Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hey! Wait up!

This is kind of how I feel.

As if I'm always right behind the winners, yelling, "Wait! I can do that, too!"

As a child, I competed in gymnastics. I never placed in the individual all around until the meets that came after the qualifying meets for the BIG competitions. I'm not at all disappointed in my performance at the meet where I took 3rd all around and 1st on bars, and 3rd on, what was it? Beam? Vault? I don't know . . . I was 10, I think. But, even then, I knew that at this particular meet, my accomplishments were kind of, sort of, second best, as placing in the all around at this point didn't qualify me for the Regional meet or whatever it was called. I needed to clinch a spot for that meet months earlier. And hadn't. I'd missed that opportunity.

I remember my coach telling me that I had a choice. I could either compete in the Regional in order to help the team competition, but couldn't be considered for the all around, OR I could opt out of Regionals altogether in order to re-compete in a secondary meet where I might actually win the all around. This is what I chose. I chose it because I knew I would be compteting against other "second" gymnasts and that out of those "seconds" I could be FIRST. I could win the individual all around.


And I got one (and two huge ribbons). And I stood on the podium. But, I didn't advance any farther.

And looking back, I'm ok with this. I like eating junk food and having boobs.

However, I see this as a recurring pattern in my life.

I'm a pretty good actress. And yet, while acting professionally, I always had this lingering feeling in my gut about being just a step behind the frontrunner's in the city, even though I too had the goods to pull out a solid performance. That feeling nagged at me whenever I entered the casting director's office and overshadowed the truth that I had indeed been called in and selected for an audition. A feat in and of itself. Even so, I felt like the "catch up" girl. Second string. And while 2000 and 2001 were HUGE for me in terms of booking jobs, I never felt like I'd truly crashed the Chicago acting scene.

When I began teaching children's music, I realized that there was already this whole children's music scene that I knew nothing about. I sing. I play guitar (barely). Kids at SLC love me. And yet, I'm out of that circle. A circle, which in my mind, encompasses the best of the best in children's artists. The legitimate one's. Not the "wannabe's". Here again, I find myself a step behind in terms of really getting in on the success of being a children's music artist. Ok, not that I really ever wanted to be a kid rock star. My point being that I could have gone this route. I just didn't know the opportunity existed.

Now, I come to find out after alot of research that there is this HUGE network of mother's who blog. Mother's who have sponsors from advertisers. Mother's who receive a PAYCHECK for writing. There is even a Chicago Mom's Blog! There are conferences. There are segments about them on the The Today Show. There are hobnobbing sessions with mother's who blog. There's a book coming out this summer called the Best of the Mommy Blogs, or something along that line. The entire idea of this has me screaming . . .


Did I miss yet another wagon????????

Just as I'm figuring out what I would love to do, and am positioned on the cusp of generating a new form of creativity and income, I look up to see that the train has already left the station. I'm left on the platform looking into the windows of the women with their laptops, being paid for their ideas and stories. I knock on the window to get someones attention and write a note in the circle of breath I have left on the glass, "Hi. I blog too."

I don't mean to sound pathetic. Forgive me for the whine. However, I often wondered what it would be like to be at the forefront of something. To be one of those people who gets a killer idea and runs with it. Like the person who invented Post-it notes, or that genius blond woman with sickeningly sweet voice who started Baby Einstein in her basement and then eventually sold the company to Disney, or the inventors of the Pee Pee Tee Pee.


(Like the Pee Pee Tee Pee people. Every parent learns very quickly to cover that tiny and yet powerful member when removing a baby's clothing, lest one gets an uninvited shower . . . but the idea of a beautifully designed miniature flannel tent for such a situation? Brilliant. And THIS is what I'm talking about.)

Even now, as I write this, I think, "Good Lord, Jo, you sound desperate!"

And yet, that's what blogging is. It's an online diary, right? A place to spew my frustration. So, why censor the aggravation I feel about trailing behind . . . again? About getting an idea after someone has already had it and run with it? About missing another opportunity to initiate something new?

I don't want to merely crash the mommy blogging party. I don't want to lag behind like the younger sibling. For I am no longer content with being best at being second.

Ah! So maybe this means I'm best at no longer being content with being best at being second.

Oh, good grief.

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