Sometimes, to succeed, you may have to get a little messy!
Growing up, I dreamt of being lithe, tall, attractive, graceful, and popular. I SAW myself being all those things, not the short, chubby, clumsy kid reflected in the mirror.
My dream me was the one I saw with my eyes closed, and man, she could dance! But no matter how many times I spun arabesques in my head, the real me had two left feet. The disparity between dreams and reality was obvious when I decided to try out for my High School Drill Team.
My friends thought I’d gone ‘round the bend altogether. “Are you CRAZY? Drill team is for the cute, popular girls. Besides you have to know how to do the routines. You’re too short, you can’t dance and you aren’t coordinated.” Raising myself to my full 4’ 10” I replied in my best argumentative debate voice: “Yeah?”
So, against the better judgment of friends and family, “We just don’t want you to get hurt…” I went for it. As I watched the drill leaders demonstrate the steps I knew I’d lost my mind. Wanting to be coordinated does not make it so. And, since I was born without rhythm and cannot remember more than two verbal commands at one time, I was out of step and out of my league. It was hard to concentrate for all the snickering.
The day of try-outs came and so did torrential downpours. Good for me, bad for the fifty beautiful, big haired, perfectly made up, goddesses vying for a spot. All I had on my face was some of my mom’s bright red, it’s-going-to-take-Comet-to-remove-this lipstick, and some Vaseline on my teeth. My hair actually looked better slicked down and sopping wet than it would have dry and frizzy. We all stood before the judges in full salute, waiting for the music to start, drenched to the skin in the deluge of rain.
Naturally, because of my size, they put me in front. The music wouldn’t start and the rain wouldn’t stop and I was standing in a mud hole, but I never stopped smiling. When the music came on, I went for it. Eyes on the judges, I let my dream girl out and managed to complete most of the routine mostly in step and never fell down.
Unbeknownst to me, I was the only one who finished the routine. Everyone else was adjusting their hair, wiping their faces, protecting mascara and making sure they didn’t get their tennis shoes muddy. I guess by comparison, I did okay. Which is why, every Friday night you could find me on the football field, front row center, a Fullerton High School Featherette.
The moral of the story? Sometimes to succeed you have to get a little messy. Smiling and sticking to the drill during the tough times is what sets you apart. You can come out on top if you are willing to get muddy and you never lose the smile. And Pond’s cold cream gets the lipstick off.
I’d love to hear about your mud and smiles on the road to success!