The Olympic Spirit
I feel like there are two very distinct groups of people: those that dress up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, and those that don’t.
Clearly, and aggressively, I fall into the former category.
I don’t think I can emphasize how much I invest in a theme.
I’m talking American flag hoodie. I’m talking a hat and matching fanny pack that say ‘Merica. I’m talking American flag socks with capes coming off the calves. I’m talking a t-shirt with an eagle wearing sunglasses next to George Washington drinking a beer with F-16’s flying overhead.
And while I was spending my entire tax return on Amazon Prime, I realized that I now know the type woman I need to find: I need someone who will invest in a theme like I will. Someone who finds taking humor seriously a necessity, or who at least support my passion for silliness. I need someone who will get a large DeFazio’s pizza and let me eat almost all of it alone. I also need someone who will give me an actual topic to write about when I panic at 9pm on a Thursday night. Yet, here we are.
And since we are here, what’s that quote from the mystical land of Instagram...I feel like was literally just sent this tonight….oh right…, “Find someone who wants to invest in you, learn from you, see you win, support your vision, and fall in love with you daily.”
To that I’d add, “And is willing to dress like a jackass on occasions like the Olympic opening ceremonies, and/or plan overly detailed themed parties just for the hell of it.”
When you find that person, aggressively pursue them with little to no chill, and don’t worry for a second about some weird “what if” future world based on old wounds. Worry about whether you should play, “Us Against the World” or “Somewhere Out There”, and whether you should serve bacon wrapped scallops or splurge for a raw bar at your wedding next week.
See, that’s exactly what the Olympic Spirit is. The aggressive pursuit of something you believe in, even if it’s a little ridiculous, probably improbable, and somewhat annoying/concerning to your loved ones.
I feel like I’m something of an expert on the Olympic spirit because I went to college in Colorado Springs, home of The Olympic Training Center, and I toured it twice.
Well, toured it once, and one time went to loiter and watch the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling practice. Of course I did, wouldn’t have missed it. No one is *that* gay.
With all of the work I’ve done on myself (read: a nervous breakdown, an incredible amount of therapy, losing myself, finding myself, forcing everyone around me to read about it all once a week), I have found out a few truths about life:
<This is an excuse to make a bulleted list. I love a bulleted list>:
There should be enough time in your day/week/month for play - meaning, do the thing that keeps your brain glued together. Do you love dog puzzles? Cool. Are you, like, the best crafter this side of the Mississippi? Do it gurl. Are you learning to play the guitar for no reason? Fist emoji. Join a kickball league. Go swimming with a friend. Something. Play for the sake of it is scientifically proven to make us less nuts. Trust me, I read a lot about brain science crap.
Music changes everything. It wires the emotions that are so over-saturated that they’ve gone mute, to the parts of our brain that can speak for us when we need them to. Listen to whatever gives you goosebumps while you’re eating Chinese on a Monday night. Did you know that melancholic music is actually more helpful to us when we’re in a funk than upbeat music? It’s a whole thing about needing to feel empathy, or something. Google it.
Find your passion. And I don’t mean that in a Instaquote kind of way. I mean, actually go look for it. You feel strongly about something, surely. Are you really into your dog? No, I mean, *really* into your dog? (#betsy) Cool. I dig it. Do you feel the things about opera the way some people feel about their children? Holla at ur girl. Find something that makes you chatty. Then find someone who will listen do it, even if they don’t understand, because they can’t wait to tell you theirs. Passion is our own teeny, tiny Olympic flame in the deep dark caverns of our hearts.
Being passionate isn’t my natural disposition, by the way. I distinctly remember after college wondering if there was something wrong with me because I had no passion for anything. I felt like I didn’t know who I was any more. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror half the time, actually. I had changed, and wasn’t sure which end was up. There’s no magical end to the story, I had simply just kept busy and found things to do that I wasn’t terrible at.
I guess I kept putting one foot in front of the other in high school, then college, when I eventually became an RA, which I loved more than any other job I’ve ever had, until becoming a doula and writer.
It wasn’t until recently that I had a revelation about myself.
Do you know what I found out as an RA, and why I was so G.D. good at it? I realized that I am foam-at-the-mouth passionate about helping someone reach a goal that they thought they couldn’t. I am slap-a-baby dedicated to helping show someone that they can not just survive...that they can thrive.
I mean, I wouldn’t slap a cute baby. I’d probably slap one that looks like Benjamin Button though. Ugh. They’d probably have a stupid name too.
This is why I love the Olympics, and why I am more patriotic than anyone else in the room when they’re on. I mean, for the hilarious outfits, obviously, and because I just freaking get it. I’d love someone to wear my Broad logo to cheer me on every time I did something with my little passion.
It’s taken a lot of practice, tears, hair pulling, neurotic phone calls to friends, and straight up blind faith to put myself out there sometimes. But that’s what the Olympic Spirit is all about, man.
I aggressively pursued being a better version of myself. And before you applaud me for my Herculean efforts, let it be known far and wide that sometimes my aggressive pursuit meant just getting out of bed and checking the mail. Sometimes I’d go back to bed and cry. That’s still practice, and I kept doing it until checking the mail became brushing my teeth.
Practice becomes habit, after all.
It makes you sort of wonder what you can do in your little life to be more like an Olympian. I mean they clearly didn’t just wake up one day and decide they wanted to luge. I wonder if these athletes look at things the same way we do in our boring little civilian lives.
When I want to make myself better, I have a tendency to say things like, “Ugh. I’m the worst. I really should get up earlier and work out. I should stop eating a family sized bag of kettle corn whilst blogging in bed. I should meditate more. I should end that toxic relationship. I should stop sexually harassing my friends after one G&T.”
It’s sort of daunting to think of all of the shoulds, isn’t it?
I wonder if Tracy Triple-Axel wakes up and says, “Ugh. I’m gar-bagjje for falling again yesterday. I’m never going to be better. Something is wrong with me.” Maybe something is wrong with her. Maybe she has weak cankles. Maybe she needs her coach to tighten her laces. Maybe she needs to stretch more. Maybe she’s jumping too soon and needs to practice on her own for a bit.
Who knows? And I’m out of analogies. Unless those are metaphors, then I’m out of those too.
Here’s what I know: I know that there are few people in the world that were born ready to take on the unforgiveness of the world naturally. I also know that there are fewer people who are born with one passion running through their veins. Both of those things are honed. They should be nurtured and grown with a lot of attention and patience. And I think it’s worth taking the time to do so.
I don’t care if it’s becoming an Olympian or simply trying to find out who the person is looking at you from the mirror, I believe in us, man. I believe we can shape who we become. It’s hard and really uncomfortable at times, but that’s why we need to find the coaches in our lives. They can’t do the work for us, and I can promise that they don’t want to. But they can go with us as we slog off to practice every morning, and hopefully they pick us up and ice our bruises when we get knocked on our asses day after day until we get it right.
So look it, when I strap on my little American flag fanny pack tomorrow, I’m really saying, “You know what, little Figure-Skating Magee? I appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made to get where you are. I get that you probably weren’t born dying to spend your life doing this very specific thing. I wasn’t either. I love watching you, but not in a creepy way. Don’t pull a hammie. I’ll be here drinking a grapefruit beer and cheering you and your triple Salchow on.”
A small tiny, unrelated aside for my main squeeze and friend, Alison, who had one heck of a week: as I was asking for help tonight finding something to write about, we got to talking about what we would have if we could afford things like personal assistants. Alison said, “If I had a personal anything, I’d hire a personal arm scratcher”...as she reached out an arm to force her sister to scratch if for her.
She also said, “There are two types of people: those that pee in the shower, and those that are Goddamned liars.”
I swear to God I’d marry her tomorrow if she asked me.
Keep practicing, Al, I’ll be wearing my cape-socks for you tomorrow too.