When I was in 10th grade I wanted to try out for the basketball team. I’d always loved the game despite being slow with the moves. I asked so and so should I go through with my decision and they were like “yeah girl try out”. So I went to the interest meeting, I got a schedule and practiced with the team for about 2 weeks. If I could describe that experience with one song it would be “Workin’ Day and Night” by Michael Jackson. I came home everyday exhausted and sore. But despite the 130% effort I gave, I just wasn’t what the coach was looking for and I was cut.
In 12th grade I went from bouncing balls to trying to be a bouncy cheerleader. It started off as a facebook joke at first. I mean I wasn’t the rah rah type of girl and I couldn’t even do a decent cartwheel. However, once I got a few encouraging comments from my peers I figured why not try to have another extracurricular under my belt(I was also on the powerlifting team at the time). Tryouts were tough but I survived cuts this time and graciously accepted my pom poms. While it was fun at first, I spent the entire season forgetting cheers in the front row. I still wonder if anybody noticed.
As a freshman in college, I was told the one way to finding yourself was to be active in campus organizations. So with some convincing me and my best friend went to try out for a dance team. It was a different atmosphere but I told myself I could handle it. During the tryout phase, I learned 8 count.. after 8 count.. after 8 count. I ran up steps and down. I sweat. A LOT. But I prevailed, as did my best friend. I was happy and committed.. for maybe a good 3 weeks. It was while prepping for homecoming with the founder of the team and hearing her critique EVERYTHING I did that sent me over the edge towards quitting and wanting to pull my hair out (and hers.)
Now the reason I’m taking you guys through memory lane of my previous athletic (or should I say non- athletic) history is because tonight at work I had a feeling of nostalgia. My manager came back to tell me that I needed to go faster on the dishes. It was that moment, that comment, that made me think of all the times I tried out for something, made the team, and the coach told me to crouch lower, kick higher, be more graceful. I did as I was told, I tried as best as I could but It seemed to me that I just couldn’t be as good as they wanted.
Yeah it was cool to have hobbies and be on teams. It looks good to others when they see you’re involved. It’s good to be apart of the working community. But none of that matters when you don’t love what you’re doing or you have people making you feel like you have no room for improvement. And so tonight I thought of the one thing that I’d always loved and felt skilled at. It was writing. There isn’t a person in the world who could make me feel incompetent about what I put on a page. And while I grew tired of a lot of extracurriculars, that forever stuck with me. Its natural.
Find something that’s natural to you. Something that feeds your soul. Something that you don’t grow weary of. Because there is nothing better than being your own coach.