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Wide Open Spaces

A fighter, a leader, an inspiration, and a teacher— those are words I would best describe my mentor. I don’t have to tell you who it is, because you already know. It’s that person who gives a child-like perspective on things. The person who takes you back to a moment in time when life was novel, beautiful, and the word “WHY” reveled with significance. In school, children are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Nobody laughs, nobody cracks jokes, and nobody tells these young souls that their dreams are impossible. So, why do some of us think our dreams are insurmountable?

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a beauty queen. My dad took me took me to an event I signed up for to learn about pageantry, and it was awe-inspiring. Beautiful little girls were told that they could walk a stage in fashionable clothing and display their talents in front of a live audience if they were able to raise money for a charitable cause. My spirit beamed with excitement. My mother said it would be difficult to raise funds and made mention of my crooked teeth.

In high school, I wanted to be a part of the softball team. My dad went out and bought me a bat, a glove, a ball, cleats, and anything he could think of to help me succeed. The girls on the softball team were an amazing group of women I so badly wanted to be a part of, except I wore makeup and jewelry, and they didn’t. I quit the team.

My mom never said I wouldn’t be able to raise money, or that I was ugly. (Quite the contrary, she tells me I’m beautiful every chance she gets.) The girls on the softball team never said I couldn’t wear makeup and jewelry on the softball field, nor did they say I couldn’t be on the team. Why did I interpret these things so negatively? I guess I felt like people, inadvertently, took something away from me. Pieces of me. Little pieces over time, so small I didn’t even notice. People wanting me to be something I wasn’t, and I made myself into something I thought they wanted me to be. One day you start to realize, you’re not you anymore. I lost myself a long time ago.

I became a chameleon, a Karma Chameleon, if you will – a woman without conviction. A woman without conviction until I entered the kindergarten classroom again; no, not the literal four walls – the metaphorical haven. I took lessons from my favorite book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I adhered to the instructions on the fundamental rules of life.

The last ten years of my life, I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone take a thing away from me; in fact, I was going to take from them. Let me explain it simply, pieces of me. All the pieces I admired about a person and all the pieces the things that defined them, I took them and made them my own. I was a social sponge who hung on every spoken word and learned what it is I liked about that tidbit and chose whether or not I wanted to incorporate it in my life.

Except one day, I realized someone took something away from me that I wasn’t sure if I would ever get back—my confidence and my self-worth. I took myself back in time to the moment that I was most confident and spoke up for myself. I was sitting in my car, waiting in line for a gas pump. I waited for what seemed like an eternity before a woman pulled right in front of me to pump gas. I’m not sure what happened next, some might say it’s the Southsider in me, while others might say it was instinct; but, I got out of my car and exclaimed, “Hey, I’ve been waiting in line, why did you cut in front of me. That’s not right and you need to leave.” And she did.

I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. Because it was yesterday, when I found the self-confidence to speak up for myself that I took away from me years ago. I went to Home Depot yesterday to get a tool for my husband. A gentleman asked if he could help me (like they always do at Home Depot). He didn’t comprehend what I was asking for, so he asked, “What do you use it for?” I explained, and he gave me exactly what I needed and walked away. I was speechless. I was trying to figure out how he knew what we needed even though I asked for something entirely different.

After confirming with my husband over the phone that the gentleman’s suggestion was better than what he was looking for, I went to thank the gentleman. He was assisting someone else and I patiently waited. Another man stepped in front of me. I smiled at him to acknowledge the fact that I was waiting for assistance from the same gentleman. When the gentleman was free, the man proceeded to ask the gentleman’s assistance. Without hesitation, “I said excuse me, I was waiting to speak to him, you saw me waiting and you need to wait your turn.” I turned to the gentleman and thanked him and walked away.

It was a transcending moment in my life. Much like the time my mentor told me, “Now you’re thinking like a marketer.” I could see clearly now. The clouds parted and I could hear the angels sing. It’s a joyful feeling and I want everyone in the world to experience what it feels like to speak up for yourself, as well as, the feeling to speak up for someone else who is unable. Be their voice, be their advocate—because someone is taking a piece of you, good or bad. Your words (or lack thereof) mean something to someone.

Who am I? I am a beautiful child of God made to share my story. A storyteller fueled by inspiration. My favorite color is purple. My favorite flower is a white rose. My favorite sports team is the Dallas Cowboys. My favorite Spur is Danny Green. My favorite eggs are poached. My favorite number is 13. My favorite season is fall. My favorite band is the Dixie Chicks. I belong to many teams, my favorite of which has led me to raise more than $35K in support of curing cancer. I am the best me, I know how to be. I am relentlessly useful, unapologetically human, and I lead worthy life.

My favorite thing in the world to do is to laugh.

If you’re not laughing at yourself enough, you’re not living. Live life to it’s fullest and don’t sleep in bed all day because you can. Sleeping is for the dead and baby, you’re alive! When you stand before God at the end of the tunnel, be able to say, “I used EVERYTHING you gave me.” Our talents are wasted the day we chose not to see the value in them. Take yourself back in time, and remember what it is you wanted to be.

I wanted to help people. I am the best storyteller I can be in hopes of inspiring billions of people. And, in my spare time, I’m going to find the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. What are you going to do?

If I could share one piece of advice, it would be this: Love Yourself, Girl, or Nobody Will

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~ Mark Twain

[Dixie Chicks: Wide Open Spaces, January 15, 1998]

Photo credit: Sarah Brooke Photography

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blogworld=love

thank you all so much for your kind words and well wishes. i left work early yesterday and spent the day in bed and taking your advice! you really are too kind, it’s like someone took all the nice people in the world and put them in the blogworld! with the exception of those “anonymous” people who write mean comments…looks like we need a super hero to zap them! i am willing to take one for the team, put on my cape and zap them!
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while i am feeling better today i am not 100%. i decided to call in and get some more rest. i need that energy to go to the spurs game tonight! 🙂
i won box seats to the spurs game awhile back and i invited my mom, she is super excited and i can’t let her down. i also need my energy for my run tomorrow, yup, i’m going to try it! 6 miles isn’t much and lord knows i need the practice! wish me luck!

and one last plug in before i’m off for the weekend, ENTER HERE

for some awesome prizes benefiting the leukemia & lymphoma society! thanks to all who have already donated, it is MUCH appreciated!

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that workout totally counts!

i am so overwhelmed! so much to do and so little time! i’ve made an executive decision and will be posting a “thank you letter update” every friday rather than every day. i may even write all the letters on friday, not sure yet. the problem is, i have 3 letters written and ready to go– i just haven’t made time to mail them. i need be more prepared next week! i will buy stationary and pre-stamp envelopes and will be ready to go next week! who knows, maybe then you’ll get a daily update 🙂

speaking of thank yous, i have yet to finish the book ‘365 thank yous.’ the book i am basing this idea off of.:( i stayed late again at work and did not pack my gym clothes. i decided i would eat, workout (i intended to do my dallas cowboy cheerleader bootcamp video since i would not be going to the gym), wash 5 loads of laundry since i am way overdo and relax & read! the only thing i did was eat and slept! 🙁 i was so angry when i woke up at midnight and realized that i had ruined my 100 day challenge. i thought, if only it were 11:30 i would totally get up and workout! then i thought, NO! this can’t be right, i’ve worked so hard these last 10 days and i will not accept this. today i made a delivery to 2 different buildings and it took me exactly 30 minutes! the rules say ‘at least 30 minutes of movement’ and that my friends, was 30 minutes of movement! please help me justify this! and an added bonus is, my pedometer read 18,605 steps! that totally counts! right? right!
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day 11 of 100: 30 minute walk!