David McMahon over at authorblog on his Weekend Wanderings, posed this question for anyone who wanted, to answer on their own blog before the weekend. So, since I seem to know so much about myself, I'm happy to answer.
My abilities have been underestimated since day one of my life. When I was about 18 months old, The Brown Recluse (my mother) began telling everyone that I'd had polio. She always told me that I had to wear corrective shoes for the rest of my life or my toes would curl up and cripple me again. She said the polio had left me with flat feet, but I was lucky that I was even able to walk. It left me totally self conscious about my feet and I still am to this day. (There is no therapy for this.) She took me to doctor after doctor to see if anything could be done for me, but they all said the same thing. They told her nothing could be done so to leave me alone. She never gave up until she finally found a doctor who preached the same crap she did. Now, I realize that she must have been flirting with him unmercifully to elicit this kind of devotion.
However, as flat as my feet are, made me an excellent swimmer because it's almost like I have flippers on. I kid you not. In Junior High School I made the swim team (in Tulsa @ Edison Jr. High) and I was really good, but we moved before I could win any races. She didn't let me go out for the swim team at the next school. She also told me I'd never be able to wear pretty high heels like hers because my feet were so flat and ugly. I wore saddle oxfords until I graduated from high school. Guess what? My feet are still as flat as pancakes, no better, no worse than they were at birth. Uh-Huh.
It wasn't until my own daughter was born that I realized that was all just another lie. The Brown Recluse lied about me having polio because she could not bear the thought of anyone knowing she'd given birth to a less than perfect child. I mean, her first child (my brother The Prince) was perfect, so what happened with me? Well, when Snooty daughter was born with flat feet, I realized that it was just another one of TBR's lies. Still, in her eyes, I have always been damaged goods. Whatever. I did not pass this affliction on to my daughter.
Besides, I never listened to TBR about the corrective shoes and went on to have many happy years of wearing gorgeous high heels. In grade school, I hated the saddle oxfords so much that I saved my allowance for weeks and finally rode my bike up to the dimestore and bought a pair of plain white Keds for $5.00. I would hide them in the shrubs that lined our driveway and every day as I left for school, I'd throw my corrective shoes into the bushes, grab my tennis shoes, and off I'd go to school. I remember being the happiest I'd ever been in my entire life because I was just like everyone else and not the freak who wore saddle shoes & lace-up Hush Puppies. It seems amazing to me now that a plain white pair of $5.00 tennis shoes could create such happiness in a child. When she finally discovered what I'd done, she beat me within an inch of my life. (Well, that's how she put it, not me.) I was punished for my crime, but it was worth every single solitary moment.
I went through many years of this kind of torture from The Brown Recluse. She often told me that I was fat, ugly and stupid and that I would never amount to anything. I have spent roughly 40 years of my life proving her wrong. The one thing I was really good at, she never praised or encouraged me in any way. I was a great skier and had what it takes to be a skier on the pro circuit, but she took care of that by sending me off to boarding school.
Many years later when I was living in Aspen on my own and working for the Aspen Ski Corp., I was once again a strong enough & good enough skier to make it on the pro circuit. Two weeks before my first big race (The Benson & Hedges Cup), I was free skiing and caught an edge going about 40 mph. The result was that I tried to pull it out and went tumbling down the mountain in a cartwheel of snow, skis, and flying limbs, I came out of it with a torn cartilage in my knee. Which ended my skiing career. Just. Like. That. (It was many years later that I finally had surgery.) But you know what? At least I tried. I went for the gold ring and got injured before my first try, but at least I was going for it.
Once I moved to Texas and met Mr. Snooty, numerous *friends* told me there was no way I'd ever land him. Thirty years later, I still have him. Most of them are divorced & remarried at least once. Guess they just didn't have what it takes.
It didn't stop there, however. Whenever I have taken on a new project (like chairing the Cancer Drive, being an officer on the Cancer Board or being PTA President, etc.), I've had *friends* tell me there was no way I could do it, so I merrily went about my way proving them wrong. I've been doing this for 30 years now. None of these people ever seems to *Get It*. Everyone always seems to think I'm incapable of doing much of anything, which is, of course, what makes it so freaking fun to prove I can do the many things they say I can't. And, I don't just do them. I go over the top and do the best job anyone has ever done... plus win awards for doing it. Icing on the cake, dear readers. Icing on the cake with a cherry on top.
So, I love it when someone underestimates my abilities because it rocket-launches me into proving them wrong and being the best at whatever. I love it! Just tell me I can't do something and I'm there bright & early to prove you wrong. As a matter of fact, when I'm told I can't possibly do something, that is like fuel for my inner fires. Yeah baby! It makes me work even harder at proving the nay-sayers wrong. And I do love to prove them wrong. Well, in everything but golf, that is. Grrrr....
I suppose the thing I find most humorous is that I have never told anyone else they couldn't do something. Ever. I'm never anything but encouraging and hopeful for them. I've never understood why people have always done that to me. Needless to say, none of those people are considered my friends at this point. You're my friend until you doubt me. I don't have room for nay-sayers in my life any more. Probably why I don't have all that many friends. The world is too full of Doubting Dylans who should be cheerleaders for their friends, but find it impossible to do so. In my honest opinion, these people should either seek psychiatric help or grow a conscience and beg forgiveness from everyone they've ever hurt. Like that will happen anytime within this mellenium.
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