Softball

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Tonight I admittedly left a fun hang out at a friend’s house (one quarter into the Saints game) for my blankie, a Sex and the City marathon, fat-free pudding cups, a glass of wine, and my own little pity party.

…And you know what? I’ve decided I’m ok with that. I thought about it and decided that even with all my rules about gratitude and positivity, I’m still allowed a bad day or bad night… or even a bad couple of days. It happens, and sometimes, things just kinda suck… And that’s ok… It’s what builds character and perspective and sweetens the good times/ things.

This evening, a very intense process, lasting over a month ended for me and I did not get the result I was looking for. A part-time job that seemed promising and exciting and even quite likely in the end did not pan out. 2 telephone interviews, 2 interviews with 6-person boards, strategic plans, and all the bullshitting and politicking involved in the arts/ non-profits resulted in nada- nothing. Rejection. That was a tough pill to swallow. It’s one thing to send off a resume and cover letter and never hear anything, but after a month of meeting people, talking, interacting, planning for a group’s future, and getting oodles of positive feedback, it stings a bit more. To make it from the large pool of candidates down to the top 10, then top 5, and then to be 1 of 2 and loose it? Major, major bummer.

It can be disheartening to feel like something was about to “really work out” finally, and then it doesn’t. Granted, a part time job wasn’t going to solve my employment stress or needs, but it was gonna be a hopeful and encouraging sign. It’s risky to put your whole self into a pitch and plan for an organization; and to then get the “thanks, but no thanks” stings quite a bit.

After I got the phone call this evening, I texted my parents, brother, and a few close friends who had been “in” on the process and were anxious to hear the verdict. “My people” know me well, and I got text messages back full of empathy and support, but no one called right away… They knew I wasn’t gonna roll with that. I needed a little space, a little time. The resounding message was, “their loss; something’s coming for you; keep on going… this wasn’t what you’re meant for.”

…And while there may or may not have been a few tears this evening, I believe that. While I feel like I’ve been unemployed “for forever” and I had a nice little attack of the “not good enough’s” this evening, I am not dissuaded. I am ready to keep going, to keep looking, and to keep putting my best foot forward. Something is gonna come. It WILL happen… I just have to be willing to hang in there, trust my process and my choices, and keep working.

The text I got back from my Dad summed up the attitude pretty well: “Sorry” (2 minute pause) “Something is gonna happen. Follow up with (insert name here)”.

I love that about him- he’s never looking back, he’s always forward thinking… What’s next, what are we going after, do you want it bad enough? He’s also my biggest fan, by far. …Almost to the point of being embarrassing. He’s one of those people that can visualize what he wants, name it, and then just make it happen… failure is just not an option. I like to think I at least got a little bit of that.

One of my favorite memories with my dad isn’t actually something I remember, but rather a story he tells all the time about he and I (again, equal parts cool and embarrassing).

When I was about 13, I got the brilliant idea that I wanted to play organized team sports. I had never done this, I have virtually no depth perception, certifiable coordination issues, and was about 8 years behind schedule for being a “beginner”.  But my Dad was a sports guy, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could be “his athletic kid” and make him really proud.

I picked softball. An interesting choice… But in typical Dad fashion, he took me to sign up and signed up to coach at the very same time. We had a month or so until the first practice, and me being me, I was ready for us to start practicing…. After all, by the time the season began, I needed to be the best player on the team, duh!

Spoiler alert: I never was the best player on the team… at the height of my sporty-ness, I was mediocre at best.

We went to the sports store, got me a glove and a bat, and purchased a few balls. My best friend WAS a really excellent softball player, and she was ready to help, too.

One evening, my Dad and I went out onto the levee behind our house. We had maybe 5-10 balls. After a few minutes of showing me proper stance and swing, he walked back and we began. He would pitch, I would swing.

Naturally, seeing as I was just starting, we weren’t expecting me to look like a slugger, but we figured I’d get it together pretty quickly.

But I didn’t.

We could not have been more wrong…Unbeknownst to me, my Dad kept count. As he tells the tale, I didn’t care. I wasn’t moving or going inside until I got it. I had just decided I was doing it. There was NO question. It was a fact. Ball after ball after ball whizzed by. He didn’t show his frustration or exhaustion, and I didn’t either. We just kept going.

Apparently, it took hours.

His count was up to several HUNDRED pitches.

Finally, I hit ONE. The bat and ball finally met one another.

We found success. It wasn’t easy or natural- it was hard-fought. But the sweet, sweet victory on the levee that night was worth it. …And it was quite informative. By the time I finally hit the ball, I knew a whole lot about what DIDN’T work. …And while I was never up for MVP, I grew to be a consistent batter on my team.

My dad can tell this story far better (and with far more embellishment) than I. He tells it with the pride of a battle hero- and he kinda was that day. To hear him describe it, I might have won a Nobel prize, but all I did was hit a softball on the levee behind the house…. After several hundred failures.

When I got his text tonight while having a little moment of self-pity and self-doubt, what I heard from that message about 10 words long (which offered sympathy but quickly pressed forward to the next step) was: … Girl, you’re on the levee. You’re like 50 pitches in, at best. You’ve played this game before and come out on top… You gotta hang in. You gotta keep batting… Because you WILL get a hit. It might take a while- longer than you liked or bargained for… but it’s gonna happen.

I walked onto the levee and began this round of pitches on July 22 when I hopped in my car and drove across the country. In many ways, I have already had several hits. But I just have to stay focused.

I can’t feel the frustration. I can’t be distracted by the other things happening or bad balls whizzing by… As my dad always said, “Just keep your eye on the ball, and keep your feet firmly squared on the ground.”

I’m finding my swing and hitting my stride… and I am going to get a hit soon. I just have to hang in there and keep batting with all I’ve got. In the words of my dad, “Swing like ya mean it. Get mad at the ball.”

Job Market, you may have won this round… but it’s on.

“Eat, Pray, Love” happened to be on TV tonight… I loved the book, and the movie was cool. This quote at the end of the movie really spoke to me tonight, and I personally see a lot of truth in it right now… Given my week- what I wrote about in this blog and what I didn’t- this quote is incredibly relevant.

“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest”- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or internally),and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

With a heart full of gratitude, I’m trying to do just that. 🙂

Have a great week!

-TM

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2 responses »

  1. I read this aloud to your Dad tonight as I thought he would enjoy hearing it and he does NOT blog….he did enjoy reliving those fun times but when I finished he looks at me and replies seriously…..”when is she going to try out for The Voice?” Really, The Voice! Clearly, he does see his daughter as a star. Can you imagine a world, where every person had someone believing in them like your Dad believes in you? As Louie sings…….what a wonderful world-

  2. Pingback: Finish Line; Starting Line « Going Up!

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