ambition

D …. D is for Decisions

As always, I really need to commit to this whole writing thing. I get sucked in to the daily minutia that I sometimes (ok, all the time) forget to think about, and be, me. So much so that I’m pretty sure this is the longest running alphabet blog game ever. In the history of this alphabet game. And blogs, for that matter.

D was a hard letter for me. I had so many choices and not enough blog space (unless I wanted to have D v 1.0, D v. 1.1, D v 1.2, etc.) It’s kind of like when you are playing a new person in the game Scattergories, and you roll a “D” … you tend to come up with a few answers for each category trying to think what could get you points, or at least cancel out everyone’s guess. But when you play someone new, you are playing someone who has had a vastly different experience in life: where they grew up, the countries they know, the names they have been exposed to. All of it makes for a great game. This is kind of what I’m experiencing right now. D. D can be for Dumbledore, dementors (i.e. depression), Detroit, D&D, Decisions. Decisions, so many decisions.

My first draft of this blog post tries to incorporate ALL of those D’s. I decided to just stick with one topic, even though I could talk about all of them.

I guess that settles it. Decisions and Deciding.

It’s no secret that I’m depressed, and that I am battling my own set of dementors right now (WHOOP! Tied them in anyway.) I just hate when they get in the way from me making sound decisions in my life, because ultimately, they are screwing with my success. Beachbody has a great motto: Decide. Commit. Succeed. Making a decision can be easy (example “I want to improve my fitness and start eating better”). Committing to it, however, well, that can be a challenge (“pass me the ice cream!”) BUT – if you committed to your decision to eat better and improve your fitness, then you will start seeing results … and eventually, you will have succeeded in your original decision. It’s such a beautiful thing …. until those pesky dementors resurface, demanding that you eat chocolate to feel better.

The decisions that I have made in my life have brought me to this very moment, and they have shaped the path that I will walk on in the future. And what a glorious future I see for myself! And it all started with 1 decision.

And when times feel bleak again, and my decisions are starting to look more like moments of delirium, I just have to remember Dumbledore.

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A is for Appetite ….. just kidding, it’s for Arnold Schwarzenegger

I am pretty excited to jump on this bandwagon, albeit a bit late. The premise? I’m not entirely sure it’s the same for everyone. There is an A to Z Challenge, where bloggers can subscribe and blog everyday of a month (i.e. using a letter of the alphabet every day) on a particular subject, such as April’s challenge on the subject of Survivor. My friend Rachel is also doing this challenge, and her blog (Under the Tapestry) is incredibly insightful. She got the idea from her friend Lara, who also makes themes for her challenges. Her latest one was “A Romantic Alphabet,” as Lara is a “romance author (with a scientific twist).”

MY TURN!

Starting this challenge was a bit difficult. I wanted to pick something fantastic for the first letter of the alphabet; but, the more I thought about it, the more items I had to choose from. Do I write about my sister Amanda? My academic aptitude? How I was this close to joining the Army? So many choices for just one simple letter. Naturally, I decided not to do any of these, and instead focus on my appetite and how that brings me to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

When I was younger, I was average build for a child. That is, until I was sent to live with my grandparents in Arizona when I was 6. It was then that my father, whom I was running from (long story that involves a lot of repressed memories …. that I am starting to remember), started telling me that my mother made me fat. I was 7.

This is me before being sent to live with my grandparents:
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[From L-to-R: Reychl, Amanda, and Me …. we always dressed alike, whether we wanted to or not]

You see? Pretty average. I also had some straight hair at this age … which quickly changed by grade 4. But by grade 5, not only was I ‘fat’, I also made a friend who tamed my hair.

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[Me, grade 5. Not fat and awesome hair. Is it bad that I think this is one of the best photos of me ever? I truly felt beautiful this day. Every boy in my class fell from their chairs when I walked in, and the girls stared and smiled. It was MY day and it was the BEST day.]

But, I say, what do you expect to happen when a child lives with grandparents? I missed my family, I was miles and miles away (seriously, I lived in Arizona and my family lived in Michigan), and I had no friends. So, I watched Top Gun every single day. Seriously. Every. Single. Day. I would even fall asleep next to a family portrait (of my aunts and uncles) staring at my mother. When the Easter Bunny came, he hid my Easter basket behind this portrait. He knew my sorrow. So, to recap, I missed everyone, I ate, and I sat on my butt watching Top Gun. Every day. …. until my sisters and mom joined me and we all caught chicken pox. It was beautiful misery.

But, I digress (did I mention the ADD thing?).

My dad was a pretty fit guy, and he was from ‘the old country’ (i.e. the former Czechoslovakia, the now Slovakia). When he lived there, he helped his family make marble caskets (which stayed above ground) and built many of the houses in the city (then village). He needed to stay fit just to survive his job; his life.

I don’t have many photos of my dad, but this is one of them.
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[My dad and me, probably in 1982, which made him 32 years old. With all of those muscles.]

I keep talking about my dad like he isn’t here anymore, and that’s true. He died in 1998 (I was 16), and it still weighs on me. I still cry. So … call it “daddy issues” or whatever else, but Arnold Schwarzenegger reminds me of my dad. The accents aren’t entirely the same, but the humour is. And those muscles.

Arnold was completely driven from a young age; he wanted to make it to America and he knew bodybuilding was his ticket. My dad didn’t want to be in the military, he fled, and he ended up in Canada. Close enough.

I miss my dad. I miss him so much. Sometimes I wonder if it’s silly or unfounded because of my past, but I can’t help it. I miss him and I love him and I would give anything just to see him again and tell him those things. But I can’t.

So …….. it became a goal of mine to own every single Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Don’t laugh. I’m being serious. Plus, laughing would be mean, and I just poured my heart out. I have most of them; Arnold is credited for 54 titles, in which two are announced (hello, Triplets anyone?!), one is post-production (Terminator, YES!), and one is completed, making it 50 titles that are available. Some of the 50 titles also include television appearances, etc, so there aren’t really 50 movies. I need less tan 10 to complete my collection!

LESS THAN 10.

So, there you have it. I feel strange getting some of this off my chest (if you will), but hey, maybe this blog will be therapeutic.

I look forward to letting you all get to know me.

Covet thy neighbor’s ambition

“All day long they would be telling up their shares or grooming over the result. I have said we were pretty fortunate. But an observation fails to be made: that in this world, in no business that I have tried, do the profits rise to a man’s expectations.”
-Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson

But is this a bad thing, to always crave more?

To give you some additional context with the above passage, there are these 2 non-pirates aboard a pirate ship. One of them made the above observation after they plundered another ship, and all of the pirates constantly count their treasures wishing they had more. So, as a pirate, they wanted more, but as a non-pirate, they felt rich in their stolen wares.

I understand you should be content with what you have and all that you achieved in your life but what about having ambition? Is this different? Does this not count?

From the perspective of the pirate, stealing goods is a major part of their job description. They have to do it to prove to other pirates that they are indeed the pirate-iest of all pirates. Kind of like street cred. But, if you are some poor person who is job-shadowing a pirate, that kind of lifestyle would seem pretty amazing. You get to see a lot of new places, and you would have more gold then you ever had in your life.

Let’s step away from this novel and come into the real world. Let’s take me, a lowly graduate student who slaves away in her lab (even on weekends, and on holidays, and every morning, afternoon, evening, and sometimes late evening) for low wages in exchange for all of this knowledge I am gaining, as an example. Is this where I want to be for the rest of my life? Absolutely not! I have so many dreams and ambitions, that I probably won’t get around to achieving half of them before I die. I will want a job somewhere … and then, I will want to be promoted … and then, I will want to be promoted again … and then, I want a raise, and even more responsibility. When I have moved up as far as I can go within my job, maybe I will consider leaving it so I can gain more experience somewhere else. If at any time I lose my drive, I will steal it from my neighbor, just like the pirates. They won’t even know it, but I can become quite competitive, if the right circumstance presents itself … like me not making progress on my project, and my neighbor making a ton. I will start working harder, reading more, you name it, I will do it (well, except sabotaging, I am very positive person and I would NEVER ruin someone else’s life intentionally.)

My point is, never settle for less. You should always want to strive to be the best you can be. No matter how lofty your dream may be (I mean, hello! I want the stinkin’ Nobel Prize, for pete’s sake!)

So go out there, and do something for you. To better your spirit, to better your life, to better your family’s life, to better your job performance … just go out there, and do something for you.