Sunday, August 06, 2006


We've Got Spirit -- Yes We Do!

It's a tough world out there. It's a hard job weaving and meandering your way through the daily rat-race of society today. It's hard for anyone -- from the lowest, lowly piece of lint to the most mighty, millionaired CEO. Seems nothing comes these days without a fight and a crapload of luck and will power.

And yet, we still beat ourselves up. Individually, we all have these amazing accomplishments, personal talents, wonderfully delightful stories and memories -- but who knows it? Somewhere we were all taught to keep our heads down during the race, don't make eye contact, and don't ever really pat yourself on the back -- and if you must give yourself any credit, have some decency and don't let someone else see you do it, lest they know how full-of-yourself you really are.

And to that I say, resoundingly: BULLSHIT.

I'm only going to admit this once, but I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. (*A* episode. One. Uno. Any other episodes I may have allegedly watched are superfluous here and were solely due to my summer vacation of daytime TV judge shows, any docudramas on crystal meth, juvenile prisons and any medical oddities not discussed in my nursing curriculum.) Dr. Phil, amidst the entire hour of his self-righteous blather, made a really solid point. When asked to list 10 "cons" about yourself, you can easily, NAY, readily do it. But, if you were asked to make that same list of 10, even 5, "pros" about yourself, assuming you are not in front of your bathroom mirror making out loud affirmations about yourself (ie: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough.. ), you would have some difficulty doing so. Either because you A) don't want to seem big-on-yourself in front of other people who will quickly judge you as being egotistical or worse, B) you don't honestly believe there are that many stand out qualities about yourself. Since I don't have any diplomas on my wall that have the prefix "psych" on them, I'm going to steer away from option B and assume that most people zip-it because of option A.

Yeah, I'm going to say it. I think I'm pretty great. But it's ok, seriously. Because I think YOU'RE pretty great, too. And I think you agree with me, even if you maintain your people-face poker stare while you read this so no one at your office thinks you need to get over yourself.

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't the "everyone is special, everyone is unique, everyone is like a snowflake" speech that is currently being spoon-fed to the generation creeping up behind us. It's just that it's ok to like yourself. And it's ok to say so. And it's ok to have an imaginary cheering section for yourself.

Which is my long way of admitting to you all that I do, in fact, have not one imaginary friend, but a whole mental gymnasium full of them. They have placards with the letters of my name spelled out on them. There's ticker tape involved. Coordinated cheers and chants. Even a pep band. They are all somewhat color coordinated (red being a primary color seen there, clearly) and generally resemble -- if you can picture it -- the "last-4-seconds-on-the-clock-at-the-world's-most-important-highschool-basketball-game-teen-movie-scene". It's great.

And I take them everywhere.

They anxiously gasp and nervously clutch each other when I'm waiting for that "you-got-the-scholarship" letter or walking to the front of the room to get my graded scantron. They have that collective "aww" of disappointment when things just don't go right, but that nod of understanding that somehow it'll make me stronger. I even have that single-clapping-guy who cheers me on through the tough times -- the one who claps, in solitude, convincing not only me, but the rest of the cheering section, that really, I can do it.

Which is the really long way of telling you that I had a 5 mile run slated for today. I had a small mental pep-rally before I left the house, on this, a most gorgeous day. When leaving mass today I was struck by how easy it was to breathe outside. Anyone on the east coast these days knows that it's been hotter than *insert favorite heat-related idiomatic expression here*, yeah, THAT. My newly found running career has been so on-again, off-again as the mercury and the dew point continue to rise. (Yeah, I said 'dew point'. I know my meterology.) It doesn't help that I recently read an article in Runners World magazine about a kid from my highschool (no lie) who just graduated and was slated to go to my college (no lie), but died in my hometown (no lie) from heatstroke this summer. (They even interviewed my old highschool AP American History teacher (no lie) about it). Granted, he was on a 35 mile run, compared to my piddlie 5 mile run. But heatstroke is no-bullshit, man. It's quick, it's unassuming and it's very hard to treat if they don't find your lifeless body-in-multiple-system-failure fast enough. It's making me really question that "challenge-yourself" drive that makes me finish these runs in this insane heat.

So yeah, that 5 mile run today? More like 3.3. Which made me sad. It was just so hot. Really hot. And I could find no shade. The cheering section gasped audibly when I had to stop -- they like to get all crazy when I finish the big runs -- but that single-clapping-guy clapped as I walked home -- making sure I wasn't hanging my head in shame.

True, it would have been easier to kick myself all the way home for not making 5, but why not congratulate myself for getting my ever-higher ass out there at all and making 3.3 (and hey, for not suffering from heatstroke, since I was feeling very dehyrated). So I'm still pretty up on myself about it. Thanks, mostly to, my mental cheering section. 3.3 is pretty sweet. And it'll make that 5 mile run all the more sweet when I do make it, and kick 5 miles' ass. And I'm not ashamed to tell all of you good people about it. Anyone else here burn more than 400 calories before 10:30 this morning?

I encourage you all to put together your own cheering section. Soon. It doesn't take away the easy 10-cons you can think of about yourself, it just makes them less formidable to that growing list of pros that your cheering section will be chanting about in your head. Because, let's be real. If you aren't cheering for yourself, there are very few people cheering for you who don't love you or who aren't sleeping with you. Think about it.

3.3. Go me.
5 miles, you better pray tomorrow doesn't come fast. I'm gonna get you.

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