March 6, 2021
My mom and I are close. Really close. We always have been. I’ve never been afraid to put my arm around her in church, hold her hand, or show affection. Even as a teenager. When I started high school I missed my mom so much I wrote her a note instead of my best friend. Granted I couldn’t give it to her until I got home, but I didn’t care. This was the year 1999…. there were no cell phones or texting. So needless to say when she gave me advice, I LISTENED.
I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life from her. I learned perseverance & the art of never ever giving up. And im here to tell you…. it F#4%ING SUCKED.
Let me tell you the story of how I never became a cheerleader…..
YES. ME. of all people.
Nope. Never happened. I never got to even touch a pom pom.
Allow me to tell you the tale of Anjalee the wannabe cheerleader. Pour yourself a glass & grab your tissues.
In the fifth grade I decided I had what it takes to become. a cheerleader. So I tried out! I signed up, went to all the practices, learned the routines, and gave it my best shot. So why is this a sad story?? Well let me tell you how you found out if you made the team. You got to spend the night at a sleep over with everyone else who made it!! Yay right?! So what’s the problem?? I have yet to elaborate on how my school let you know you could attend the sleep over.
After you got home from the try-out of your life…. excited, sweaty, & starving. I would shower, eat, & pack my bag for the slumber party….. and get this… WAIT BY THE DOOR TO BE PICKED UP.
I shit you not.
My school, at the time, had this insane way of doing things. They didn’t post who won on the door. NO. I had to pack my bags & wait. And wait. And W A I T….. We lived in the country, so not a lot of cars passed by. we lived up on a big big hill & you could see the headlights coming from a mile away. So I would sit there at the front door and watch the cars come & go. FOR HOURS. Until I eventually fell asleep, and my daddy carried me upstairs & tucked me into bed. My mom would quietly unpack my bag and put my toothbrush bag where it belonged. And she was always there for me by my side when I would wake up in the morning.
Only to realize I was still in my room, and I never got picked up for the slumber party.
Yes, this is sad, and very very real. This continued for the next 5 years. Same routine, same school, same outcome. Luckily I was very thin so I didn’t get too heavy for my dad to carry.
I wanted to be a cheerleader so so soooooo bad. I would sleep in a toe-touch position because I read somewhere you would have a better toe-touch if you did. I would brush my teeth and do calf raises , at the same time, because I heard you need strong calf muscles to have a higher toe-touch. I found a DHS Cheerleader shirt in the lost & found (I was only in sixth grade) at my YMCA & I slept in it every night for good luck. No one wanted this more badly than I did. NO ONE. I read books, subscribed to American Cheerleader magazine, took extra classes at my gymnastics gym, my mom even hired a TUTOR. Yes. my frugal AF mom hired a cheerleading tutor. You cannot even make this shit up.
I tried. I tried so hard. Sixth grade. Seventh grade. Eight grade. Finally Ninth grade I did something different. I went to all the practices for the try-outs. In my school we even had to take a written test about the sport!! I am not kidding. I decided I could not bring myself to go to the final try-out. I couldn’t put myself through showing up to only be let down again. I couldn’t fall asleep at the front door again waiting to be picked up. I couldn’t see the sad look on my moms face as she made me my favorite breakfast out of sympathy, AGAIN. I had had enough. I said ‘Mom Im not going to try outs tonight, I can’t do it. I can’t out myself through it again’ She asked me if I was sure, several times. And I assured her I was. I had made up my mind. Turns out not enough people showed up (for whatever reason) and every single person who tried out made the team.
Im not even kidding. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO TRIED OUT MADE THE TEAM!!!!!
Sooooo….. I was devastated. This was my life lesson on giving up too early.
The story gets even better, grab your tissues!
So it turns out I was never really a cheerleader. I was a dancer. I started dance classes in the first grade, and continued until I graduated high school. But my high school didn’t have a dance team… yet. So lucky me someone formed one my sophomore year!!!!! YES!! This was it! I would finally make the team because I was a dancer after all, not a cheerleader. So I try out…. and…..
I DON’T MAKE THE TEAM!!!!
Yep. Don’t make it. Once again my bag was unpacked. My dad did NOT carry me to bed, I was officially too heavy. But I did get my moms best sympathy pancakes in the morning. I really am feeling like my life sucks at this point. So where does this go from here??
I try out AGAIN. I knowwwww….. my Jr. year. I do it. I give it my all. I danced my heart out. I put my entire soul and everything I had onto that gym floor.
And I went home and packed my bag…. and waited. And waited…. and WAITED. * Pour another glass*
Then I see it! A car pulls up my parents steep driveway…. I MADE THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!
FINALLY!!!! This is IT!!!! I am jumping, CRYING, and beyond ecstatic. I get into the car & sit next to a girl who just got picked up before I did. I will never forget this moment. I slide in next to her and I am literally FREAKING THE HELL OUT so excited I can hardly breathe , and this girl says to me ‘What are you so excited for??”
You guys,.. I thought we were giving her a ride home!!!! I said to her ‘Ohhh! Did you not make the team??!” She said ‘well yeah!’ Okay so then WHY AREN’T YOU HAPPY?!!???
I seriously couldn’t figure this out. I came home the next day from my much anticipated sleepover and I told my mom what happened. I explained to her this girls chillax attitude & how she acted like this sort of thing happened all the time to her. Then I realized my most major life lesson. And my mom explained it to me like this; ‘ Anjalee… She (and others) always win. They always get picked up, they make the team every year. And good for them!! However that girl doesn’t know what it feels like to wait by the door and not get picked up. year after year after year!’
Its no fault of her own. I just realized she doesn’t know how it felt to NOT make the team. She’s never been on the other side. I mean yeah, she was hella good, she deserved it to get it! Im not saying she didn’t. But she doesn’t know what it feels like to wake up with that pit in your stomach of seeing your own bedroom ceiling the morning after try-outs.
My Senior year we got a new advisor for the team & she FINALLY decided to do it the humane way, and post results like the rest of America on the gym door. I did make the team my Senior year! It was the BEST feeling in the whole world. I waited so long for it & worked so hard. This did have s good ending & Im here to tell you to never ever give up.
Go to lifes final try- out. You never know if that was the time you were supposed to make the team!!
As my mom would say; “You can never appreciate the feeling of true success until you’ve felt the agony of defeat or failure”
Love you mom.
Love this Story. And I love your mom’s quote: “You can never appreciate the feeling of true success until you’ve felt the agony of defeat or failure”.
I don’t know who was picking the cheerleaders but if they couldn’t see your boundless enthusiasm, your beauty and obviously your determination they were blind. Life’s lessons can be hard but they leave impressions that shape us into the people we become. Look at all you have accomplished…….and appreciate in your life now. Wonderful story.❤️
Thank you so much Karen!!