Monday, March 1, 2010
Discontent is the First Step in the Progress of a Woman or a Nation
Just minutes after I found out I hadn’t made the All Stars this go round, I received a distressing call from my mom in which she relayed that the lawyers handling my dad’s wrongful death case need to see us immediately for an urgent matter. It was after this that I found myself pondering the following rhetorical question:
If we knew the end result of all our actions and attempts, would we still attempt them or act on them?
Now and again I’ve read stories about people who have the ability to memorize and recall everything they’ve ever experienced on every single day of their lives. You can give a person like this a date – June 20, 1982 – and he or she will be able to tell you exactly how that day played out. Sounds pretty cool, initially, but the horrific truth behind this “gift” is that just like these people can remember every detail of every day, they can also vividly remember every emotion as if the scenario relating to that emotion is playing out before them for the first time. Luckily for the rest of us, as time fades and memories become fuzzier, so do the emotions we had relating to those memories. The emotions tied to memories are dulled, and we never again experience the same emotions with as much gusto just by remembering them. This may be why we repeat our mistakes – we don’t remember the magnitude of the bad consequences. If did remember them, however, and we knew that those feelings were a possibility when we were about to make an attempt or act in some way, would we follow through? Or would the possible negative emotion keep us from acting?
In the case of the wrongful death suits, I can’t help but think that all the work and all the pain it brings up just isn’t worth it. Well, let me qualify that by saying it isn’t worth it for ME. The only benefit of successful outcome I’ll ever see is my mom being awarded some cash-money that will help support her through her senior years. That is indeed a benefit. I guess I’m just sick of reexamining what is possibly the most painful incident in my life over and over and over again for years on end. I don’t want to think about any part of it in detail anymore! It’s horrific, and in the grand scheme of things it was a teeny-tiny part of how I remember my dad, and I’m pissed that I’m being asked to spend so much time recalling the details. The whole thing, however, is beyond my control. As long as my mom still wants to go forward, I’m tied to still participating. It sucks, but short of faking my death there’s nothing I can really do.
In the case of not making the All Stars, I’m not surprised, but I’m still disappointed. I dislike the feeling of disappointment and rejection, and I am a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t bounce back immediately and make the team like I’ve seen some people do. In a way, I am almost luckier to know I’m blow that 20-person roster than to have made the roster at the 20th spot, because I don’t think I’d have been honest with myself about where I stood, and I might not work as hard as I will now.
If we knew the end result of all our actions and attempts or if we knew the real possibility for a bad outcome with negative emotions attached to it, we might never do anything, and to me, that’s not really living. Living life to the fullest incorporates risk, and to a certain extent it’s risk that gives us a thrill like no other. It’s a good thing we don’t have accurate foresight or the ability to recall emotions with accuracy, because if we did we’d never take risks, we’d never experience the thrill you get when you do take a risk, we’d never get the chance to surprise ourselves with a favorable outcome, and probably most importantly, we’d never fail, which means we’d never grow. If discontent is the first step in the progress of a woman or a nation, then failure is the first step in trying harder (not the last step in trying at all). Everyone fails at some point – it’s what we choose to do after we fail that matters. For me, I’m going to suck it up and take a day off work this week to go see the lawyer, because there’s no use fighting the inevitable. As far as improving on my derby skills, I have a good list of feedback from the try out to start from. I’m going to push myself harder to correct those things that led to the captains’ decision, I’m going to commit to attending more practices more regularly to help my skills improve, and I’m going to try again. As long as I’m trying, I’m moving forward, and that’s all I can do.