I’m not sure where this came from. Maybe it was my old high-school track coach telling me that if I quit, I’d never finish anything in life. (Hey, Mr. S and Mr. R…turns out I CAN actually finish something, including two marathons, half a dozen halfs and six relays, give or take).
Maybe it was the instructor who berated me for “letting” my daughter quit, saying that I was teaching her to give up when things got tough.
To those instructors, I offer this:
A child who knows how to pursue their own happiness, that knows their own heart and can let go of situations that are abusive or dangerous and move on to something better is a child who will surpass us all, because they’ve learned that other’s expectations are not as important as their own mental health and physical safety.
Let’s do one better and become this kind of person in our own lives, starting today.
Let’s be the parents that recognize happiness isn’t measured in instagram likes and crappy plastic trophies.
Enjoy…or get uncomfortable. Either way.
Born into arms which penetrate hearts
Inject the belief
we were meant for greater things, pal.
Capable of great feats,
(greater than that loser Tommy two doors down)
Set expectation high and don’t ever
Settle for less.
Aim for the stars kid, and you’ll at least hit the moon.
So we aim, eyes glancing back to expectant faces
Waiting for the brag worthy photo to be posted later
They’ll surely love me then.
By the measure of counted likes and tiny hearts floating
to the top of screens they rarely look up from.
We will excel. We will be better.
We will hurtle faster into adulthood,
And pound on depression’s door with a signed note,
Tug along our anxieties to the bus stops and soccer practices.
Bite nails, inhale, drink it down,
and give the captain of the football team
whatever he asks for.
We’ll aim for the stars
hurtle our broken bones and burst ligaments once more
like they’ve pulled a catapult’s lever to expunge us again and again
If it only would mean
They would love us.
Maybe when we get on the Varsity team,
Maybe after our third ACL replacement before graduation.
Maybe after the fourth ivy-league school accepts.
Maybe when we’ve lost enough fat to crown the top of the pyramid
In tiny skirts designed to make it all our fault.
Watch our faces fall every day
As we are shoveled into cars and
Paraded down sidelines,
Dressed in tutu’s and reminded not to eat too much
Sent to the psychologist because
‘she just can’t focus’ in a force-fed day
Gorged on Latin and dance, soccer and flute,
Math club, robotics, and the triple threat; tap.
Future problem solver
Can’t even solve her own problems
Pop a pill, darling, it will help you get our dreams.
Never really understanding that the only real problem,
Is the one that tucks us into bed,
Sighing, resigned, that maybe tomorrow will be better.
The ones that feed us breakfast and
Don’t search the backpack for the needles,
Because “he’s born with natural talent”
Twisted Sister could have taught you something
about their trite and jaded ideas
screaming you are not enough
Just as you are,
Just ask you like.
You will excel,
Like they never did.
You will severe their noose of tough love
Drop it in your sweaty gym bag,
burn it with your test score report and tap shoes.
Do not let them force you
to relive their spent dreams.
Be all. Be nothing.
Land lightly in the space between…
The space that is you.