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    I've been trying to take my messy thoughts and turn them into a proper tribute for Mary Tyler Moore since the news broke that she was in very grave condition. But after many hours of starting, stopping, and trashing multiple drafts, I've come to realize something- I honestly don't know how to write a tribute for her.
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    I mean foolishly I thought it might be easier to do since I'd known she had been in ill health for awhile, but the truth is that trying to sum up what she meant to me is no easier than trying to sum up what Carrie Fisher meant to me. But is it really that shocking that I would struggle to find the proper words?
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    After all, much like Carrie, Mary Tyler Moore was one of my very first heroes I found in this world. Even twenty plus years later, I still remember the first time I ever watched the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and y'all? It. Was. Mind-Blowing. I mean for one of the first times in my life I was seeing a woman who was smart and funny and just all around amazing going out and living her life without worrying about having a boyfriend or a ring on her finger.
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    To young Kayla, that was what some might refer to as a life-changer. After all, if Mary Richards could be so awesome and go out and do all these cool things then why couldn't I? Even now, when faced with an important decision, I've been known to ask myself "W.W.M.D? (What Would Mary Do?)
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    But in addition to helping me discover my voice and independence, she- as both Laura Petrie and Mary Richards- also helped me learn to the importance of humor and how to embrace and use. Not to mention that those two characters and shows have always been my place of solace when the world's grown too dark and/or my own broken pieces too sharp to handle.
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    But of everything, I think the greatest things she gave/taught me came simply through the way she lived her life and loved the people and animals around her. So rather than writing a proper tribute, I'll just say thank you, not just for turning the world on with your smile but for also leaving a pretty beautiful and important mark behind on it. πŸ’”πŸ’›
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    β€œI knew at a very early age what I wanted to do. Some people refer to it as indulging in my instincts and artistic bent. I call it just showing off, which was what I did from about three years of age on,” she says. β€œMy grandfather once said, having watched me one entire afternoon, prancing and leaping and cavorting, β€˜This child will either end up on stage or in jail.’ Fortunately, I took the easy route.”