In yesterday’s post, I made a promise. I promised you all that this space would be about more than my closet. I promised the good, the bad, the ugly, and most of all, my vulnerability. Oh, and theres one fact I failed to mention in my about section, I don’t make promises that I can’t keep.
As you all may know by now, I’m a Carolina Cheerleader.
When I asked one of my closest friends and teammates, Tyler, what comes to mind when someone says cheerleader and what the stereotypical idea of one is, she replied with, “when I think of what society expects of me I think they want the girl they see on the field every Saturday…the girl who is a trophy in every sense of the word. That girl is smiling, beautiful, fit, and energetic. they want that person who embodies an image of perfection…” I also asked my boyfriend these questions, and he answered similarly with, “I think society believes that cheerleaders are supposed to be friendly and outgoing. They are expected to have a smile on their faces at all times.”
I too believe this is what cheerleaders should be. However, the truth is, that is completely unrealistic and quite frankly an unfair expectation.
When my teammates and me bear the Carolina name on our clothes, whether it’s on the field, court, or in the classroom, we are beaming with joy–that’s our job. If our quarterback throws an interception in the end zone, we immediately turn around and respond with a smile that stretches from ear to ear while yelling “Go Heels!” as we vigorously shake our pompoms. This is what we are trained to do.
I believe this kind of “positivity-training” is exponentially more difficult to master than any physical goal an athlete may set for themselves, whether it’s in the weight room, on the track, field, or beam. However, this positive training is something all athletes battle with.
While football and basketball fans, and even my peers see me as the happiest girl, forever smiling and bouncing around on and off campus, the truth is, (here’s the vulnerability I promised you) that girl — the one you always see smiling and cheering words of encouragement — it’s not the real me, not yet at least.
If you ask my boyfriend, Alex, my biggest opponent and downfall, is negativity. I’m terrible at math, I don’t know who I am, or what my purpose in this world is, and I’m scared. I don’t have the best grades, I’m not always the best friend, sister, or daughter. Honestly, if you think I’m put together and have it all figured out…wait for it…
Alex’s coach gave a book to all of his seniors this year, titled, The Positive Dog, by Jon Gordon. It’s a short, easy read, but it is incredibly encouraging, and after reading just a few pages, it inspired me to set a new goal this year: Be positive. Period.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s easy for me to be positive and happy when life is good. It’s when the going gets tough, (like my mom being sick for two years now, when Riggins broke his pelvis two weeks ago, when I practically failed a quiz last week, and every day I wake up, unsure of what I’m going to be when I grow up), that I fall into the never ending cycle of feeding my negative dog.
That’s why this year, I’ve made it my goal to be proactive and to actively seek out happiness and positivity every day. I’m still battling with my negative dog, but the following methods tend to help me prevail when the going gets tough:
- Start (almost) every day writing down 5 reasons to be thankful and happy in my journal (still a work in progress)
- Research articles on happiness and positivity (recently subscribed to Daily Happiness Email series and LOVE it)
- Look at pictures of cute puppies (My favorites are petsmiles, ToastMeetsWorld, and while Scout Ponder isn’t a dog, she’s pretty cute [and sassy too].)
- Surround myself with happy friends
- Exercise (my namaste game is also a constant work in progress)
These methods are not foolproof, and some days I can’t quite escape the negative dog but these 5 methods usually get me moving in the positive direction, (f I can just get over my stubbornness for a few seconds).
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot to be thankful for, we all do. Some days it’s just difficult to remember that, and I’m so thankful for my friends and family that constantly remind me of the former.
If you have any methods for being your best positive and happy you, I’d love to hear! In the meantime, let’s LivFashionably and continue our day with positive thoughts and vibes.