Wednesday, 18 February 2009

We All Need A Little Validation

Do you ever have those moments where you start to doubt whether you're heading in the right direction?

It kinda goes like this:
You get excited about a new project, a new job, a new hobby, a new outlook. You start telling everyone you know all about it until you're so obsessed it's all you can talk about. Your best friend's eyes glaze over. Even your mother starts tuning you out.

And then something goes awry...maybe even something you shift the wrong way in your yoga class and botch a move and you're at the front of the room and you feel EVERYONE LOOKING AT YOU. And you feel so silly, you leave early and give yourself an oh-so-reasonable excuse for missing the next class. By're not even sure if it's worth the trouble.

A downward spiral of ridiculous shame and frustration. The death knell of your latest love. Your thrill ride jumped the tracks.

How much does it matter to you? Do you wait for someone or something outside of yourself to push you back into the ring? Do you search for inspiration on your own? Or do you walk away? Do you put the yoga mat in the closet? Do you give it to a friend or to Goodwill? Do you throw it away?

You see, I was one of those kids for whom so many things came easily, when I hit a wall, I often gave up. My parents tried to teach me "stick-to-it-tiveness" by making me slog through a whole season of soccer when I was seven...the only girl on the team with a rotten coach who never let me play anything but full-back and was once yellow carded for shouting obscenities at us kids. The last game of the season was played in drizzle and mud and cold--I was sure they'd cancel and let us go home for hot chocolate. But Dad squeezed my jersey over my jacket and noodged me back onto the field. My feet were so numb by the time we were done, I held my wet, yellow-white toes against the heater vents the whole way home. Dad still feels bad about that day, yet at the same time, he stuck to his guns. Lesson learned, right?

Not quite.

I think the big thing I took away from that game was a new-found hatred of team sports. I still love to kick the ball around with my two little girls, or join in a random pick-up game. But don't think you'll ever get me on a neighborhood team, no way. I know I suck. My coach used to tell me, every practice, just how much.

Now if I find myself disliking some new endeavor, no matter how attractive initially, I turn around and walk the other way. I resist buying special clothes or new gear. I question everything. I watch to see if my husband's tuning me out. Will I make it through this one? Will I fight this impulse, or give up? Is it worth it?

And the most critical question...the one that defines it all...


Afterall, we all need a little validation now and then.