Saturday, February 9, 2013

The importance of cheerleaders and SoulPancakes

So last week, I think in reaction to the final aside on my Pirate Post, my best good friend and go-to taste-maker Stephanie, sent me a note on Facebook.

"Don't doubt yourself, and if you do, this will cheer you up," she wrote, sharing this video:



Now, I'm not sure who SoulPancake or Kid President are*, but Steph was right, I did need a pep talk and it did cheer me up.

"What will you create to make the world awesome? 
Nothing if you keep sitting there!"

I went with the big font here because this is a quote that begs to be shouted. At me. Several times a day.

Luckily, I have plenty of people willing to yell at me. Or, you know, at least encourage me to keep on keepin' on. 

Let's face it, we all need cheerleaders. 

Sometimes we need them for basic functions, like getting through a bad day or a rough patch in life. To tell us it's worth it to keep waking up every day even if you're just going through the motions, because sometimes going through the motions is all you can handle at that moment. To remind us that once our muscles have gotten used to living and breathing through crushing disappointment and sorrow, that they'll be strong enough to take that first step out into the day. And the one after that.** 

And we need them when we're attempting something new and scary: Starting a family. Leaving a career to stay at with your babies. Attempting potty-training. Writing a novel. 

We need their faith in us because it's almost certain there will be times when we won't have it in ourselves. 

I am blessed to have many cheerleaders. 

  • Obviously, there's Steph, who's been guiding me through relationship, family and fashion crises since freshman year of high school when we were assigned to share a locker. 
  • And my mom who has been telling me for years and years that I need to write that children's book and who's always trolling the web in search of articles that I have written, but didn't tell her about. She's the first to tell me that I'm a great mom -- even when, in a two month period under my watch, my 9-month-old falls down a flight of stairs and my 2-year-old hits her head somewhere in our sunroom (didn't see it!) requiring three stitches. She even used to tell me I should be president. Clearly, someone who believes in me, way more than I will ever believe in myself. 
  • My sisters who always comment on my blog posts and share links. 
  • My dad who suggests writing projects he thinks I should pursue. 
  • My husband who doesn't seem too bothered by the fact that even on the nights I don't have work to do, I'm still planted in front of my computer writing. 
  • My editor friend who is always willing to take time out his busy schedule to read my work and who told me that I was a writer, even before I would use the word to describe myself. 
  • My neighbor who always tells me she enjoys my work and who even let me write about her
  • My former landlord who's given me this huge gift -- her life story, this really daunting, but exciting project I have simmering on a back burner. 
  • And anyone who's ever said that they're looking forward to reading my novel (when, not if! It's finished. Even if that's 20 years from now).

In my mind's eye, right now, I feel like my cheerleaders are kind of milling around the bench I'm sitting on, waiting for me to get in the game. (Don't worry, in my mind's eye, none of my cheerleaders are actually wearing cheerleader uniforms or carrying pom-poms). And I have this fear about the game. The same fear I get in the first seconds of going into a soccer game

"What if I can't play? What if I forget how to do it? What if I'm awful?"

Everyone has these voices when they set off to pursue something scary, right? It's the people who can mute them (maybe with the help of even noisier cheerleaders) who go on to make the world more awesome. 

*Actually, that's a lie. I just Googled them. To be fair, when I wrote that sentence, I didn't know who they were. Then right after I wrote it I got my Google on. So Technically, in that moment, I didn't know who they were. Now I do.***

** For those ready to go into crisis intervention mode, I wasn't talking about myself. Well, certainly, this would've been relevant to me at various points in my life, but not right now. I just thought it's important to mention that cheerleaders aren't just useful to people trying to win a game or complete a masterpiece. That they're equally as important to those fighting physical and mental battles for their lives -- whether that's cancer or depression or whatever other Combo Platter of Deliciousness**** life throws at you. 

*** SoulPancake is a website created by Rainn Wilson (of Schrute Farms) and two of his friends. Here's what they say about the site:
"SoulPancake sprang out of their desire to create a space where people from all walks of life could discuss and question what it means to be human—a place to wrestle with the spiritual, philosophical, and creative journey that is life. They sat around one night trying to figure out what to call the site, and eliminated Spirit Waffle (too square) and Soul Casserole (because, let's be honest, casserole is a bitch to spell) before settling on the tasty SoulPancake."
Kid President is the "self-appointed voice of a generation" (at least according to his Tumblr). 

****Combo Platter of Deliciousness is a phrase coined by my sister Laura, who was very wise, to describe those moments in life when bad stuff keeps piling up. We're a rather sarcastic bunch.

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