I had a revelation about myself the other day. An epiphany, if you will. I am "almost, but not quite" girl, and have been for the bulk of my life. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a striver, but let's face it, there's a component of that as well. With the exception of hitting the (second) husband and kid jackpot, I've spent my life reaching for something I just can't touch.
One example includes my tragic attempt to wear a matchy miniskirt outfit circa 1986. I closely watched all the other girls in their zany, brightly colored minis with matching off-the-shoulder tops and leg warmers. Earnestly believing that a) I had the social stock and b) the confidence to pull off this look, I saved some babysitting money and conned my mother into driving me to Deb at Castleton mall. After much mulling, I purchased what I considered to be a super cute black and red striped number. Heart pounding, I wore it, complete with red leg warmers and Keds, to school the next day. All day long, I endured snickers, boys flipping up the back of the skirt, and I felt like a complete moron. I was NOT kicky miniskirt ensemble girl. I would NEVER be kicky miniskirt ensemble girl, no matter how hard I tried. I was almost that girl - but not quite. A similar experience occurred not much later, when I attempted to wear my permed hair with lace looped around it, like Madonna. I've mostly blocked that whole incident out of my mind.
Through the years, I've lived next to the fashionable address, driven serviceable, but not fancy, cars, and almost (but not quite) replicated delicious recipes for parties. I've hung on the fringes of friend groups, tried to make a business take off, and scored supporting roles in plays (but never the lead). I work out all the time, eat sorta well, but can't manage to get the body I want. I almost get enough sleep, but not enough that I'm not constantly exhausted.
What makes a person be an almost, but not quite, sort? I've pondered this for awhile now. What is it about me that I can't get on the leaderboard at Orangetheory Fitness EVER, no matter how hard I try? That I'm always finishing near the end of a running race, no matter how fast my Hobbit legs carry me? That I always get offered the part of the quirky best friend instead of a leading lady? That I get sooooooooooooooooo close, but the promotion goes to someone else? I know this sounds like a big whine, but hey - I'm 45 years old. There's honestly not a lot of time left for me to become an international superstar. Does it have to do with confidence? An underlying laziness? Goals larger than my actual capabilities? Can I change it? What do I have to do? PLEASE help if you can.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.