Just a little girl, I believe I can do anything. I want to be a dancer and I dance to the beat of my own music. There’s no regard for the way it should be done. There’s only the music, and laughter, and confidence. “I will be the best dancer ever,” I chant. I look in the mirror and I smile at my reflection. I’m happy, and I twirl in the center of the dance floor doing my very best impression of a ballerina. Yes, that’s what I’ll be, a dancer.
And along the way someone says, “You’re not tall enough to be a dancer. You’re not graceful enough to be a dancer. You’re not disciplined enough to be a dancer. There are others that are better.” So maybe that means I can’t do it. “Dancing is done like this,” I’m told. I try to follow, but I misstep. I think maybe they are right. As time goes by, the music dies. I don’t hear it anymore, so I stop moving my feet. I just quit, because maybe….. I’m just not good enough.
I doubt myself.
Years and years go by, and I become a mom. I listen. I want to be a “baseball player mom.” I am going to be on a professional team someday. I look at my son, not fast enough, not strong enough, and in my mind I just see doubt. I see heartbreak. I watch his passion, his drive, with no regard for what it takes to be the very best, he plays for the love of the game. Who am I to take that joy? My responsibility is to make him believe that anything is possible; that if he wants it bad enough than he should play. When I watch him hit a home run I can see the joy swell within him.
I have faith.
I tell him to chase his dream. “I’ll chase it with you. If you want it bad enough, together we will find a way to get there.” As I am saying this to him I can hear the music playing softly. I close my eyes and I can remember the dance, and the dream, and the struggle, and the fear. The fear that I’m not the best, so therefore I must give up. I can hear the words, “you might not make it,” and I believe that. But looking back, dance takes many forms, and a person who believes they can do it, almost always finds a way through the journey.
I have hope.
So my goal is to make him believe. To make the others around me believe. Because the way you get there is by thinking you can. It’s falling down, hearing you’re not good enough and saying, “Yes I am. I know I am.” It’s falling, and getting up, and falling again, and crawling through, and saying “yes I am good enough.” It’s refusing to stop dancing. It’s refusing to stop believing in you. We tell children they really ought to grow up. It’s really us that ought to be more like children, to see ourselves with wonder. To dance even when we know we are not the best. To believe that it’s not just talent that pulls us through, it’s not just being the best that allows us to get there. More importantly its passion, our love for the things we do, that make us successful. Passion sets the world on fire. Who would ever give that up?
I believe again.
I don’t doubt. I choose to believe. I believe in that little girl who dances. I believe in the boy playing baseball for the love of the game, and I believe in you!