I remember what cheerleading taught me….

(photo credit)

Some of you may wonder what cheerleading and the main photo of this post have in common. Believe me when I say, A LOT!!! After the last month or so of anxiety ridden day and nights wondering what to do, I finally took a breath, prayed, had others prayed, and the memory of what happened during 9th and 10th grade reminded me to slow down and take a step back. I remember the last time I did something hastily and without really thinking it through and what the results were. Enter the cheerleading reference.

I never have been an alpha girl. A mean girl. None of the cliques found me interesting enough or fitting enough to really “fit” in. But, I was a dancer! I loved to dance and learned to do basic gymnastics also. I remember sitting in the gym one day during the football season of 9th grade watching the cheerleaders lead the Pep Rally. All my friends who also did not have an identity but longed to be a part of that “cool kid club” went on and on about how they were going to be a cheerleader. It was the topic of so many lunch room table conversations, locker meetings, and standing around trying to be noticed that I got sick and tired of hearing about it. Why you ask? Not once did these conversations ever actually involve me. These friends talked around me about trying out for cheerleading like it was not even a possibility that I would want to or even could try out. Now, in their defense I could understand how I may have given off the impression that I was defiantly not interested in being a part of “that” group, but what really made my red hair turn fiery was the attitude that I couldn’t do it. The fact that I could dance circles around these girls and I could do gymnastics just seemed to fall by the way side.

So, what does a young, red-head with a temper and full of pride do? Well of course the first thing I thought is, “well I’ll show them”. That’s right, the dark horse signed up for cheerleading tryout for the Varsity squad. Gasps could be heard throughout the halls for days. Not only was I a nobody, but I was a nobody that used to be an overweight nobody and that is how EVERYONE still saw me even if I had bones sticking out of my neck. Yes, the pride in me of knowing that I COULD dance, and that I COULD do gymnastics, and yes, I COULD be a cheerleader put my name on that sign up sheet.  I showed up, rocked it, did a back hand spring, (the only one I might add) and sat back and waited for the results to be posted after school got out for the summer.

I can remember my mama driving to the front of the school where you could see the flyer taped to the front doors flapping in the wind. I casually got out, because I really could care less either way. Of course I wanted to do it to say I could, but if I didn’t make it my life wasn’t going to be crushed. This wasn’t a Lifetime movie moment. A few other girls who had devoted their lives to the Junior Varsity squad were pulling up at the same time. They of course spoke in a “why are you here, you know you didn’t make it” kind of tone as we walked up the steps to view the list. There it was, about 2 names down, MY name. “Uh”, was really my first thought. Then it was replaced with a little giddiness and I can still remember the faces of those other girls as they had to say, “you made it”. Not sure if they were congratulating me or questioning me. And so it started.

Endless fundraisers, nightly practices, weekend practices, poster making, ribbon making, the list goes on and on and this was just the summer BEFORE school started again. Then it was decorating the gym, gifts for the football players, and of course the Pep Rally. Every Friday night!!!! And we had to wear I hair all the same with the same ribbon. Really? What had I done? Was proving that I was a good dancer worth all this? My saving grace, so I thought, was that we had a TERRIBLE football team and our season would be over soon. Then someone broke the news to me that we also cheered during basketball games too. I could have died!

Finally the end of basketball season! It was over. I do have the “I used to be a cheerleader” comment in my back pocket for those conversations when you need to blurt out useless information. And, I did get a chance to cheer where High School playoffs are played because our squad was the first squad from our school to win Regional Championship and advance to State Championship (no such luck there). But, the most important thing I learned is that pride will get you into trouble. I should not have been so prideful about being able to dance and having the “I’ll show everybody” attitude. That prideful thought led to a year of misery!

While I rushed around trying to figure out my mid-life crisis degree, registering for those classes, and figuring out what I would do about work I was reminded of this. I thought about why I wanted to go back to school. The answer is, I do want to go back to school, and it has nothing to do with pride. But, I was rushing to do it in such a short period just to prove that I could. That has everything to do with pride. I’m not exactly sure who I was trying to prove it to. Probably the same people I proved to that I could cheer-people who really don’t care in the first place. So, after thinking about this lesson and reflecting on my urgency to get school done in two semesters I’ve decided to just slow down. I will still go back to school. I will still get out of the jar. But, I’ve learned that the view in the jar isn’t too bad and it’s not as bad as my view on the outside would be if I only escaped using my pride.

Oh so close to being out of the jar…..


(photo credit)

So, last week, I think it was last week…I’m really not sure because of the carousel I’m always on seems to be moving faster and faster these days, but sometime in the not so distant past I wrote a post about how I felt like a bug trapped in a jar concerning the occurrences in my life at this time.  I know my current post photo does not have a bug or a jar, but let’s face it, I’m not a bug kind of girl. After what I thought was a pep talk and hormones possible subsiding, I could see my way out through one of the air holes created by the ice pick in the lid of that damn jar. So I thought, I will not be a bug, I’ll be a fairy, or a butterfly (yes, I know, still a bug/insect). Much more appropriate for me than just a bug. And then I found this wonderful picture of a REDHEADED fairy trapped (okay, the bell jar is just turned upside down, but come on folks, use some imagination) and I was hooked, because you guessed it, your Southern Belle is a fiery redhead. Now that I’ve set the scene for what I thought was the upswing on this being trapped thing, let me invite you inside to the events of what has really happened.

Like I mentioned, I had a really good talk with one of my closest friends and also with my daddy, both of which help me sort through some of my trapped feelings. Sometimes I just need to talk things out and have someone else listen to tell me what is really going on. So towards the end of last week, things were looking up. I could see the possibility of squeezing my fairy/butterfly self out of one of those air holes in the jar and I knew that I would be just fine. I could feel the air fill my lungs again and my chest start to relax. But this week brought on its own set of challenges for trying to escape the jar and now, fairy/butterfly or not, I feel like I’ve been knocked back to the bottom of the stick and some of the air holes have been closed up.

I’ve learned, not a lesson I didn’t already know, just one I didn’t know I would have to learn again, that ……..well, I’ve drawn a blank. I don’t know how to put this eloquently, how to write it in pretty words, or how to make it sound anything but other than what it is. I’ve learned that some people are just mean, spiteful, hateful, and will keep you trapped just because they can. Yes. I am an adult. Yes. I’ve learned this lesson a long time ago, however I thought I had chosen wiser this time in my selection of not just friends but work associates as well. Now, I seem to be learning that the company you work for, no matter how “good” they seem to be, will keep you trapped. Even if you are one of the best fairy/butterflies they have. Simply put….because the can.

So, I’m kind of back to where I started a week ago, although not quite as depressed and melancholy about it. You see, there are several things “these people” may have miscalculated when they “thought” they could keep me trapped. True, they do hold the lid to this jar. True, they can keep me trapped for longer than I anticipated. But….follow me here people. I will squeeze out of one of those air holes. Several things happen when you tell a stubborn, redheaded southern belle that they are trapped. The first is I do cry. The next is I get mad. The last is I stay mad enough to stick it out and do what they said I couldn’t do. I thought, well, even if you squeeze through the air holes your wings will be too tattered and torn to do anything with. You’ll never be able to fly. But then I read this…..

brokenwing copyThat’s right. If my wings didn’t get a little tattered and torn along the way, I may be eaten by these predators that want to keep me trapped. But once I’m free I can still fly, and I will.

Trapped, like a bug in a jar


While waiting on my mama recently to come out of a store, I observed two wasps in a brawl, or mating ritual, I’m not sure which. In either case, one wasp was left the victor and flew away freely while the other suffered a leg amputation and began to hobble around the sidewalk. I continued to watch as I waited, simply because these mundane events of life are calming to my overworked brain, and the injured wasp continued to stumble and eventually ended up in a sidewalk crack. My mama came out of the store about this time and I voiced my condolences to the wasp by offering to “write a witness statement” if needed while my mama insisted I get in the car before someone called the police on the “crazy lady” outside. 

In light of recent events, I can relate to the trapped feeling of the wasp. Of course, he may have flew away right after I drove off. But the bugs we trapped in jars as children didn’t always fare so well. No, I’m not dying a slow, airless death. At least not that I’m aware of, but I am trapped. I have nowhere to go. That’s what it feels like. I’ve never felt so suffocated by the lack of choices before. Maybe the lack of realistic choices. That stick put in jars for the bugs….that’s what I’ve got. One end or the other. Neither end really offering an immediate, viable solution. No leaves in sight. I must’ve eaten all those when I was a younger, naive bug and I thought the leaves and air were endless. 

Yup, that’s me. A bug trapped in a jar. I can see out, see where I need to be, what needs to happen, but I’m stuck in this jar and I can’t seem to make it happen. Time is running out I fear. I do fear that the time spent being trapped I will miss the meaningful parts of the little bug outside the glass. When I was the younger version, I would have flown away. Now, I fear I reached my peak and I’m stuck in the crack of life.