Yes, it is!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Just Don't Seem the Type

Yeah, I don't seem the type to do a lot of things.  This post is inspired by a recent comment I received.  The dialogue involved a comment about hiphop vs. Zumba.  This other person included a comment about how hiphop is more professional than Zumba.  Then I commented how I like Zumba because it is for everyone at all levels.  Then this person says I should try hiphop because it has more booty popping to which I responded that my favorite zumba instructors include a lot of booty stuff. I was not, however, opposed to trying hip-hop.   Everything seemed cool.  That is, until I received a private message commenting how I don't seem the hiphop type.  You know, I don't mind when people say I should give something a try.  I'm game to try anything.  Well, almost anything as long as it doesn't involve something like skydiving or bungee jumping, or something that could potentially put my life in danger.  I have kids to raise, you know?  But, to tell somebody that they don't seem the type to do something positive is just plain wrong.  I am one for encouraging people to give something a try and I've become even more passionate about doing so in this past year after making some positive changes for myself.
For most of my life, I've always been told that I don't seem the type for whatever.  But I am here to tell you that appearances can certainly be deceiving.  I may appear to be somebody who isn't capable of much but I've been known to fool many people over the years. All because I didn't appear the type.  Whatever.
I've had to prove myself time and time again. And I get sort of tired of it but I'm determined that I will no longer be a doormat.
Early on, I had to prove to my dad (by adoption) that I was not going to be the unwed, welfare mother that he just knew I would become.  I have to assume that he must have thought that having babies out of wedlock was hereditary.  After all, not only did my mother have me out of wedlock, but my grandmother (Mother's mother) was already quite pregnant when she first got married. So, it was just inevitable that I would follow suit.  Right?  Well, I proved Dad wrong by getting my high school diploma and later on my college degree while I worked full time to pay a mortgage for a home that he never thought I would own.  All without becoming pregnant! That high school diploma was my ticket out.  No way was I going to ruin that plan by having a baby.  Years later, an aunt shared that she also thought that I would become an unwed mother.  I really don't understand that because I never gave anybody a reason to think that of me.  So glad that I was able to prove these people wrong.
That same aunt was surprised that I was able to hold a job for a long period of time.  Again, I don't understand why she thought so little of me.  Perhaps it had a lot to do with Mother's son who, still to this day, is unable to hold a job for any length of time. 
I remember telling a couple of people that I was considering joining the military.  Unfortunately, I believed the folks who told me that I wouldn't make it in the military.  I really regret listening to them.  I missed out on an opportunity there.  So that was one time that I proved others right with their opinion of me.  
I also proved a lot of people wrong by graduating with honors from high school and subsequently with high honors (3.9) from college.  And I worked full-time plus overtime while attending college. 
I remember being at a party in my early 20s.  I was all of 105 pounds but that didn't deter my excitement about the chance to try windsurfing.  When it was my turn to give a try, I overheard several people in the background say that I "can't do that, she's too little/skinny."  Guess what?  With just a little bit of assistance, I got the sail up and took off.  I even have a picture to prove it. I've been windsurfing just a handful of times since then.  The same with jet-skiing.
I was told once that I didn't seem the type to ride roller-coasters.  Well, I used to be a fanatic and even had a yearly pass to Busch Gardens so I could ride all I wanted to.  Unfortunately, I no longer ride them because they make me dizzy.  Darn ear problems.
I remember when I first started working for a major corporation (worked there nearly 15 years), the supervisor explained how I might eventually earn bonuses.  Eventually. A couple of my co-workers took it upon themselves to let me know that it would be awhile before I would qualify for a bonus.  Awhile. You know, since I was new and still learning the job.  And I probably didn't seem like the type who worked hard enough to earn bonuses.  But I was a hard worker and very dedicated to my job.  And.... I earned my first bonus during my first quarter there!  Again, I had to prove people wrong.  And they weren't happy.   Of course, having such a guilt conscience, I felt a little guilty at first because I felt a little bit as if I took away from their bonuses.  After that, I consistently earned bonuses and made a few enemies along the way.  Then I started speaking up for myself (yes, I was known as the quiet one for awhile) and many of my co-workers were really thrown for a loop.  I didn't seem the type to defend myself.  Imagine that.
I proved a couple of people wrong when I studied for and received my Florida real estate license.  I never became active at selling real estate.  The main reason I even thought about selling real estate as a hobby was because I was so interested in looking inside the really old, beautifully remodeled houses around the Tampa Bay area.  I wanted to explore them.  But I was too busy working full-time and overtime and studying for other classes.  But I remember the two people's comments when I started to study for the license,  One of them said "Oh, Sammie, you can't do that."  And the other person essentially told me that I won't pass the test.  Oh yeah, I had to prove these people wrong.  Again.  So, I finished the course, studied for the test, and drove across the state to take the test on my appointed date.  A test that more than 50% of test-takers failed the first time or two.  After I handed in my test, I waited patiently for my results.  While I waited for the results, I couldn't help but wonder if I was about to prove these other people right instead of proving them wrong.  Because, whoa, that test was brutal.  Finally, I heard my name called up and I was handed a sealed envelope with the results inside.  I was so anxious because I had just witnessed several people leave disappointed that they would have to re-take the test if they wanted the license.  I was elated to see that I had passed and not only that, I had a very good score for a first timer.  Score!  I could not wait to get home and call these two individuals to tell them the good news.  The first person didn't seem too happy with the news.  Not sure why because she, herself, was a real estate salesperson.  The second person sincerely seemed happy for me and admitted the reason why she didn't think I would pass.  She thought I studied things too deeply. I'll admit that she may be right on that.
I could list so many examples of how I've had to prove others wrong about their perceptions of me.  But, I'm now going to share how I've proved myself wrong.  In good ways.  In ways that even now, I feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure it's all real.
One of the first ways that I proved myself wrong was the accomplishment of earning my college degree.  When I first started taking classes, I felt so worn down by this point that I really did not think I would make it.  But, I did.  And I did it all while working full-time (plus over-time).  And I won a scholarship to finish my junior and senior years. That scholarship was the reason I was able to graduate free of student debt. 
I surprised myself by buying my first home while in my mid-20s.  Up until then, I really thought that I would never own my own home because in my mind, home ownership required a huge income.  The process was so nerve-wracking and I really doubted my ability to actually own a home. I was ready to back out of it all.  But I trudged on and am so thankful that I did.  Oh, I miss that place so much.  I drive by it every time I go back home to Florida.  I miss it so. Here is a picture of my very first home that I bought.

I could offer other examples of how I've proved myself wrong.  But the biggest example is that I became a wife.  And a mother.  I always doubted my ability to be a wife.  Growing up, I didn't have the best example of a marriage.  In fact, the idea of marriage terrified me for years.  I would change my mind about it at times but I always ended up deciding against the idea of marriage.  I rarely allowed men to get too close to me for fear that they would have ideas of marriage.  I also swore that I would never have children.  I just knew that I did not have the ability to be a mother.  But just as with marriage, the idea of children occasionally crossed my mind but deep down inside, I just knew I could not be a mother.  Having said that, I have always had a heart for adoption and I thought that maybe one day I would adopt an older, needy child.  When I think about that, I don't know why I felt more capable of parenting an adopted child over a biological child.
Now rewind 9 years ago next month when I finally tied the knot.  (And in the meantime, I probably proved to a lot people that I wasn't gay after all. You know how people are if somebody isn't married or have children by age 25)  It isn't easy being a wife all the time.  Sure, I miss my single years at times. I was able to do whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.  But I do not regret becoming a wife to my husband.  And it's been a wild ride for sure. 
A couple of years after we got married, our precious little daughter joined our family.  Wow, now I'm a mother. I was nervous, excited, scared, happy.  But all that quickly gave way to doubt.  Again.  Especially, when it became apparent that I had a huge challenge on my hands with a colicky baby on top of dealing with post partum depression.  But somehow we survived.  I may not remember much of that first year, unfortunately, but we got through it.  And motherhood wasn't so bad after all.  But as much as I loved my little girl, after that harrowing first year, I was not so sure about the idea of adding another child to our family.  So imagine my shock when I became pregnant with my son.  I vacillated between fear and excitement and wondered how I was going to handle two children.  Two children!  I remember the time (way before Ben) when I took a fellow military wife to take her vehicle to an auto shipment center in preparation for a move to Germany.  Jackie was not quite 2 years old.  Edina had a baby and a 3-year girl.  I was watching all three children while Edina was inside the office taking care of paperwork.  Edina later shared that while she was taking care of the paperwork, she had observed me taking care of all three children and thought that I looked so natural as a potential mother to three.  Ha! Really?  I just remember feeling overwhelmed caring for all three kids by myself. Perhaps because they were all so close in age?  I don't know but I do know that I had a hard enough time dealing with my own high maintenance daughter and just could not fathom having another child. I just brushed Edina's sentiments away.  But as fate would have it, now here I sit, with two beautiful children.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  Especially when my precious 3-year old son comes over to me, moves my hair away from ear, and kisses me next to my ear. He just tickles me every time. He is so cute and I just love it.
Motherhood has been full of challenges so far and I know it will continue to be challenging.  I may never win Mother of the Year ( or even Wife of the Year) but I love being a mom more than I ever imagined.  There are so many ups and downs (maybe more of the latter at times) but I am proving to myself that I AM capable of being a wife and mother.  My kids are my world and they give me purpose. 
It's hard to believe that it's going on 9 years since I began my journey into marriage and motherhood.  And I still have to pinch myself often to make sure it's real. 
I know, this is another long post but this is something else that has been on my mind for a long time and the recent comment spurred me to action here.
For those people who doubt the abilities of others, shame on them.  For those who discourage others from trying something positive, just because they don't seem the type, shame on them.  We should serve to encourage others to try something new.  I think I'm going to find a hip-hop class.  Who cares if I don't seem the type?  It can't hurt to try it.  Right? 
So, for those who are interested in Zumba but say you're not coordinated, or that you don't know a thing about dancing, or that you are heavier than those people they show on TV (yes, I've heard that one, too), get over it and come to the party.  Most people there could care less about how much/little you weigh, what you wear (as long as you're covered in the right places), what you look like, what your body shape is, or even how coordinated, er, uncoordinated you are.  We are all there for a purpose; to have fun while getting fit.  The beauty of Zumba is that it is for everyone and the moves can be modified to your own comfort level.  Just get over your doubt about it and give it a try. 
I will admit that I doubted my ability to keep up with Zumba.  I also doubted my ability to be able to get fit again and lose weight.  I went to my first Zumba class because I was curious what all the rage was about and to give it a try.  I was hooked right away.  And I was terrible at it, at first.  But I kept at it and am able to follow the routines and keep up relatively easy now.  If I can do it, then you can do it, too. I'm more fit than I was during my skinny years.  And I've lost weight the weight that I had gained in the last couple of years.  Another thing that I had doubted that I could do. 
Oh, and those people on TV?  They're professionals.