Friday, May 30, 2008

Has Anyone Ever Underestimated Your Ability?

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.


scargosun said...

Yea! I love your posts about triumph over adversity! I don't think I ever had anyone telling me I couldn't do something and I don't ever tell people that. How is it that people feel the need to tell you what you an and cannot accomplish? Maybe everyone just thinks I'd beat them up if they told me I couldn't do something. ;)

Daryl said...

Flat feet ... me, extremely high arches and long ucky toes .. but I dont give a rat's patootie, I love open sandals and wear them!

I have been reading a lot of posts based on/inspired by David's question and so far everyone has taken the negative and turned it into a positive.

Lots of strong people blogging!


Holy Crappers said...

Snooty, what a wonderful post. I think You are GREAT. If we were neighbors I know we would be good friends. Has anyone ever told you that you couldn't cook? Because if sure as hell looks like you can sista friend.If you are not doing anything next week #2 is coming for a visit, hop on a flight, we'll pick you up at the airport.
Oh Oh and I must not forget, have fun at the alien's house tomorrow, I so want to be a fly on the wall.

Insane Mama said...

I do believe that your brown recluse may be related to mine, it kinds stinks when you are constatly being put down. I'm pretty careful what I say to my teenagers, but I sure THINK a lot of nasty things

Anonymous said...

I like our flat feet :)

Anonymous said...

Geez the TBR annoys me to no end! I can't even stand it...what a sad, sad way to be!

Great story and Hey, I betcha can't win the lotto...go prove me wrong!!!! Wouldn't that be fun!

Snooty Primadona said...

scargo: Thanks girlfriend! You would think at age 55 people would have figured me out by now. You know, Challenge me & I'll crush you LOL!

Daryl: OMG! I've dreamed about having high arches all my life. Hell, I'd settle for regular arches, lol. Yes, I'm learning that the blogosphere is a very healthy place. Nothing like free therapy.

#1: I wish I did live next door to someone that liked me, lol. That would be so much fun! I cannot imagine what that would be like. Be careful what you offer. I might take you up on it. Then what would you do? Hehehe...

insane mama: Unfortunately, I'm afraid you & I have lots of brothers & sisters *out there* who were emotionally and/or physically abused. As long as we don't continue & pass on the abuse, we are doing our part. BTW, my sympathies to you for the teenager in your house. I promise she will like you so much more once she leaves for college.

daughter: You are so damn funny! I love you kiddo.

Snooty Primadona said...

Cathy: Hmmm.... she annoys the hell out of me too & I haven't spoken to her in many years, lol. Okay, I'll just go buy my lottery ticket now, lol.

Anonymous said...

Snooty, The one favor TBR appears to have done was prepare you to take on the world. I think you would have been resilient no matter what though!
I'm so glad you've taken on the world kicked butt. What a saucy thing you are!

Snooty Primadona said...

asthmagirl: The way I see it... TBR did me the biggest favor of my life and didn't even have to name me frank or something, lol. The biggest favor she did me was sending me off to school so that I didn't turn out just like her.


Flea said...

You totally rock. :) Sounds like you need new friends though. Your old ones are jealous party poopers.

Pam said...

Keep proving all the naysayers wrong. You are the poster child for walking out of dreadful circumstances into the light. Huzzah!

Snooty Primadona said...

I have to tell you that all those people, the nay-sayers were the ones who led supposedly normal lives and they just didn't want to hear about my past. So, I never said much, lol. Jezzuz, most of the people I know here grew up with parents that were like Ozzie & Harriet. Not much to relate to with them.

Okay, I'm going to get back to my pre-Alien Party post. I have pictures that I'll show now so that I can get the battery re-charged. Also, I have the older digital loaded & ready to go too.

david mcmahon said...

It's not often I read a post twice, but I read this again and savoured it - for strength of will, for courage, for determination and for fortitude.

You've made my day by passing on that strength to your readers.

Treasia Stepp said...

It still astounds me to think that a parent can say such things to their children. But Snooty you've proved her wrong each time.

Snooty Primadona said...

David: You've made my day with your kind words. Thank you.

treasia: I know. Sometimes I allow myself to think about it too much & it really starts to piss me off. But, guess I'm a survivor after all. ;-P

Cath said...

That is such a brilliant post. I did this theme too but chickened out and took it from a different angle. I admire how you tackle this without a hint of bitterness. Well done - on your achievements and on the writing.

You knew you could do it anyway - right? *wink*

Such courage, fortitude and downright determination. I take my hat off to you.
I'm over from David's where you got POTD (so well deserved). Glad I came.

Cath said...

Hey Hey! Same descriptions of you as the 'great' David M! (now I've read the comments). You know what they say ... Great minds.... Fools seldom differ. Wonder which we are. :0/

SandyCarlson said...

What family life does to us! Good for you for overcoming these experiences. You're amazing. God bless.

(I' here via David's.)

imbeingheldhostage said...

You overcame the brown recluse bite-- that says enough, don't you think? Well done-- and congrats for making David's elite Post of the Day!!!!

brneyedgal967 said...

With flat feet, you're better able to step on the Brown Recluse and SQUASH it. With a high, lady-like arch... you're liable to get bit by it.

God knew what he was doing.

You're alright in my book.


The wife said...

I'm reading through some of your old posts and this one really hits home with me. I don't think my own mother is/was as bad as TBR, but she ranks high on the horrible mothers scale. But I'm like you, tell me I can't do something and not only will I do it, but I will do it and knock your damn socks off in the process! I constantly get doubted and I feel like I am always proving myself to others.


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