I've been meaning to write a blog post. My last post isn't what I really want on my home page. This new post was going to be about some small changes I've implemented in my routine recently. I've also been noodling on a post about 2016 goals (what with the new year looming, who isn't?)
So clearly it was time for a new post. My attempt at a short comment in response to Carla's question, turned into THIS:
I once tried out for little league baseball. My brothers were both super athletic and loved it, and one summer I thought maybe I'd give it a shot. At tryouts (I didn't know then but I do now... there's no being "cut" from the team, you just get put in different leagues or on different teams based on your ability.)(As an adult, I have the language for this - it wasn't "tryouts"; it was a "skills assessment".)
But anyway, at tryouts, the first exercise was fielding the ball. Kids lined up and one at a time, you went onto the field and some adult (a "coach"? was this The Coach?) hit 10 balls in your general direction for you to catch. I was terrified of being hit in the face and didn't catch anything that came at me in the air. Not the pop-ups, sure as hell not the line drive. I think I actually just squeezed my eyes shut and held out my glove. Balls 10; CPAGrrrl zero.
Next, he hit 10 ground balls in my general direction. This I thought I had a chance at.
But I missed all of them.
Every. Single. One.
- They went around me,
- They came at me faster than I expected,
- They went straight between my legs while I flailed with that glove in one hand and reached with my other, bare, hand in desperation.
Like, really, REALLY failed.
And in front of our entire neighborhood.
In front of my father and both my brothers.
The whole process probably took less than 5 minutes but it seemed to go on for hours. I don't think I'd ever been THAT bad at ANYthing before. I was beyond embarrassed. More than that - I had a great vocabulary - I could list TEN different words for how I felt.
I was mortified.
I was crushed.
I was humiliated.
I was ashamed.
I tried to hold my head up as I got back in line for the next round, our turn to hit. The kid in front of me - I can't recall his name but I knew him from the neighborhood (and we were not friends) - he said something, berating me for not even being able to pick up a ground ball.
That was it. I burst into tears as my father walked up. I imagine he was saying something cheerful and encouraging. I also imagine he had no idea what to do with a crying potential-ballplayer. I imagine how confounded he must have felt. (Basing this primarily on my own utter confusion any time someone begins crying in a situation where it's the last thing I'd expect.) I don't know if he asked me if I wanted to leave, or if I said I wanted to or what. But that's what happened next; I went home. Baseball tryouts: OVER.
I've learned to enjoy watching baseball. But I've never been part of a team sport. I was on a youth football cheer squad. But my mom was the coach. I'm not sure I ever really gave myself credit for that. (Perhaps I should
Maybe I wouldn't have learned to be better at going after a literal ground ball. Maybe I am simply Not Good At That. But maybe I would have learned sooner how to go after a metaphorical one. My father accidentally taught me that day, that it was OK to quit when something was a physical challenge. And I believe NOW, that was a lesson I would have been better off without.
I learned at an early age that my brain was a powerful
|I learned early to value what my MIND was capable of.|
- Sometimes you need more time,
- Sometimes you need to ask the right person for help,
- but sooner or later,
- ALL problems have an appropriate solution. (correct? maybe, sometimes there are more than one of those) (and sometimes there are none.)
|This GRRRL ENJOYED using her brain for fun and learning.|
- "I'd never be able to do that." (says fucking who?)
- "I have no upper-body strength." (True, but why was that viewed as a permanent condition?)
- "I am not very coordinated." (I imagine that can be remedied or at least improved upon with some practice.)
- "I fall down a lot." (OK frankly that's just truth. I fell down LAST Friday and was limping for 2 days.)
|This GRRRL knew the value of long hours practicing, working to learn a new skill.|
|It took GRIT to keep going back to school after every obstacle that interrupted forward progress. I was never ashamed that it took 12 years to finish that degree. I worked my ass off EVERY MINUTE of those 12 years.|
But sometimes - and as a parent these are the things that scare the crap out of me - sometimes you don't know you blew it. My father blew it that day. I'm sure he didn't realize it. Certainly at the time, I had no idea anyone
LIES I TELL MYSELF
(and proof they're not real)
"I CAN'T DO [this thing]"
Here's the truth:
I don't know how to do [that thing].