This was a post I wrote on my blog on MySpace back in 2006. I was thinking about it recently, and considering the Olympics are back this year, it was only right to watch all my old gymnastics tapes and movies again, though this time, since the VCR is dead, I had to use YouTube. I still have the old tapes from my childhood, so if I ever come across an old VCR at a pawn shop that doesn’t cost a bloody fortune, I’m snagging it.
Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a gymnast. It was my one goal. The only thing I could ever talk about with my family, and the one thing I always wanted to do. I wanted it so bad. If I could take back some things now that would help me to change that, I would. My aunt started me in gymnastics, when I was like 5. I didn’t wanna follow the rules, or go along with what everyone else was doing, so I threw my little tantrum and quit. Boy, do I regret it. Not only because it was my dream, and I was just being a little bitch, but also for my aunt, who had spent money into something and I was being a brat.
I still grew up with big dreams though! I bought all kinds of books of gymnastics moves, and practiced them in the basement of my stepfather’s house. I read all the books I could about the Olympics and the popular gymnasts, like Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Nadia Comaneci, etc. My stepdad even built me a small balance beam! Haha, I guess I thought I was hot shit. When the Magnificent 7 won the first ever team women’s gold medal for the US in the 1996 Olympics, I taped it. I couldn’t stop watching it. Watching Kerri Strug fling herself twice over the vault and land on a bad ankle just to help her team to win. Now that was sportsmanship right there. I wanted to be just like them. To be honest, I still do. But I’m starting to face reality. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it. I have taped tons of hours of gymnastics from television, like the VISA American Cup, Olympics, World Championships, anything you can think of. And sometimes, just sometimes, I drag em out and watch them. Such as last night.
I got out my tape of “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes”,which is a Lifetime movie about gymnastics. Of course, I cried like a little girl. But for part of the movie, I WAS still a little girl, wanting the flip around the floor, all eyes on me, and win medals! Part of the film, I was just me. Looking back at what may have been if I had only had the talent, money, and the interest [when I was 5, of course.] really saddens me. I know I wasn’t going to be great ever. But just to LEARN those things! How awesome that would have been! I taught myself everything I learned, through trial and error. I was on the gymnastics team in 8th grade for part of the season. But no, me? I chickened out right before I went to do my floor routine. Guess I should’ve stuck with it in kindergarten, and maybe I could’ve gotten over the nerves. If not, I still would’ve known I at least had somewhat of a shot. That’s all right. At least I still look back and smile at all the times I got angry at myself for trying a move and failing it, and not giving up till I did right! It makes me laugh, and cry at times, because, I guess deep down I still AM that little girl with the dream……
Looking back on this, I still have the same feeling. I wish I could have done it. I wish I would’ve just not been so stubborn, and just did cartwheels with everyone else instead of running to the bars and swinging around. I realize that this sport takes discipline, rule-following, and listening. I did not have a lot of that at five, especially coming from a stranger, so perhaps it was never even meant to be. Now, I will never know. But I wish I had known then what I know now. I must have still had the drive in eighth grade when I joined the team, and was picked as one of the girls to do a floor routine. I was all set and ready to go. But I nearly had a panic attack in the locker room right before, and promptly quit. I wish I had not been so afraid. I have never understood that about myself. I can tell others to do what they love, and to go for it, but could never quite take that advice myself. I still wonder why. I still have that leotard I wore for only a short time.
I know we should all live our lives with no regrets, and I have been trying to do that, even more so lately. Doubt takes over, fear takes over, feelings of unworthiness take over. But that should not be. In whatever we strive to do, no matter how far-fetched, it should always be attempted without fear, doubt, regret, and self-consciousness. Obviously, this is easier said than done, as I have clearly demonstrated. I am planning to live my life without regret, in whatever aspect, whether it is family, school, relationships, or opportunity. People will always have the chance to say ‘no’, but how often will we ever get the chance to say ‘yes’ again? Perhaps never. It doesn’t matter what situation it is, we only get one life, and sometimes, only one chance. So, say what you mean, mean what you say, and try to live with no regrets. Regret can live with someone forever, and will sometimes haunt them for the rest of their lives. We all have to try – to take that chance with no promise of satisfaction, success, or reciprocation. It is one of the hardest things to do, to be vulnerable, no matter the circumstance. But it is worth it. Is it not better to know that you tried, perhaps failing, than regretting not trying at all? This lesson, no matter how daunting it may seem, applies to all situations we are faced with in life. It is, and will be, difficult, but we have to try.