“Well behaved women seldom make history.”
We’ve all heard it. Seen in in newsfeeds and on car bumpers. Every time it speaks to me. And sometimes, I feel a slight twinge of sadness, or discomfort because there are those moments where I don’t feel like I believe it. Not because I don’t ACTUALLY believe it, but I think it’s easier to want to believe that only goodness can bring change and perpetuate other goodness.
Which is true. The antonym of “behaving well,” doesn’t necessarily include a BAD behavior… it just means misbehaving. Even just a little.
One of my life mantras (by default, NOT by choice) is “sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” I basically am that saying incarnate. And, actually, it’s okay to break the rules! It feels good. REAL good.
I’m not perfect, and I can’t even pretend to be. I worry sometimes I’m not good-hearted because I say a lot of curse words, I don’t have a strong faith in any traditional sense, I like to have a glass of wine, I don’t wash my hair each day (or wear mascara) and I doubt myself. Every day. I have A LOT of sass, and sometimes I’ll just keep talking to fill any sort of uncomfortable silence. As much of an extrovert as I am, if I can’t recharge by myself, I will literally lose my shit- Lindsay Lohan style. I want to be sorry about it all too, but I can’t because it just feels so inherently, unapologetically human. To feel all of those feelings isn’t a unique thing but something I share with literally billions of people. Which is kind of cool.
When my life started evolving into a place of leadership, it DEFINITELY wasn’t something I would have pictured for myself. No, no, no, no, no. Ask any of my friends who survived our 2011 Vegas “I’m still a bachelorette” shower/extravaganza. I was a party ANIMAL in college and that continued on really until I was about 23 1/2. And again, I’m NOT sorry about it.
In my young life, I did what I wanted but I also took care of business. While getting my degree, I was able to master time management skills (Thirsty Thursdays, quizzes on Fridays, Bar Parties on Saturdays then games on Sundays and class/papers done by Mondays…) and I’m not only happy I was able to figure it out then, I’m also relieved. It’s finally out of my system.
At the ripe age of 25, I made some decisions that not many people do. I committed my life to something that has no guarantees. I wake up every day and go train for a spot on a team that won’t exist until the middle of 2016. Looking at that sentence is absolutely insane. I literally got an email invitation, turned around, broke leases, and MOVED my entire life to the desert for a dream.
I’m thankful to have little reminders from the universe (or God, or whatever you subscribe to) that let me know I’m still going in the right direction.
I talk about AmpCamp a lot. I love camp. I have made lifelong friendships from being a little baby camper, to friendships with my little baby campers, which I NEVER would have expected. I have taken mentorship roles when I felt like I was THE LAST person qualified for such a position.
But it keeps happening. Just recently, I moved to the same city a past camper (now fellow-grown-up-counselor) attends university. She was given a running leg, but because she is a congenital (birth defect) amputee, she actually has no idea how to use it. She has no concept of what running or even skipping should feel like. She reached out to me before my move for tips or tricks and we communicated via text that way for a while. After I relocated we’ve been working together to get her up and going. Let me tell you, this girl is TALENTED. And we are making BIG improvements every week and I’m PUMPED.
I want to hit the brakes a little, because as much fun as I have working with her, or even working any runner/walker, I have a few conflicting feelings:
1- I have no idea what I’m doing (sorry to any and all people involved in my past running clinics/certification courses/any prosthetic trials in case that was deflating… but so far each one has been a complete success. Thankfully)
2- I don’t want anyone else knowing what I’m doing unless everyone I work with really feels satisfied with what I provide. (Like if you aren’t glowing with elation after I work with you I feel like a failure)
Doing nice things and volunteering, especially when it comes to anyone with a physical disability can make for an AMAZING photo opp. But I don’t spend my extra hours running after already running because of that. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Because I have tools that don’t exist in other people’s pockets (just for now). Because if it were me, my brother, or my parents I would pray to every God out there that someone would do the same and shine some light in places that can be very dark.
We live in such a weird world now where everything can be broadcasted. But the only things we choose to broadcast are the things we want people to see. Very rarely do I see people use social media to be honest.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I’m scared I’ll never be good enough. Fast enough. Jump far enough. Be funny enough. Be nice enough…. the list goes on. But what is enough?? Is “enough” a fixed mark I put on everything as a goal to reach? Furthermore, if I ever reached “enough” would I even be satisfied?!
I read an article recently about a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, and let me tell you… if you have a moment to read and reflect on it, I HIGHLY suggest you do just that.
You can read it here.
Essentially, what I took away from my first read was the concept of inherent talent versus effort. On the track and in the track world, it’s so easy to feel inferior when you look at everything as if it were only judged on inherent talent. It seems as if everyone is REAL comfortable talking about being inherently good at track, like they just rolled out of bed one day, decided to run a race, and magically broke a world record… What people for some reason feel more shame in talking about, is how much hard work, time and effort it all took.
I’ll say it. I DID wake up, I DID roll out of bed and I had a pretty good race. I qualified for the London Games. Every race after that I basically got my ass handed to me. For a long time. Then I started long jumping. I was pretty good! I went to worlds, and guess what? Got placed where you don’t get any medal, no recognition, no funding, NADA. I spent the following year trying to figure out why I wasn’t JUST GOOD?! Like, aren’t olympians and paralympians some sort of weird form of humankind? Like they are these chosen superhumans and that’s why they’re above everything and the rest of us minions lie below? And the answer is, no. Not really. While there are a smattering of freakishly talented people out there, not everyone is. Not every olympian and paralympian are like that.
There are literally THOUSANDS of hours of work, meditation, and even decent (or indecent) sleep that go into being an elite athlete. But no one likes to share that part. It’s not glamorous. It’s not fun. It’s also not unique to sport.
Even as a new amputee, or newly acquired disability… It seems like everyone you encounter just rolled on out of bed and magically walked like it was some story out of the bible. Like they were the chosen people to walk and move without any sort of deviation and you would always be stuck with some sort of “thing” that set you apart from everyone else, those chosen others.
It’s all just mirrors and smoke: I work hard. Every day. And I’m still not satisfied. But like the article I read, sometimes the image of success doesn’t have to have a limit. With a growth mindset, it can always change. And if you think about success, in any manner, that way… it can be a truly amazing (and literally limitless) thing. The only true satisfaction then comes from learning through each little success as your path grows and changes.
After running with my baby bird, I also met up with a former colleague right after who knows us both. She put it best when she talked about living an “authentic life.”
It’s about being a role model when no one is watching, (Sometimes that means we fall, we deviate in our own directions.) but just keep it real.
My mom always has told me, “If you’re honest Lace, you can’t go wrong.” So I always try to be. Sometimes being honest gets me in trouble. But most of the time, it keeps everyone on the same page, and people really can appreciate that. So I’m not perfect. I don’t have the best days every day. I can’t afford to get my eyebrows and nails done weekly. But I really really try to keep it real, I think if my life can reflect that of honesty, dignity and hard work, then damn… maybe it should fit just fine as a role model.
Thank you for giving me the opportunities to live such an incredible life. And I’ll go right on ahead and keep misbehavin’