Could I Have Been An Olympian?

As everyone knows, the Olympics are in full swing. Even though I’m a fan of the games, by next week the Olympic theme song that is played throughout the day will likely drive me mad. Two weeks straight of the same ten second piece of orchestrated music at the start, end and every commercial break in between will cause my ear drums to reach for the remote and hit mute. Maybe it’s because I have the games on while I go about my business each day.

Regardless, I love the sense of pride and the dedication from Olympians. There is always a heart wrenching story or significant feat embodied in the spirit of the games.

I grew up as a fish. My parents could not get me out of our pool to eat and my summer attire consisted only of a bathing suit. I dreamed of being a real swimmer with a swim cap and goggles and eventually joined a swim team where I did fairly well. During the summer of ’92, my bathing suit transitioned into a gymnastics leotard and my poor Great-grandmother suffered the “look at me, I’m a gymnast” phase, cartwheels in her rowhome and all, when I stayed at her house during one week of the Olympics that year. Poor Grandmom. She never dared to crush my dreams either, though quite frankly, I don’t remember her appeasing me and saying I’d make it either.

Toddler Mae fashioning summer attire for the rest of her childhood.

I don’t remember really ever trying very hard to be anything I dreamed of. I was the queen of one season sports or clubs. I’m probably not in the memories of any of my teammates or fellow members because I dashed in and out, never leaving behind anything substantial and never hanging in to form real memories. Until recently, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I’m just a flake and like so many things in life, I just never knew was it was to give my all and keep persevering. But it’s not true. I’ve come to only understand recently that my Mom discouraged me. But before a judging finger is pointed her way, I understand and I do not place blame. My Mom had severe anxiety and taking me to events was very trying on her. I don’t believe she held me back from anything that I carried full potential in, but I guess we won’t know. I don’t think I would have been an Olympic swimmer, but I wonder if I had stuck with something now and then, if I could have had a different mindset in life. Maybe I could have fought harder.

Now that I’m an adult, I can’t base the rest of my life on the fact that I played one season of softball or did one year of Girl Scouts. I am in control of my own fate and if I don’t try or stick with things, it’s my fault. It’s time to learn a new mindset.  And maybe because I’m not an athlete, that doesn’t set the baseline for other things. I’ve stuck with the things that really do matter in life; I’m not a complete failure.

I didn’t even mean for this post to go in this direction. It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke about my Gram who used to say constantly, “If my parents had had money to get me singing lessons, I could have been a famous singer”. Gram had not a lick of a voice or an ear for keys, but it was something she dreamed about as she grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I found myself saying to my husband the other night, “If I had been able to stick with swimming, I could have been an Olympic athlete”. We both knew it was wrong, but we laughed anyway.

If you think about it, it is funny how at the still-young age of 29, it is so easy to see dreams that are too late to happen in the faces of young Olympians. I’d like to think that I’ll encourage my future and non-existent children to follow their dreams young and be able to support them along the way, and without trying to make them accomplish mine.

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Moving On and Finding Mae

I’ve written over the last few months about changing gears.  I’ve written somewhat whiney posts about the purpose of life and how to achieve a balance between success and living.   The ideas I had a few months back have changed.  I no longer have the plan I had set in place, because my gut instinct told me it was the wrong path.  Still, I know I’ll find what I need to.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that if I live life by giving, learning and not conceding to the easy route, that I’ll find the success I need to find professionally, to feed my soul.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life and I’d really like to amplify that happiness outwardly.  I miss giving to others, I miss feeling pride in what I do.  Even though I don’t know which path I’ll take, I know that I’ll try the hardest I can along the route.  I know that I have the support of my husband and my Mom.  I also know that I’ll be judged by people who don’t understand.  Continue reading

It’s Ok To Be a Girl

I usually consider myself to privately be girlie, but every now and then it sneaks out; like when I play dance around the house to girlie music (secretly) or peruse the make-up department for an hour.  Lately it happens more and more.  I don’t know if I subconsciously pretended to not be so feminine or if I am just a late bloomer, both of which are highly possible.  My greatest girlfriends are the same way.  We can challenge the best of the men out there on most any topic with fervor.  There are times however, that I just want to be a girl and find its ok to cry at the commercials about the doggies in the animal shelters.  Damn you, Sarah McLachlan and Pedigree commercials!

Today was unexpectantly one of those days.  It was a lazy Sunday, with no plans.  As my husband and I woke up, we laughed about a line from the movie “I Love You Man”.  Pretty much anything with Jason Segel or Paul Rudd is hilarious, and after stumbling around the house I was pleasantly surprised to find it on TV today.  So “daily dose of laughter” could be definitely checked off the list.  Humor is incredibly important in a world that is far too serious.  (“Slappin’ the bass mon!”) This was followed by some manly portions of Texas BBQ for dinner and a trip to Home Depot.  I hate that I love that store sometimes.

Hubby took a nap and I flipped through the channels because I didn’t feel like writing yet.  I stumbled upon “P.S. I Love You”.  You can gag if you want to.  I’m not the biggest Hilary Swank fan, but I love this movie and embarrassingly own it…and the soundtrack.  But that’s it; I’m not rocking any chick flick posters or anything.  Unless there is one of Gerard Butler out there, then I might consider owning that.  Still, I know that I have to be in a particular mood to watch it.  I have to be ok with crying.  And cry I did.  Something else you should know, I don’t cry in front of other people.  Somewhere deep, I perceive it as weak, though I’m really not sure why.  My parents never raised me to think that, but I inherently try to be much too strong until I break.

So of course I know the movie and I know what will happen.  It still upsets me and I’m certain it’s because I draw on personal emotions since I don’t truly care that Hilary’s character is a widow.  I realize she’s an actress getting paid a healthy wage.  But I’m quite fond of my husband and he is amazingly clever.  He’s the type that upon impending death, would arrange for flowers, cakes, letters and trips after he’s long and gone.  I think it affects me as much as “Father of the Bride” does because I’m close to my Dad.  Ugh, sometimes I hate being a girl.

So every now and then, since no one else can see me cry, I’ll watch these and let it out and then get on with my day.  I think I’ve made strides to let my solitary emotional release diminish slightly, and let them take place in front of my husband, but he’s keen on being emotionless.  Usually we get by, by teasing each other when it comes to these things.  Sure, it probably sounds pretty immature.  Sometimes it would probably be best just to comfort and accept that cheesy movies can make us relate to a part of our lives we rarely think about.  It’s hard sometimes to admit we’re not the super strong person we thought we were or pretended to be.  So now I will scrub the tear residue from my contacts and drift off to sleep, and hope that I never have to actually know what it’s like to receive letters from my dead husband.

Photos courtesy of Dreamworks and Warner Bros.

“Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Taken” – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

I’d never encourage anyone to be purposely bizarre or ever behave in a false nature, but it seems that more than ever, people are afraid to be different, rather, true to themselves and let their colors show.  Is it because any unusual activity can be captured with a bystander’s smartphone and streamed worldwide in minutes?  For your information, there is a difference between being interesting and being in “The People of Walmart” email chains.

Life is about being true to who you are.  So who are you?  In my life, there are many inspiring people, and for different reasons, they are interesting because they are so unlike anyone else.  Some I know and some I perceive from a far.  They experiment with ambition, words, music and style.  How can anyone be fascinating or notable without letting their true and unique personality show?

The road for an individual that acts like an individual is not always the easiest one.  These roads though, are anything but mundane.  Regardless of whether you try to be yourself or force yourself to be average, your actions and lifestyle will never appeal to everyone and there will always be critics.  Being true to one’s self is the most honest thing you can do and be, and no one can fault you for that.

If they do, well…do you really need their acceptance anyway?