Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moments of Valor

Isn’t it funny how they always come unexpectedly?

I blog over at once a month and this morning—during my post workout haze—I had a little flashback that made me smile and thought it would be a cute story to share. I’m sharing it here as well because in a way, it’s a little inspirational…I think :P

When I was in the third grade, I moved to a new school. My family has always lived in predominantly white neighborhoods. Not only was starting over scary because I was a little dark-skinned black girl in the 80s but also because I had to make new friends all over again. To my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t all that hard. There’s something about the innocence of children that erases all boundaries.

Our school had something called Canada Fitness Day, where all the kids would participate in Olympic-like events and receive awards accordingly. We didn’t do that at our old school, but not wanting to feel left out, I told all my new friends that we did. When they asked me what I placed, I thought to myself, ‘well, I might as well show off a little bit’ and told them I’d placed gold in the past.

Fitness day was upon and I was nervous to say the least. I mean, seriously what was I thinking, trying to catapult myself to fame like that? Jeez. Way to mess up a good thing. Anyway, I competed. My memory’s a little foggy—we called it Canada Fitness Day, but I’m pretty sure the competitions took more than a day, at least a few. But to another pleasant surprise, I wasn’t half bad. Actually, I was great.

See what I didn’t know, at the time I told my little lie, was that there was a higher medal than gold. It was excellence and I received excellence in every competition—literally catapulting myself to actual—not dreamed—fame.

What seemed to really surprise everyone—myself included—was that I was really fast. I could run like the wind and I’d never been in a race in my life.

So along came the next challenge. The school bully (I realize now how much this sounds like a Disney movie) and one of my best friend’s brother challenged me to a race during recess.

Crap. Just when I thought things couldn’t get more unpredictable, they did.

But then, to the final pleasant surprise of the story, I won. I beat him. The biggest bully in the school. The big bad sixth grader with a reputation for squashing people. Needless to say, I was counting my blessings. It was a long time before I told another lie like that again. I wish I could say I never did, but lets keep it real, I was 8.

What’s the inspiration here you say?

For me, it’s the idea that, no matter how impossible and scary something seems, I’ll survive. I may come out on top or on the bottom or somewhere in the middle but I’ll always make it through.

When it comes to my writing endeavors, there are days when I wonder why I bother to call myself a writer. Those days when I ask ‘why am I humiliating myself this way?’ ‘do I even have what it takes?’ ‘will I be rejected?’

A little known fact about me, I’ve only submitted one manuscript in my whole life. I’ve also only entered two contests—one of them was a popular Writer's Digest contest (the script I wrote for that was awful!) and another flash fiction contest that I entered twenty minutes after I wrote the story. For that one I made it to the top 100.

The inspirational manuscript I submitted four years ago was published. But, shortly after, my religious views changed drastically, so I never promoted it.

Then back came the suppressed idea that I could write a novel. I guess the only way to find out is to take the challenge. So, we’ll see.

I’d say that the moral of this little story is to do just that. Be brave. Take the challenge. If you can dream, you can probably do it.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes to help you fuel that dream…whatever it is.

“Without struggle, there is not progress.” Frederick Douglass

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” Albert Einstein

Go ahead. Be brave. See you on the other side :)


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