Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Shake It Off
I hated being a gymnast in almost every single way -- the constant dieting, the demanding practices, my wicked coach who hated her husband and took it out on us, rips on my hands, bleeding all the time. I wasn't very good at it -- everything was effort, no natural talent. The gym, hotter than five billy hells in the summer, cold in the winter, shitty equipment, tedious practices. The water in the fountain that tasted like copper. Nothing if not a masochist, I stuck with it a long time, not because my parents wanted me to (they couldn't really afford it and didn't see the point of it), not because my friends were in it (all of them were way too smart to spend their time in such agonies), and not because I thought I would win anything. My biggest victory was a second place ribbon at the state meet -- hardly a victory given that I had done the mandatory exercise about a thousand times and would have had to have been damn near crippled not to win something eventually given all the effort I exerted.
Suck it up and shake it off were my coaches favorite sayings. Don't be a fucking crybaby also figured a lot in her speech. It was old school -- not the pansy sports training I see now, telling kids how great they are every single time they manage not to fall on their asses. My old coach is a relic now of bygone days when nobody was afraid of getting sued for telling the truth. By the time I stopped competing, I had internalized a lot of what she had said. You take a fall; you shake it off. If the rips in your hands open up, they'll heal. The skin will be tougher than before, so much so that you won't feel anything eventually.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Sometimes people call me a success for all the reasons that make me think I'm a failure." William Hurt
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Faithless Joyce Carol Oates
Benedictions and Maledictions