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I Have Opinions!

Cookie Crumbs

Henceforth, this blog shall serve as the repository for my ideas that I’d like to share with people.  Let’s call them Cookie Crumbs.

I adore writing and I tend to go on.  I love to explore my thoughts and opinions by writing about them.  I often formulate my positions by the act of writing.  It feels fantastic!  Also, I’m interested in longer format (versus say, 140 characters or less) and I think my pearls (ha!) need a place to live.

Mkay?  Mkay.

Featured post

Purpose

So this opinion piece is pretty spectacular:

Seriously, NYT, talking about entropy in such a meaningful way, bringing science to emotional concepts.  Well done.

And this may be the best bit:

The purposes and goals we create are phantom bodies — vestiges of and memorials to the people, places and things we stand to lose and strive to keep. Purpose indexes the world’s impermanence, namely our own. Sure, my grandfather’s T-Bird will function well as transportation once I’m finished. But, that goal only makes sense as an enduring reminder of the stories and memories of him. Purpose is about loss, or at least the circumvention of it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We create purposes to establish happy endings in a universe where endings are simply that — endings.

Purpose is a concept that is tossed about a lot these days, particularly because of the dreaded millenials (not dreaded to me; I love every bit of them).  We are told that everyone is searching for purpose.  I really like this article because it speaks to everyone’s desire for purpose at work (and it aligns with my worldview).

So if purpose is this thing that everyone wants in all aspects of their life, what are we doing to find it?  When was the last time that you thought about your priorities in your life and how they align with how you spend your time, much less your purpose, something altogether bigger and scarier?

How deeply have you thought about your purpose?  I haven’t thought about it very much, to be honest.  It made my brain hurt to start contemplating it because a lot of what I was coming up with was my purpose as it relates to other people: being a parent, being a spouse, etc.  But to connect back to what Mr. Carter said, I am asking myself:  are these purposes giving me happy endings?

Nope.

I think it is easy and extremely tempting to say that your purpose is love, kindness, compassion, et. al.  I aspire to be all of those things, just as most of us do.  But those things aren’t my purpose, as much as I’d like them to be.  They’re also terribly squishy.  I don’t think my purpose is squishy.

Mr. Carter also said that purpose is about loss.  Circumventing loss resonates with me more than achieving happy endings.  What am I trying to outrun?  Sometimes figuring something starts with the negative:  we may not know who we are, what we want or our purpose, but we may damn well know what we aren’t, what we don’t want and things that we recognize as not-my-purpose.

So, what isn’t your purpose?

Here is a summary of my not-my-purpose list so far:

  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Compassion

I would also add that the following are not-my-purpose:

  • Retired roller derby player
  • HR Director
  • Home-owner
  • Conflicted Catholic

These are all part of my identity and priorities, I guess, but they’re not-my-purpose.

Ok, as I was writing this, I did come up with one that felt true, real and a little bit right:  motherfucker.  Is my purpose to be a MF?  I will think about that and get back to you.

If you know your purpose, I want to hear about it if you’re willing to share.  And dude, kudos!  You’re thinking deeply about your life and yourself and if I had a cookie, I would give it to you.  I don’t mean this in a negative way.  I straight up love cookies and you absolutely deserve one for doing the work.  I plan to reward myself with some cookies when I can dial this purpose shit in.

The universe may not care about my purpose, but as Mr. Carter suggests, I do.  Just as I should.

Change the programming

I think I’ve had a different experience than many folks in derby.  I’ve made the All Stars (the A-team for my league) and I’ve often not felt worthy of it.

I made the All Stars in my first season because another player, Her She Bad, tried out and made it but then withdrew because she was pregnant.  I rode the bench most of that season but I was still thrilled to be there, unbelieving.  That summer, one of our key jammers, Feist E. One, took a leave of absence.  Because of that I had the opportunity to play in a bout against Durango, which was a really big deal at the time.  I tried to rise to the challenge but in my heart, I was scared shitless.  That season contained so much growth and stretching.  Even if I was deeply uncomfortable, I was alive.  “I cannot believe this is happening, I’m not sure I should be here” is where my brain lived.  

My mindset was reinforced by our coach at the time, who told me that I wasn’t talented and that my skills came from hard work.  This was both a burden and a gift.  It was a burden in that it contributed to my own mindset of never feeling good enough.  I felt desperate, but that contributed, in part, to helping me work hard.  One of my coach’s mantras was “hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.”  I drank that Kool-Aid and it was delicious.  Derby was fun!

In my 2nd season in 2014, I developed some confidence in myself and the team.  We were up and coming and working hard for D2 playoffs in our debut season.  That confidence was crushed during a series of horrible events during the summer of 2014, both from a league standpoint and a personal standpoint.  The All Stars did go Kitchener for D2 playoffs, but we failed pretty miserably.  Derby was not always fun.  My perspective on that time is ever evolving (paradigm shift is fascinating!), but at the end of the season, I came to the conclusion that I was a one trick pony and sucked as a jammer.  I remember one of our refs, McSteamy, told me that he loved watching me as a jammer because I was smart.  I never believed him and said “jammers are bimbos,” etc.  That demonstrates how ridiculous I am because that is patently untrue.  But I develop myths to fit my narrative, like we all do.  There was a picture that captured me doing something great in Kitchener, which made it on the back cover of the Rollercon book in 2015.  And still, I did not really believe I was good at derby, even when there was photographic evidence.

I started 2015 and felt I needed to change.  I asked to become a blocker and was granted that wish.  I didn’t deserve that spot and felt that way for most of the season, but was lifted by learning blocking and incredible teammates, particularly my line.  However, I ended the season fouling out of our last bout in Dearborn and with a broken nose.  I mean, that is not the totality of the season, but see how I am telling this story?

I started 2016 with a bit more confidence as a blocker and excitement for our coach and team spirit.  But years of “I’m not good enough” thinking (and some other things) caught up with me and I had to step away.  Derby was not so much fun at that point.  That was a fucking wrenching decision.  I felt like a gigantic dick for leaving the team.  And then the team did amazingly after my departure, so what does that mean?  It may mean that I might be overthinking things.  

I love derby, I love it hard.  I can at least say that for myself.  I clearly don’t think I’m good enough.

If you’ve met me in person, I come across as normal (boring, in fact), reasonably confident and somewhat well-adjusted, if a little bit intense.  Am I those things?  Sometimes.  A lot of times, though, I don’t believe in myself and think I am just lucky.  Seriously, don’t you dare tell me I did something well, even if it is true and I need to hear it.  Because I probably won’t believe you.  I’d really prefer your criticism and not in a shit sandwich format.  All this, in spite of the fact that I know I have some talent and am not just a hard worker.  In spite of the fact that I come to practice and I like to work hard.  I get pretty fired up about derby, not on the same level as our current coach, Papa Whiskey, but I occupy some real estate here.  My passion adds up to something.  Maybe I did belong on the All Stars 2013-2016?

I realize that my brain sounds like a sad place, but this is just a sliver of my derby story.  On the whole, it’s goddamned glorious.  I am deeply proud of so many things, even that Rollercon back cover.  I have a place in the this sport and community.  So do you, even if you don’t believe it or know precisely what it is.  You too are good enough right here, right now.

We all struggle, even if we’re seemingly successful.  Some of us struggle a lot and continuously but we all struggle occasionally.  I think we land on the team/spot/place we should, even if we don’t believe it.  And what we want and who we are in this community is ever-evolving.  I would encourage everyone to keep their perspective on that.  I give good advice and should probably follow it.

I’m so grateful for 4 years of derby and I’m curious to experience whatever happens in the future.

Ask MF Cookie some MF Questions

Ask me anything.  I am not qualified to answer on most subjects, but I WILL have an opinion.

Here we go!

Dear MF Cookie,

I am going on a weekend long trip with my mom, big sister, younger little sister, and a bunch of their friends and one who I’d consider mine too, and all the kids. They are insisting on everyone buying unicorn outfits for a picture and I don’t really want to spend $20 on something I’ll wear once. What should I do? Buy and re-sell? My frugal, utilitarian world view is not allowing me to see this as fun or cute.

Yours,

Not a Unicorn

What’s up Not a Unicorn!

What did you last spend $20 on?  Dinner?  An extremely large bag of glutinous rice?  A 12 pack of beer?  How did you feel about those purchases?

I suspect that you are meeting your commitments and can afford this.  But you’re vexed about having another stupid t-shirt.  Fundamentally, this is not the purchase of a t-shirt.  That changes the decision from should I buy stuff or should I do stuff (in a stupid t-shirt).

This weekend sounds like an adventure with lots of silliness.  You want in on all of the that, even if you look terrible in the t-shirt.  Who cares if you look bad anyway?  You are having fun with your people!  Do you remember the last time you wore something ugly, stupid, silly, etc. and how great it made you feel?  You want that.

I mean, you’ve pretty much answered your own question, as you’ve already figured out that you can unload it afterwards (though you may not want to).

It’s cool to be frugal.  It’s cool to be utilitarian  And now and again it’s cool to be a MF Unicorn!

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