video of him discussing anything, from convention videos to interviews, you just get this calming sense of someone who has a lived a fascinating life and has tons of interesting stories and you just want to hang out with him. I also admire how open he is, too, as he's been open about his own personal struggles, especially with mental health, and has been an advocate about taking care of and being kind to yourself, as well as to others.
And lastly, the other person I find inspirational is Misha Collins.
You don't have to watch Supernatural to know about Misha's real life accomplishments. The show may have introduced me to him, but even after I stopped watching long ago I still kept up with what he was doing and the things he's achieved, not to mention the things he's gone through in his life. Misha has lived an interesting life, but one that has been filled with hardships, which he reveals in a recently released article where he talks about these particular struggles during his childhood. But despite this, Misha has grown to be this kind and compassionate human being who wants nothing more than to spread kindness into the world, and does whatever he can to achieve that. From his charities (Random Acts and You Are Not Alone) to political activism and getting involved with his community in any way he can, Misha is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve and believes in the goodness in people and just wants the world to be a better place for all. And much like with Taliesin, Misha is someone who embraces being weird and doesn't give a fuck about what others think about him. He has been known to be spontaneous and unconventional, he doesn't take things too seriously (unless when it's necessary) and has a unique sense of humor, but he's always someone who is heartfelt and cares so much.
Furthermore, there was something else that amplified my respect for him was how he called out the gratuitous misogynistic writing in Supernatural during a convention. He was unfortunately reprimanded by the network shortly thereafter, however even if he cannot talk about it you know that he still feels that same way and honestly? I deeply admire and respect him for that, because not many actors, especially male actors, have the guts to even do that, and I applaud him for being outspoken about those issues even if he knew he might get in trouble for it.
What I've come to realize that with these examples that I am drawn to individuals who exude a certain level of confidence and positivity that I aspire to have within myself, of having this unafraid approach to life that is about embracing the weirdness and going after what you want and not giving a fuck about what others think about you, while at the same time caring about other people and putting out the positive, optimistic energy you want to see in the world. I definitely draw inspiration from that, especially in recent years where I'm just in this "fuck it" mindset.