Lose Yourself

If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment...would you capture it?

I fancy myself to be a woman of contradictions.  For example, my taste in music is eclectic and varied, which I generally think is a very good thing.  But one might question my love of the rap genre when I am known to condemn language, spoken or sung, that hates on or marginalizes entire groups of people due to their race, sexuality, or gender. 

But dammit, I just like some of it.  Despite myself.  In spite of myself.  So, I surrendered to my own contradictions awhile back and just let this be one of the mysteries that make up my personal self.  One not to be solved, but rather to be embraced and enjoyed.  

Along with the music.  

Luckily, I had a mentor.  A co-worker and colleague that I liked and admired.  We became friends and remain so to this day.  But her hidden talent is the ability to quote, word for word, every song that Eminem has ever written or performed.  It's quite uncanny given she wears stylish wrap dresses, three-inch heels and perfectly applied lipstick.

She is the Maestro of Marshall Mathers III.  The Savant of Slim Shady.  For my purposes, I shall call her Amy.

Amy taught me a lot of Marshall's songs.  Not least of which was "Lose Yourself", the mainstream pop hit from the soundtrack of Eight Mile.  I thought of it recently when Tomas and I were discussing my options after graduation.  I'd already applied and interviewed for one position that I was certain would be "it".  "It" was not.  I then changed course and applied for other positions outside the field I had been working in for most of my professional life.

All of this made me listless and prone to moping.  I'm not good when I don't have a clear direction or goal in mind.  I'm not one to sit on a fence, unsure of my next move.  Right or wrong, I'm moving in some direction.  I'm decisive.  Instead, I found myself in a rare state of dithering.


So, finally, Tomas did what Tomas does best.  First, he took me out to dinner.  I like that.  I love to cook, but I also love when someone else cooks for me.  Usually, they have to be paid, unfortunately.  But I'm not complaining.  So, we were sitting down.  We ordered some wine, which I had started to sip.  I felt myself unwinding.  I have this awful habit of tensing up my shoulders and I began to feel them relax and drop down where they belonged.

He gazed into my eyes like a good, loving husband.  He toasted my glass.  He does that.  Every single time we drink wine, he toasts my glass before the first sip.

I looked at him questioningly and he just leaned back and said, "Why don't you write?"

Huh? "What?"

"Honey.  It's what you love to do.  Figure out how to get paid for it.  Write.  Take time out and write.  You are not in this world to work in a corporate setting.  You're different.  Be different.  See if you can make a living out of it."

One shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment...would you capture it?

I was gaping at him like a fish.  Astounded.  Shocked.  My stomach felt all weird, nervous but excited. I wasn't sure if I should just grab him by the ears and smack a kiss on him or take him to the Emergency Room to get a CT of his brain.  So I just stared.

He calmly drank his wine.

"Don't you think you can do it?"

Now those are goddamn fighting words.  And he knows it.  I snapped my mouth shut.  I narrowed my eyes.

Would you capture it?  Or just let it slip?

Now, I do disagree with Mr. Mathers on some points.  I think we get a lot of opportunities in life.  I think we get more than one shot; in fact, we get lots of shots if we just recognize them when they're in front of us.  I know I certainly have.  But that doesn't mean you keep throwing them away.  And it doesn't mean you don't recognize a special thing when it's staring at you.  Or gazing over a nice bottle of Pinot in a cozy restaurant.

Having said that, it's not so easy.  Temptation will come.  By this, I mean the temptation to flock to what is known, what is comfortable, and what is safe.  And frankly, this is all understandable and maybe the sane thing.  After all, the known, comfortable and safe can be translated to a comfortable job with good health and retirement benefits.  Oh, and a paycheck.  It also doesn't help that every single family member and friend is out there rooting for me to get said job with benefits and paycheck.


"Um, no, I'm not pursuing a career in Economics, Healthcare, Banking, or...anything related to that.  I'm writing.  
Yes.  Writing.
Yes, I feel fine.  Really.  No, I'm not drinking.  Yes, Tomas knows.  Yes, he's supportive.  Yes, I know how lucky I am. Mmmhmm. I'll keep that in mind.  No, I don't think I need to 'talk' to anybody but...okay.  Sure.  I know it's nothing to be ashamed of.  You want me to look up what?  Why? Oh, okay.  Sure.  I'll check that out.  Just in case I get bored and want to get out of the house.  Mmmhmm.  And want to earn some money.  Yep, I know.  I like money too."

So, it's hard.  On most days, I get a little fluttery sensation that feels a lot like panic.  I'm afraid that I might be missing out on other opportunities.  What if there's another "one shot" out there that I'm ignoring to do something that I may never succeed at?  What if I never succeed?  What if, what if, WHAT IF??

Well, it won't kill me.  No, really.  And the good news is that I'm sure I will have plenty to write about with the fatal amount of rejection I'm inviting into my life.  So, there's that.

In the meantime, I'll be sitting here.  Typing.  Plodding through.  Drinking espresso shots.  Talking to my cat.  And every day I start to think that the fluttery sensation that felt a lot like panic yesterday is actually pure and undiluted joy.  It's such a rare and precious feeling, I think.  True joy.  I think it makes it worth the risk.  After all, what's the worst that can happen?  I fail.  I have to tell my three readers I failed. And someday I'll tell the story of the time I went all in and tried like hell to be a writer.  And fell on my ass.

Then I'll go get that job in economics.  Or healthcare.  Or banking.  Or something.  Because I don't think we get just one shot.  Not at a job anyway.

But we do just get one shot at life.

Would you capture it?  Or just let it slip?

Oh, I'm going to try like hell to capture it.

Because I've always believed one thing, long before Eminem stood on a stage, rhyming lyrics he'd written to superstardom.  Before Amy stood in stiletto heels rapping out his words to that addictive guitar backbeat in our office long ago.  No, his words merely echoed the words my grandmother told me every time I doubted whether I could achieve something.  Be something.  Dream something.  The woman who raised me up from a child to a woman raised me to be fearless.  These were her words before they were Marshall's.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

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