December 2nd, 2009

PinkButterfly

Childhood Triumphs

As many of you know my dear friend J.P. and I workout in the mornings. What you don't know (because I have yet to share it with you) is that J.P. is a great story teller. I dare say she is better than I. Seriously. I snort and cry when she tells a story. Anyway, yesterday she regaled me with her childhood triumph. Without revealing too much of her story, I will give you the outcome. She won a race against the elementary school mean girl. Seems generic. But here is what made her story unique. J.P. wore two-tone brown cowboy boots when she whipped said mean girls fanny in gym class. I totally gave her a high five for that victory. I mean, anyone can win a race in sneakers. Only a choice few can achieve such greatness in cowboy boots.

So this made me think about my childhood triumph. Let's visit my 6-year-old self. To my mother's chagrin I was a precocious tomboy. I mean a climb-trees-refuse-to-wear dresses-dig-in-the-dirt tomboy. My dad had completed his service in the Navy two years prior and at the time he served as a small town police officer. Needless to say, he was (is) all about personal safety, self-defense, and football. He is a tough guy and he wants me to be a tough girl. I am an only child, his little girl. When my mom left us alone, my dad taught me how to defend myself and how to play football. I bet you can guess where this is going. One day my dear friend Brandon announced he and some friends were going to play football after school. I said, "I want to play." After all, I was tough. One of Brandon's friends laughed and said, "Girls can't play football." Them were fightin' words. I stepped off the bus first, and the second Mr. Girls Can't Play Football stepped off the bus, I punched him. Yeap, sure did. We fought. My only physical fight ever. And I won. In that moment I became a feminist and didn't even know it.

Before you celebrate (or tsk tsk) my behavior, I must say that my mother was FURIOUS when she hung up the phone after listening to an angry dad. A dad, who was none to happy his son got in a fight . . . with a girl . . . and lost. I wonder what miffed him more: the fight, the loss, or the fact that I was a girl? Given this was small town Texas, I have a solid idea about what made his blood boil. But I digress. My mom hung up the phone and called out all three of my names in a tone that forshadowed my death and a well thought out burial. No body, no murder. My dad beamed when he found out I stood my ground. After all, the boy was asking for it. "You can't go around limiting what people can and can't do based on your own closed-minded view," he had said. If only dad would have hid his pride, my mom would have remained in the dark about our private boxing lessons. Then again, when she found out, she lobbed some of her fury his way. We were both grounded. But I didn't care. I still had a victory. And I got to play any game I wanted to play from that day forward.

As I mentioned above, that fight was my first and only physical fight. But it was not the last time I came face-to-face with someone who tried to tell me what I could not do. Unfortunately, I have run into many such people. And each time I have fought (either with words, formal complaints, or mediations) for my right to decide what I can ahieve. I am happy to say, I remain victorious. Oh, by the way, I still love football and I am okay with wearing dresses. I even like pink. Who would've thunk it?

So, here is your opportunity to share. What childhood triumph helped shape who you are (or simply makes you smile)?


Hugs and Encouragement!