I have always been very competitive. Growing up with three dudes and a football coach will do that. Not to mention my mother was also my basketball coach. I ran a lot of laps. The point being that I have always associated success and fulfillment through being the best of me I have to give…and winning. It’s a great theory, but you can’t always win. Ask Ronda Rousey.
I’ve never understood doing something half assed. Let me rephrase. I understand it, but my brain wont allow it. Perhaps the one exception would be learning the piano. Once the left and right hands started doing their own thing, my mind imploded and I mentally checked out. My instructor handed my parents the check they had written saying she would feel guilty taking anymore of their money. Apparently watching me fail at something was worse than making $
I still hate that I didn’t perfect the piano. It’s not in my nature to fail or settle for mediocrity. That’s so typical and dull. I try to take pride in everything I do-even a solid parallel parking job. However, the simple fact is that you won’t come out victorious all the time. You’ll lose, you’ll be hurt, you won’t get your way, and you’ll be disappointed-in yourself and with others and vice versa. And you need to know it’s OKAY, but more importantly that you’re gonna be okay.
I almost drowned when I was 4. So at my first swim lesson, my father had to pry my hands from an iron fence and toss me in the pool against all the will I had collected in my 6 years of life. To everyone’s horror, he said “She’ll be fine” and left. (Sigh) I wish more parents would do that with their kids because guess what? I’m okay. In fact, I ended up joining the swim team. Although I’m slightly convinced it was my parents’ only way of getting me to shut up…literally.
I was awful…quite possibly the worst. My very first race was the longest sprint anyone had ever seen. I made a lot of love to that lane line in 50 yards. I obviously didn’t win but I finished. I swam my little heart out. To be honest, after that spectacle, I have no clue what on this planet convinced me that competitive swimming was for me. Maybe it was donut Friday or the smell of chlorine or me feeling really great in a 1-piece, but I stuck it out. I ended up being a fairly decent swimmer believe it or not.
What’s crazy to me is, I’m not sure my older self would have persevered through that. Of course I’d like to think so but my younger self bounced back much more quickly than I do today. She had a fire in her and quite honestly I’d be interested in what SHE would have to say to me at this point in my life. There is a beauty to being young and fearless and naïve. It amazes me that I was so eager to be rid of it because getting old is inevitable. You’ll see stuff, do stuff. You become a walking story of all the things you’ve endured, the experiences you’ve conquered, the loved ones you’ve had to say goodbye to, the rejection you’ve received, the love you’ve been given, and the people you’ve met. There’s also a beauty in wisdom and experience.
Life has a strange way of making you feel inadequate so don’t add fuel to the flame. You will fail. I have an INBOX full of rejection letters for my book that I refuse to delete because I’m a masochist and also because I’m convinced I’ll prove each and every one of them wrong when it becomes a best-seller. I have been to countless auditions that never got a callback and some I botched so badly I contemplated sending apologies. I was not accepted into my first choice college. In fact, I ended up at my last choice college, Indiana University. What was a Hoosier anyway? I certainly know now and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
A woman who likes to give away cars named Oprah said, “There are no mistakes…there is no such thing as failure…failure is just there to point you in another direction.” So Fail away.