Seriously, Lighten Up

Posted Oct 11 2017, 7:15 am

Sometimes I seriously take myself too seriously. Do you know that feeling? When you start to flail into a downward mental spiral until an evil, self-sabotaging voice in the back of your head yells, “Release the Kraken!” Well, my Kraken was released on a tennis court last week. 

For the most part, I’ve learned to keep that nagging voice at bay. But sometimes…when I feel I haven’t done enough on my to do list, including going to the grocery store which has been on the list for a week, and I’m feeling guilty and I’m feeling like a bad mom because my children don’t eat enough home-cooked meals and I’m feeling like I’m behind even though I have no idea what I’d be behind on. The pressure to be better at…everything…starts to build.

And then I walk onto a court and act a clown.

The day of my match started off fine. I marched out ready to play. Then things went south. My attitude turned on me (and my partner)–when we were winning! WTH. “We’re fine,” she said. “We’re not fine,” I retorted. “We’re up 4-2.” “I hate 4-2.” “This is fun.” “It’s not fun!” I actually argued with my partner about having fun. Good. Grief. Despite my little fit, we managed to win. Mainly because my partner possesses the savvy skills of a police negotiator, and she talked me off the ledge. I owe her a very large spicy margarita. 

Later that afternoon, I started wondering what my problem was. Why had I taken myself so seriously during what should have been a fun day of tennis? Because I believe our pasts our filled with tiny morsels that explain our present behaviors, that’s where I went digging for the answer. And I found it. A little morsel. A memory from my childhood and field day in particular…well, every field day actually.

When that time of year rolled around and all the other kids were giddy with competitive excitement, I was burdened with dread. Every year, I lost at field day…on purpose. You see, if I won (which happened occasionally because I just couldn’t help myself) a certain kid who regularly tormented me would belittle me, tell me I was showing off, stuck up, and refuse to speak to me for days. For a young, shy girl who wanted this person’s approval (for some ungodly reason), this was devastating. So if I was ahead in the 50-yard dash, I’d pull up. If this person jumped a certain length in the broad jump, I’d purposefully under jump. If I started to lead in the sack race, I’d trip. I became a pro at losing.

But those restraints are gone now. I don’t have to trip or pull back. I don’t have to sabotage myself. I can win. Sometimes, though, my balance between winning and losing is off, and I end up tapping into a competitive spirit that’s run amok. 

After my moment of enlightenment and after thinking back again on my behavior on the court, I started laughing…quite hard. Sometimes, it’s all you can do. Then I laughed with teammates via text messages loaded with gifs of the tennis scene from Bridesmaids and Serena Williams smashing her racquet.

And then I felt better.

This weeks mantra: Nobody’s perfect. Lighten up. Let it go. And for goodness sake…have fun!



10 responses to “Seriously, Lighten Up”

  1. I’m like that with my book, being a father and a spouse. I take it out on traffic and surfing. I need to lighten up too. What in the hell is perfect anyway?

  2. Barbara L McGowan says:

    Living in the moment
    leaves a lot to go unsaid–
    history of our pasts so meant
    have got us where we’re led.
    Life that has infused us
    with accomplishments we’ve made–
    though present days confuse us…
    accomplishments never fade.

  3. Rachel Thomas says:

    I can relate! And to use one of our favorite quotes…”loosen your bone, Wilma”!

    Love you fits,flaws and all!


  4. Kathy Regan says:

    Your incredible!!!! I love this….there’s nothing wrong with winning!!!! Be proud and play hard and most of all have fun!!!! My absence from the sport I love has given me new found appreciation for the court. I hope I can carry these lessons forward!!!! 😘😘😘

  5. Linda thompson says:

    Loved every word of it! Your little girlfriend was
    very controlling n jealous of you, so glad you out
    grew her!!

  6. Me too, Linda! As always, thanks for reading!

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