It’s okay when it doesn’t always add up in that head of yours. In fact, it’s perfectly normal.Read More
I mean that. Episode 26 of Motivated AF with Katee Forbis is the most important episode I've recorded thus far. If you have been struggling or feel lost in any way, I want to encourage you to give this episode a listen. In fact, if you only give my podcast one chance, let this episode be the one episode you listen to! I go into my personal story a little more than usual (which I will continue to do off and on) and I just felt like someone who is struggling right now is meant to hear this episode. Maybe it's you.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. It’s my first Father’s Day without my Dad. He passed in December. And I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I guess wishing you had certain conversations with a person before they passed is normal. I tried to tell him everything I could at the end. I wasn’t sure if he could hear me or not. The nurse told me the hearing was the last thing to go. So I tried. I sat by him and had one of those heartbreaking life moments where you have a conversation with a person you love, but it’s only one-sided. The one I always feared having. And hard as it was, I realize some people don’t even get that moment. I didn’t get it with my mom. But since December, I’ve also realized that there was never going to be a moment where I could say everything. A time where I would’ve had every conversation I wanted to have with him. There wasn’t ever going to be enough time to thank him for everything he did for me or to ask him every question I wished I could’ve asked him. And even if there was still time, I probably wouldn’t have done it or thought about it enough when he was still here.
Why is it that we only wish we had the time to pour out our hearts to someone after we no longer have the option? We don’t want to be vulnerable until it’s too late. I think we can learn from losses and try to be more intentional on telling those we love how we feel, but I also think there’s just some of it that is human nature. And with parents, or really anyone you lose that was an anchor in your life, there’s always going to be things left unsaid. If for no other reason than because we don’t always have the perspective or emotional maturity needed to see certain things until it’s in the past.
And sometimes it’s little things. Like when I was in New York this past week for something called PopSugar Playground. An event that was about positivity, supporting others and enjoying life. I should’ve known in that setting my Dad would be on my mind a lot. Because that’s what he was all about. Positivity, supporting others and enjoying life. He realized waiting for perfect moments was a losing game. At this event, Tiffany Haddish was a speaker. She is a talented comedienne who has rose to the top from nothing. She was homeless three times. She went through a lot of struggles I won’t get into here, but you can read more about if you look her up. But she was asked how she deals with negativity and people whose only mission appears to be cutting her down to size and making her feel bad about herself. Her answer? “I just laugh at them.” She went on to explain (of course in a hilarious way) how it throws the haters off. “They don’t know how to respond to it! They are just looking at you like you’re crazy and it disarms them!” I thought “Ha. That’s what my Dad would’ve said.” And then it hit me. Yet another lesson my Dad tried to teach me that I had missed, at least on a conscious level. Suddenly my eyes were watering for reasons other than laughter. I remember as a kid AND as an adult there being times where I was upset about something people said about me or to me, and my Dad would ask “What did they say?” And I would angrily or tearfully tell him. There were a lot of times he immediately started laughing. I used to be very annoyed at this and felt like he was being dismissive of my feelings. But then after he laughed, his advice was always helpful. And it took me until I was 33 years old sitting in New York City to see the lesson he was trying to teach me. He wasn’t trying to be dismissive of ME, he was trying to be dismissive of the hate. He was trying to teach me that it should be of that little importance to me. That life was more than what some silly person said about me. That’s one of those “Ah-Ha!” moments that feels obvious now, but it didn’t for 33 years. It’s also one of those moments I wish I could tell him about. I wish I could thank him for never getting sucked into the drama or giving the haters what they wanted. Attention. And I will never have that chance.
But I do have the chance to start intentionally living with that mindset towards people who are just bitter and miserable and want you to be right there with them. I have empathy for miserable people. I feel sorry for them. I really do. I’ve been there. But we also can’t save somebody that’s drowning in two feet of water if they refuse to stand up. And we can’t force them to do it. But what we can do is make sure we don’t let their behavior pull us under the water too. We must remember we always have the ability to stand up. And instead of using all our energy to get revenge or to hold on to grudges, we should just try to laugh. Especially if it’s absurd and we know it’s not true. If we laugh and don’t give it any attention, most of the time, other people won’t give it attention either. And they’ll laugh with us. And we’ve taken away the power we had been giving these people for so long. And now we have our power back, and we can use that power, that emotional energy, to keep pushing and get back to living our life. We can wish those people well and hope they find happiness one day. We can hope they find a mission in life besides looking to make others feel as bad as they do. We can’t save everyone. But we can save ourselves a lot of hurt and pain by doing this. And we will be happier, less bitter people. And that is the kind of life my Dad lived. He remembered not to take everything so seriously, while also understanding what was important. And he was trying to let me know that what a hateful person said about me wasn’t important.
I’m pretty sure these epiphanies will happen to me for the rest of my life. Me suddenly realizing something he or my mom was trying to teach me, but that I wasn’t ready to learn yet. And the sobering truth is, I won’t ever get to thank either of them anymore when I do have these moments of clarity. At least not in this lifetime. And that hurts a lot. But I also know they didn’t put so much energy into making sure I was a good person all those years so that I could just live in sadness and regret for the rest of my life. So I have to find other ways to show my gratitude as I continue to learn from these lessons. And I think one of the best ways I can do this is using those lessons to make myself a better person. A happier person. A more content person. A person who does not get caught up in the bullshit of life. A person who can laugh, dismiss the hate, wish them well, and continue to live with intention and purpose.
My Dad liked music a lot, but he LOVED lyrics. He loved words. He would often pause songs to discuss a line from the song or to say the line out loud again for emphasis. Me and my brothers always loved joking around about it. But those memories now bring a smile to my face while also bringing tears to my eyes. And sometimes I’ll hear a song that my Dad never got a chance to hear, but I know he would’ve loved because of the lyrics. I heard one the other day that really felt like one of those songs. It was “In My Blood.” It’s a song that the artist, Shawn Mendes, wrote about anxiety and continuing to press on. He sings “Sometimes I feel like giving up. But I just can’t. It isn’t in my blood.” It’s not really about whether my Dad would like the composition of the song or even the artist; it’s that I know he would love the lyrics. The words. The message in the song. And so in honor of him, I will post those lyrics below.
I have days where I don’t feel like laughing at the silly or mean things people say about me. But I will continue to practice doing that, and staying focused on my mission in life. I will always try not to let it get to me and throw me off course. Because sometimes I do feel like giving up. I feel like taking an easier road or crawling under the covers and never coming back out. I cry and have my feelings hurt. But I refuse to give up on trying to live out the lessons my Dad taught me. Because that’s the thing…it isn’t in my blood.
And I know there are some of you reading this that are thinking “That’s nice for you, but I don’t have that legacy. I never had that kind of family. I never had a Dad or Mom that taught me these lessons.” or maybe you’re thinking “My family actually does quit. We do give up a lot.” And while I may not know exactly what that’s like, I do have empathy for you. And if I could offer you any advice, it would be that it can start with you. I believe in you and your ability to make something out of nothing. I believe the pieces can be put back together. And despite any evidence to the contrary, I believe it isn't in your blood to give up either. I just need you to believe it also.
So Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I promise to do my best to live your legacy through my own life. And to laugh at the haters and the nonsense of life. I promise to remember that everything isn’t as big of a deal as I think it is. And most of all, I promise to remember what you wrote to me; to never let a dream delayed become a dream denied.
"In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes
Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can't
It isn't in my blood
Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing
I'm overwhelmed and insecure, give me something
I could take to ease my mind slowly
Just have a drink and you'll feel better
Just take her home and you'll feel better
Keep telling me that it gets better
Does it ever?
Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
No medicine is strong enough
Someone help me
I'm crawling in my skin
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can't
It isn't in my blood
It isn't in my blood
I'm looking through my phone again, feeling anxious
Afraid to be alone again, I hate this
I'm trying to find a way to chill, can't breathe, oh
Is there somebody who could
Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
No medicine is strong enough
Someone help me
I'm crawling in my skin
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can't
It isn't in my blood
It isn't in my blood
I need somebody now
I need somebody now
Someone to help me out
I need somebody now
Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can't
It isn't in my blood
It isn't in my blood
It isn't in my blood
I need somebody now
It isn't in my blood
I need somebody now
It isn't in my blood
For good. And for GOOD. No more 3 month long breaks! My podcast, Motivated AF with Katee Forbis, is back with a vengeance! And this time, I've brought back-up. I have a list of awesome guests lined up for the podcast, and I can't wait for you to hear their incredible stories. I've also got a lot of other new content and projects I'm working on that I am excited to share with you really soon!
I love that quote. It's simple and to the point. Pain demands to be felt. Pain doesn't care who you are or if you're a good person or not. Pain doesn't care if you are rich or poor, young or old, and it certainly doesn't care whether you deserve it or not. But despite understanding all of this from a logical standpoint, I have spent most of my life trying to avoid pain at all costs.
In my younger days, I considered myself a pretty good sprinter. I decided the best way for me to avoid pain was to simply to outrun it. I would take off, thinking I had left pain in my dust, only to feel it right back on my heels, and breathing down my neck. And by the time it was, I had already exerted every ounce of energy I had left trying to get ahead of it. My legs gave out, and pain took the lead. Nobody had warned me that pain was such a good long distance runner. I was left doubled over, struggling to breathe, and wondering how the hell that just happened. I couldn't outrun my pain.
Since I couldn't outrun it, I went back to the drawing board and decided I should bury the pain instead. Running collapse aside, I was still highly skilled in the avoidance of pain, and this time I was able to keep the pain buried for years. In fact, so much time had passed that I decided the pain had finally suffocated, and it was safe to carry on with my life. And that's what I did for a while. But one day while walking, I tripped on something. I looked down to see that the pain had started to rise up from the spot where I had buried it. The pain wasn't dead. I began to panic. I grabbed a shovel and began to throw dirt on top of the pain until it was no longer visible. I was pretty sure no one had seen me trip, but now I started to worry every time I left the house. Was the pain really dead this time? I would wake up in a cold sweat some nights, thinking it was coming after me. The nightmares were starting to be a nightly thing, so I decided I needed to protect myself. I kept a shovel and some dirt beside my bed, just in case. My friends told me I was being paranoid, but they didn't understand the damage my pain would do if it ever got the chance. I started to spend more time alone because when I was around other people, all I could think about was whether the pain was still buried. What if it came back up and tripped me again?
What if it knocked me on my ass and people saw it? I couldn't risk it. I needed to be on high alert at all times. I started shoveling dirt on top of the pain daily at this point. I had even stopped sleeping because keeping this pain buried had become an around the clock job. One day, exhausted from all the shoveling, I laid on the ground and closed my eyes. I just needed a few minutes to rest, and the pain seemed to be safely underground. When I woke up, not only was the pain well above ground, it had doubled in size. I jumped up and grabbed my shovel, but when I turned around, all the dirt was gone. I had used it all. I had nothing else to cover the pain with, so I did the only thing I could think of to do. I threw myself on top of it. But still, it continued to rise. I couldn't bury my pain.
At this point, you'd think I would've learned my lesson, but for some reason, I hadn't. Maybe I wasn't thinking straight from all the exhaustion, or maybe it was my ego. (What was left of it anyway.) But hey, at least I had finally accepted that my pain wasn't going anywhere. I hadn't been able to outrun it, and my attempts to bury it had turned me into a shell of the girl I used to be. Yep, my pain was here to stay. So I had to tackle this from another angle, and I had one more brilliant idea left in me. I was going to numb that shit until I couldn't feel it. If I found something really good, maybe I wouldn't see the pain either. Third time's the charm, right?
Sidebar: You can probably see where this is going. And if this were a tv show, you'd be screaming at me.
"Oh for the love of GOD! This Katee character is an insufferable moron! Obviously none of this working, but she keeps on thinking she's got it under control! Am I supposed to believe that a grown woman could be this stupid? Who wrote this shit?! I am giving this one more episode before I move on to Kevin Hart's new tv series. At least that shit show is kind of funny."
*And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.*
I began to numb the pain. And I'll be honest, it worked like a charm. Not only was I not feeling the pain, I was feeling GOOD. There was no way this one was going to fail. How could it? Why hadn't I thought of this before? Over time, I built up an arsenal of numbing agents, some of which made me forget the pain had ever existed! I had my favorites, but if one of them ever stopped working, I could always find another one to replace it.
There was money, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, fitness, art, music, and entertainment in just about any form that I could want. I also had the option of more traditional treatments. There was love, marriage, and even kids if I wanted. I had heard through the grapevine that kids would work really well because I'd have very little time to even think about the pain. But if I wasn't ready for kids, I could always just live at work. 80 hour work weeks didn't sound especially fun, but at least I'd be too tired to feel the pain. And for a while, this system was working well. I started leaving my house and going out because I couldn't see or feel the pain anymore. I even started to get a little cocky. Okay, I'll tell you the whole truth. I was convinced I had made pain my bitch. And if that wasn't bad enough, I had moved on to trolling the pain.
"Take that pain! HA! You will NOT defeat m--
Oh, you're trying to make me feel a little something, huh? Bitch, go ahead. It's nothing I can't numb.
Yeah, that's what I thought, pain! You ain't shit! I feel good!
Oh, so you wanna go again? Let's go. It may take me a little more to numb you this time, but I always find a way.
Okay, well that one isn't working, so I'm feeling you a little bit, but I'm not worried. I've got another one right here.
What the hell? Let me try this one. What the? Oh shit!"
I could no longer numb the pain.
My pain was demanding to be felt.
Fresh out of ideas, I looked around at the chaotic mess that was my life and wondered "How did I get here? I thought I was a good person? I thought I had this under control?" And before I knew it, I was in the fetal position. Too exhausted to run, too weak to pick up another shovel, and hurting too much to numb it away.
I woke up to find myself behind bars. Who put me in here?! WHEN did they put me in here?! I didn't know, but I knew I wanted out. I started shaking the gate of the cell. I screamed at the top of my lungs, "LET ME OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!"
I attempted to escape on my own a few times. I was smart, so most of my ideas were pretty good. But every attempt to escape only left me feeling weaker and more exhausted than the time before. What was worse, every time I thought I was crawling to freedom, I'd look up and find another wall around the prison cell.
It was finally time for me to surrender to whoever put me in this prison.
"I GIVE UP! YOU WIN!"
No one answered. But something caught my eye in the corner of the cell. Whatever it was, I had never noticed it before. I crawled over to get a better look. I couldn't believe it. Hanging on the wall, right above my head was a key! But where did it come from? Had it always been there? There was no way! I would've seen it! Was it possible that this was the key to unlock MY cell? Was this a trap? For all I knew there was someone outside the gate, waiting to kill me. Maybe they should, I thought. What did I have left to offer the world anyway? I barely recognized myself anymore. My hands were shaking, my body was bruised, and I wasn't sure what was on the other side of the gate, but I had run out of options. This was my only hope. It was at that moment that I felt a fear unlike any I had ever felt. A fear that was so intense, I was struggling to breathe.
"Maybe I should just stay in the cell."
Sure, I was miserable, but I was alive... sort of. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't a life I was living in this prison, it was a death sentence. So I took the key, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I turned the lock. I immediately started to feel the pain wash over me. The pain that I had tried to avoid for so long. And it hurt like hell. It wasn't long before the pain had brought me to my knees. What the hell was happening?!
"I wish I never found this damn key!", I screamed.
All I could do at this point was breathe in and out. So even though it hurt, I focused on my breath. In and out. In and out. As the time passed, with each breath, it gradually started to hurt a little less.
And as the pain began to subside, I noticed the gate was now unlocked. I slowly pulled myself back up and pushed the gate open. My face and hands were dirty, and my body was covered in scrapes and bruises. But none of that mattered to me because I was finally free. As I walked out of the prison, I was met by a group of compassionate people who rushed to my aid. They had been preparing for my arrival for quite some time. As they treated my wounds, each person told me a story of how they had gotten there. Every story was different - except for one common theme - they were all former prisoners that had lived to tell about it. They had all been wounded at one time or another, and they had the scars to prove it. But now, they were warriors. And they assured me that I was going to survive. I let out a sigh of relief. Not only was I free, but I was also on the path to becoming a warrior. And my new tribe would show me the way.
My desire to never feel pain kept me trapped inside that prison. A prison that I unknowingly had built for myself. I so badly wanted to feel love, passion, adventure, success, health, joy, and satisfaction... or so I thought. In the end, it was not the pain that held me captive for all those years, it was my FEAR of the pain. My fear had built those walls. My fear had left me for dead in that prison cell.
I had to be willing to fully feel the pain, despite the fear, before I could see the truth. Giving in to the fear had caused my weakness, and standing up to the pain had given me strength. My pain was, and always had been, the key to my release.
So what is the pain that you are afraid to feel? Is it something from your past? Is it a broken heart or the loss of a loved one? Is it the pain of self-improvement through diet and exercise? Maybe it's a number of things. Whatever the case may be, I am begging you to stop giving in to your fears. Because I can assure you that nothing hurts worse than a life lived in fear. It took me years, but I've finally learned that I can feel the pain and keep going. In fact, pain has made me the warrior I am today. So bring on the pain. It hurts, but I can handle it. And even if you haven't realized it yet, you can handle it too.
I don't believe everything happens for a reason, but I do believe the pain that's forced on you when shitty things happen in life can be reutilized for good. Pain often stems from awful and terrible things. Things you didn't deserve. But if you are willing to face the fear and feel the pain, you will get through it. But please do not try to do this alone. Dealing with our pain alone is always our plan A. It's usually our plan B, C, and D as well. Logically, most of us know better, so why do we still try to go it alone? Because there is a form of pain that we are ALL afraid to face, and that's the pain of vulnerability.
"What will they think of me? Who will love me? If I ask for help, they'll know I'm weak."
Right now there are people out there that have faced the fear and felt a pain that is similar to yours. They were also scared and didn't know if they were going to make it through. Their hands trembled as they dialed the doctor's phone number. Their voice shook when they told their loved one the truth. They felt anxiety when they finally left that toxic relationship. But they decided to turn their weakness into strength, and they are living proof that it's possible. Maybe you are one of those people that HAS worked through your pain. The world needs your story. The world needs to know that there is HOPE on the other side. The world needs more people that are willing to feel the pain. The world needs more warriors that choose freedom over fear.
John Green was on to something when he wrote that line. But I'd like to add a little something of my own to it.
Pain demands to be felt... because that's the only way it can start to heal.
"Hold on. She said what?!" I screeched.
"Yeah, she said she would like your help because you really seem to have your shit together."
It took hearing it twice before I could actually believe it was true.
"So... you're telling ME.... someone thinks I have MY shit together?! HAHAHA! I WISH!"
I couldn't hold back my laughter at the absurdity of it. Here I was, 31 years old, still not exactly sure what the hell I was doing with my life, breaking down right and left, and someone thought I had it all figured out. ME! The woman who just took ibuprofen with a sip of red wine while waiting for the pizza guy to show up. How far from true it was. How far from true it still is. But that conversation did make me start to really think about the illusion of a perfect life.
I think we all kind of have a vision of what our perfect life would be. In my perfect life, I am exactly the right size, I'm exactly the right amount of body fat, I'm tan, I have perfect teeth, and my hair never does that woo-hoo thing. I look great while walking in heels and they never hurt my feet, my makeup looks flawless, I eat a clean diet and workout twice a day. I also "get in a run" a couple of times a week too. (You know, because "getting in a run" is one of those things I always hear healthy people say they do.) In this perfect life, I also get paid to do the thing I love, which is motivating and encouraging others to live their best lives. I go swimming in my giant pool while looking great in a swimsuit (duh) and in my kitchen there's a fancy assortment of breakfast pastries and fresh juice out. In this perfect life, I don't feel the need to compulsively eat said pastries though. But when I do eat the pastries, they don't make me fat. Oh, and when I dance? I look cool as hell instead of like a dorky white girl with two left feet. I never get emotional over things I can't control, I always look flawless and feel sexy. And dying? Nah, in this perfect life, I don't ever worry about dying. All my family members and friends are healthy and we all just get along. Oh, and no decisions or mistakes I make ever affect anyone I love or hurt anyone in any way. I want for nothing. I desire nothing but what I already have. I don't ever have anxiety attacks or deal with depression. I'm never a selfish jerk or in a bad mood. It's all good in my hood at all times. That is my perfect life.
The problem is, that life doesn't exist. Could I make some of those things I mentioned happen? Sure. And I am working on doing just that. For example, I'm working on how to make helping others experience more fun and happiness in their lives my full-time career. But when I actually type out what this perfect life looks like in my head, it feels so silly. Aren't we just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Is wishing for a perfect life actually ruining your REAL life? I know it sure has wasted a lot of my own time. I will never have a perfect life and neither will you. Life is beautiful, but it's also a real asshole sometimes. And life doesn't really seem to care that it's screwing us over way more than we think we deserve.
Maybe you sit and daydream about that perfect Pinterest life, or you follow someone on Instagram that DOES seem to have the perfect life that you envy. You know the profiles I'm talking about. Beautiful people with beautiful spouses, perfect children, a balanced career and home life, plenty of money, and companies sending them free shit all the time.
"I just want to say thanks to IndieDarlingsRUs for the great scarf that completes my perfectly put together look that I also got for free!"
"Sometimes I'm ugly just like you regular gals!" *posts pic with no makeup but perfectly clear skin*
"I never get tired of seeing my smoking hot spouse! We will never ever find anyone else attractive or desire anything but each other for as long as we both shall live!"
Okay, maybe that's not the captions they use, but I think you get my point. Some of us envy them and some of us loathe them. But no matter what your personal take is on that type of thing, I think the illusion of a perfect life is screwing us up. We beat ourselves up for not having it all figured out yet. The truth is, I'm never going to "figure it all out" and have my perfect life and neither are you. And spoiler alert: neither will the social media darlings, no matter how much free shit they get or how many followers they have.
So why do we waste precious time being envious of (or maybe hating) the people that appear to have perfect lives? Why do we buy into the lies of a few good filters and captions? Our time would be so much better spent if we stopped wishing for a perfect life and instead spent time trying to enjoy and improve the life we actually have. There's nothing wrong with striving for a better life if you are not satisfied with the one you currently have. In fact, I encourage it! But there's a difference between genuinely seeking to improve your life by taking action in productive ways and sitting around discontent because you don't have the perfect life THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST. The perfectionist mindset is keeping you from the life you truly want to be living. So maybe you'll never have the perfect kids that will smile while wearing 12 layers of stylish clothes like they are in Baby Gap ad. Maybe you'll never have the perfect marriage or the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe that size two is about 75 pounds away. But so what? Obsessively wishing for things to be different rarely results in anything but more misery. Do you know what you could be doing instead? Going for a walk, reading a book that could actually help you start that business, spending time with your kid while they still kind of like you, or even laughing at that new Netflix show. You could be visiting a friend, or writing a blog post (hey hey) or finally getting that bullshit report done at work.
Wishing is often the enemy of doing. So next time you catch yourself wishing for this perfect life, make an effort to silence the wisher inside. How many times has your inner wisher been there for you anyway? You wished you were thinner, you wished your parents were different, you wished your job didn't suck, you wished you were younger, you wished you didn't date that guy, you wished you didn't make that mistake. But what did all that wishing REALLY do for you? If you're anything like me, it just made you feel more depressed. I've discovered that for me, wishing is rarely productive. It just keeps me in a mindset of defeat. It reminds me of my failures. I can't wish away my current situation. I can't wish away my mistakes. More than anything, all of this wishing takes away my power to do anything about my desires and regrets. It puts me in the victim mode. While I've known some people who seem to feel safer in victim mode, I have never felt that way. The idea that my plot in life is fixed and "that's just the way it is" will never be a belief system that I can accept.
So I am officially on a "stop wishin' mission." I've decided to start making myself give an answer for why a wish pops in my head. Asking ourselves why we are feeling a certain way may not immediately change the feeling, but it CAN help us become more self-aware. And self-awareness is where we learn some of the most valuable lessons about ourselves. Learning why I have this regret or desire is the key to discovering what appropriate actions will truly get me closer to where I want to be. So I no longer "wish" I had my shit together. I instead asked myself why I didn't, which led to me (finally) learning that I have an issue with self-discipline. Though it was a hard pill to swallow, this truth has led to me taking steps towards changing this fact.
Please don't use this post an excuse to beat yourself up even more. 99% of us already do WAY too much of that. And it's just another habitual behavior that rarely gives you any real return on your investment. And boy, do we ever invest a lot of time into self-hatred. Instead, I hope this post encourages you and reminds you that you're doing just fine.
Maybe this wasn't a good day.... or week... or month... or... well, you see where I'm going with this. It doesn't matter. The beauty of life is that all of us are still here living it. And that means we can try again (hopefully in a more productive way) once we stop wishing and start doing. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be phenomenal. You don't have to be the perfect parent to have incredible kids. You don't have to be the perfect partner to have a fulfilling relationship. You don't need to have the perfect body to feel sexy and confident. (I know, I know, but stick with me here.) All you need is the willingness to be your authentic self. You may be thinking "But Katee, I don't even know who the hell my 'authentic self' IS?!" That's okay too. We're all just figuring this out as we go along. I've learned more about myself by making mistakes than I ever have by trying to be perfect.
Perfect people can't be bad asses. Flawless perfection is NOT bad ass. Do you know what IS bad ass? A flawed person who hasn't let their mistakes define them. A bad ass is inherently flawed and inherently themselves anyway. A bad ass feels the fear, they hear their inner perfectionist, but they tell it to F*** off most of the time, because they know they still have plenty to offer their friends, family, and even the world. Bad asses don't wish, they do. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather be a bad ass.
Here are a few songs to get you started on your next bad ass move. A special Spotify playlist I created just for this blog post is below or you can click here to add it to your own Spotify library!
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had hoped for this moment but never believed it would actually come. And then out of nowhere the moment came and changed my life. What moment am I talking about? That would be the moment that Tony Allen followed me on Twitter. That's right. Tony Allen following me on Twitter nearly 6 years ago changed my life. The initial follow was because of some Future lyrics I quoted from a song TA had made me aware of and I was now listening to regularly. That song was "Go Harder" and eventually it became a sort of theme song for Tony Allen. When it was time for the Grindfather to do his thing, the DJ at the Grindhouse would turn that up, and the camera went right to Tony Allen. I never remember a time that the crowd didn't go crazy when it would start to play. But unfortunately, now another moment I hoped would NEVER come is here. Tony Allen is leaving Memphis to play somewhere else. I could go into all the times in Grizz history that TA made an impact, but plenty of writers that are far more talented have done that already. So I just want to take a minute and discuss what Tony Allen meant to me.
I am sort of known as an intense, outspoken Grizz fan on Twitter. But it wasn't until Tony Allen followed me on Twitter that I started to realize my words could matter a little bit more than I thought they ever could. Tony Allen following me on Twitter legitimized me to some extent. Suddenly there were people who WANTED my opinion on the Grizzlies. Me. Katee Forbis. Who am I? No one really. But Tony Allen recognized my fandom and passion. He gave me a few shout outs on the radio, and it wasn't long before my name was synonymous with Grizz fans. Tony Allen is my favorite basketball player. He is at the top of a short list of my absolute favorites in basketball. My short list consists of Tony Allen, Michael Jordan, Shane Battier, OJ Mayo, JJ Redick and Zach Randolph. Yeah, I know. It's an odd list. But I'm also kind of an odd girl.
But TA isn't my favorite player just because he followed me on Twitter, he's my favorite player because of who he is as a person. His defense is unlike almost any other player in the NBA. His energy changes the room. It changes games. It changed the city of Memphis. "All heart. Grit. Grind." wasn't just a saying in Memphis, it became our identity. I know that's said a lot, but it's said a lot because it's true.
I met Tony Allen a handful of times over the last 6 years, and in all of those times, I only said a handful of words to him. Partly because there is rarely time for a long sit down chat with your favorite NBA player, and also because I never wanted to be annoying or say something stupid. As much as TA and I interacted on Twitter, I never asked him for anything. Well, I take that back. At the first Memphis Grizzlies wrestling night, I really wanted Tony to sign my Grizzlyweight Championship (Yes, that's a thing.) but I didn't have much time to get his attention before he went back in the tunnel from an early shoot around. He was running into the tunnel and everyone was yelling "Tony! Tony Allen! Please sign this!" and I couldn't get him to look over at me. So finally I did the one thing I said I would never do. I named dropped. And if that wasn't obnoxious enough, I name dropped MYSELF. I didn't say I was proud of it. But it was my last ditch effort and I was desperate. So as TA ran past me, I yelled "TONY! IT'S KATEE FORBIS!" I had no idea if it would work, but suddenly Tony stopped, turned around, smiled, grabbed my hand like politicians do when greeting people in a crowd, and signed my Grizzlyweight Championship belt before running back into the tunnel. The people around me were looking at me like I had two heads. It's like their eyes were saying "Who the hell is this chick?" I was nobody. But Tony Allen always made me feel like a somebody. He didn't have to stop that day and sign my belt. He didn't have to follow me on Twitter or respond to my tweets as often as he did. Tony Allen didn't owe me anything. But that's just the type of guy that Tony Allen is.
Tony is all heart, and I'd like to think he could sense that I was all heart too. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I often do too. I can't speak for him, but I know in my life, this is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing when your vulnerability helps you form relationships and help others get through difficult times in their lives. It's a curse when that same vulnerability causes you to put your trust in someone who ends up disappointing you, whether they intended to or not. But that vulnerability is why so many people love Tony Allen. He is the real deal. He is going to say what's on his mind, and he is going to be himself at all times. There is an authenticity about TA that you just don't come across every day in the NBA. Tony Allen made us fans feel like part of the team. He showed us respect. He made us feel, as TA himself likes to say, like "He with us."
I am the owner of a fair amount of Tony Allen memorabilia. I have his rookie card and a signed basketball from his days with the Celtics. I have wristbands and a jersey he's signed to me. I even have a room in my new house that I lovingly call "The Tony Allen room." It got its name from the giant Tony Allen painting I bought and hung on the wall. Call me obsessive, call me a weirdo, but don't you dare call me a fair-weathered fan. I will always be a fan of Tony Allen. No matter where he plays. And if he has to go, I'm happy he's at least going to New Orleans this season, because that drive is fairly easy.
It's difficult to put into words what Tony Allen has meant to me over the years. Personally, I've had the hardest and darkest years of my life since Tony has been here. He didn't really know that, but he helped me through those years anyway. He gave me something to believe in. I believed in the Memphis Grizzlies because Tony Allen believed. And pardon the corniness, but I even started to believe in myself a little more because of Tony Allen. His confidence and passion made me feel like it was okay to be me. It was okay to be emotional and intense. It was okay to love the game of basketball on another level. Without even realizing it, Tony helped me come out of my shell. He inspired me to put myself out there and be my weird, crazy self. And most importantly, TA taught me how to not care what others thought about me.
So as Tony Allen leaves the Memphis Grizzlies and moves on to another chapter in his career, I wish he and his family nothing but success and happiness. In a perfect world, Tony Allen would've retired in Memphis. And who knows, maybe he'll come back for one more year. Maybe he won't. But either way, I'll never forget what he did for my city, my favorite basketball team, or what he did for me. Tony Allen came from very little and he made a name for himself in the NBA. He got to where he is at by working hard and following his heart. One of my favorite things Tony Allen has ever said is "Stay ready and you won't have to get ready." Tony Allen stayed ready in Memphis. And when the opportunity was finally given to him, he was ready. TA took that opportunity and turned it into more than anyone could've expected or dreamed. Tony Allen showed me that if you stay ready for the opportunity, there's no limit to what you can do with it once it's there.
Thank you for being YOU, Tony Allen. There will never be another like you. And that's why we all love you. I will forever be grateful to you, the Grindfather. And I will forever stay ready. Good luck in New Orleans. YOU DESERVE IT! *Future voice*
Sincerely, your #1 fan,
For the next 6 weeks, I'll be participating in my gym's (Iron Tribe East Memphis) Transformation Challenge! This is a competition to see who can improve their fitness level while cutting the most body fat! I'm in it to win it! I've decided, against my better judgment, to document this process along the way. I don't know if I'll fail or succeed, but I'm ready to see what happens. I hope you'll join me and commit to making these next 6 weeks a time for transforming your life in some way too!
I'm a perfectionist. If you were to look around the room where I'm currently sitting, you would never believe this could be true. The couch cushions are not lined up right, there are shoes all around the coffee table, and I've just counted five different empty drinking glasses that have yet to make it to the pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. That is because I am the worst kind of perfectionist. I am the kind of perfectionist that is always waiting for the perfect time and reason to do something. If I can't do it perfectly, at the perfect time, then I don't like doing it at all. I know what you're thinking. "Katee, there is never a perfect time to do things!" And you are correct. Which is why for many years, I sat waiting for the perfect time to start my perfect life.
I'll clean the house when I have a full day to commit to it. I'll go on that vacation after I've lost 20 pounds. I'll tell that person how I feel about them when the timing is right. I'll start working out and get in shape when I feel like I am ready to put in the work and dedication that is required.
I loved to plan and dream about what I wanted for my life, but ultimately I just spent a lot of time waiting for a perfect time or day that would never come. Then one day, after receiving a call about yet another "crisis" that was happening, I actually said out loud, "There's always going to be something happening. It's never going to stop." It was like a light bulb went off in my head. After dealing with what was my initial pity party over the fact that my life was never going to line up with my perfect vision, I felt this sort of peace come over me. The realization that life was passing me by and that these perfect moments will never exist was FINALLY getting through my thick skull. Instead of freaking out about it, I felt motivated. I no longer had to be a slave to perfectionism because it was never going to happen. And since it was never going to happen, I could stop worrying about it. Just like when I was a child, and I finally stopped worrying about going down the drain in the bathtub. (Thanks, Mister Rogers!) It was shortly after my epiphany of obvious, but still epic, proportions, that I decided to start trying things before I was technically "ready." Fast forward to the summer of 2015. I was tweeting (as I'm often doing) that I was looking to shake up my (non-existent) workout routine. To this day, I am so grateful that someone took five seconds out of their day to tweet at me about Iron Tribe Fitness. I decided to check it out, even while everything inside of me was screaming things like "You can't do this. It's WAY over your head. This isn't the right time. You have too much going on to commit to this. Did you forget how much you loathe working out in front of other people? You are going to look stupid. This is for athletes. You aren't an athlete. People are going to laugh at you."
As someone who has struggled with anxiety since childhood, the thought of looking like an idiot in front of strangers was terrifying. You know how they say to go with your gut? Well, when you deal with anxious thoughts, you can't always trust your gut. My gut was saying "DO NOT DO THIS! DO NOT TRY IT!" But I decided to ignore every terrifying thought and sign up anyway. I know people do courageous and amazing things every day, and this might seem ridiculously inconsequential in comparison, but in my world, it was huge. I remember the owner of Iron Tribe East Memphis, John Irvine, telling me "This is going to change your life." I also remember thinking "Yeah, okay, easy for you to say, Mr. Extremely Fit Guy. We'll see." Well, it turned out that Mr. Extremely Fit Guy couldn't have been more right.
Iron Tribe has changed my life in every way. In the beginning, as I drove to the classes I was dreading, I'd start talking to myself. "Don't be a wuss. Suck it up. Just walk through the door." We read and hear all these things about facing our fears and not letting fear stop us. What I feel like they often fail to mention is how unbelievably scary and unnatural it can feel to do something you are genuinely afraid of doing. It doesn't feel right. It feels uncomfortable in just about every way. When I am facing one of my fears head on, I feel like I'm going to puke. I don't feel brave; I feel terrified. I don't feel strong; I feel vulnerable. I don't feel safe; I feel exposed. Many times, it's not until I push through all of those feelings of dread and all of those uncomfortable emotions, that I truly see why it was all worth it. You have to put a certain amount of faith in yourself. You have to trust that even though your mind (and sometimes body) is screaming for you to turn back, you will eventually reach the other side. If we all felt like Wonder Woman or Superman the second we made the decision to face one of our fears, most of us would be living our dreams by now. But most of us aren't living our dreams. Most people are letting fear run their lives. And after I've just explained how terribly awful facing our fears can feel, who can blame anyone who decides that letting fear win is the better choice? But I am proof that facing your fears and living outside of your comfort zone can bring you more joy and excitement than you ever thought possible. Is my life perfect? Of course not. Do I still wrestle with my fears? Every damn day. But one thing I've learned while trying to face my fears is that I rarely look back with regret anymore. Sometimes I realize things aren't the way I thought they were going to be. But I rarely regret standing up to fear. And regret used to weigh on me like an anchor. Regret kept me living in the past.
I think deep down most of us know who we really are and what kind of lives we want to be living, but we've let fear move in and take over, and now it's keeping those revelations on lock down. I believe that each time we face one of our fears, no matter how small, it brings us closer to living lives full of purpose and contentment. And that means different things to different people. I will never be perfect and neither will you. And that's okay. I am about to face one of my fears right now. Yes, I feel nervous, but I'm going to do it in spite of that. I am posting some pictures I never thought I'd let see the light of day. Below are some pictures of me from summer 2015, shortly before I joined Iron Tribe, and some I had taken at a photo shoot just a few weeks ago. My perfectionism tried to creep back in and tell me I shouldn't post pictures yet because I've still got a long way to go. But I know I'm never going to feel ready. The perfect time will never come. And just so you know, I've never done anything like this. But hey, I have to practice what I preach, right? Time to take the leap.
I will never be "skinny" and for the first time in my life, I'm okay with that. I'd rather be strong than skinny. I'd rather embrace my curves and work with what I have instead of wishing I was someone else. I feel good in my own skin. Fear of what others think of me no longer rules my life. I can't promise you that facing and fighting through your fears will always give you the outcome you want, but I can promise you that it'll never be boring. A life spent facing your fears will be an adventure. You can go to sleep at night knowing you are going for it, even if you don't quite know what "it" is yet. You'll figure it out. And once you do, you'll be able to help others do the same. Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. I believe in you. If I can do it, anyone can. Start by loving yourself where you are right now, and that will lead you in the right direction. And then get ready to not feel ready. Are you scared yet? Good. Now your adventure can begin. Mine is still just getting started and I'm scared as hell. We'll be scared together. Don't wait until January to make changes. The difference between truly living and merely existing lies one step outside of your comfort zone. Take that first step.
Here we go again. Tonight, my favorite obsession is officially back in my life. The Memphis Grizzlies will take the court tonight for the first time in the 2016-1017 regular season. They are playing the Timberwolves, but that really doesn't matter. What matters is that the thing that makes my heart race, the thing that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, the thing that gives me more joy and more heartache than any sport should give a person is BACK. It doesn't take long for people to realize I have an obsessive personality. When I find something I love, I think about it all the time. Thankfully I don't do drugs, and I don't drink excessively.... very often. Instead, I've tried to find other things that make the blood rush through my veins and give me an escape from life when things get a little too real. And things have gotten too real this year. I won't go into the details here, but this has definitely been the hardest year I've had in a long time, maybe ever. There's nothing I will enjoy more tonight than "stressing" over things like whether the starting lineup is right or whether my team is going to make it all the way this year. When you love a sport as much as I do, it's inevitable that people will try to remind you that this kind of stuff isn't what truly matters in life. They'll tell you it's just a game, and there are much worse things than losing a basketball game. And I agree, basketball isn't what truly matters in life and it's absolutely true that there are MUCH worse things than losing a basketball game. I've experienced some of those awful things. I don't want to get too Debbie Downer over here but it's not a matter of "if" but "when" life will kick you down. In the real world, we experience pain and loss in ways we never thought were imaginable. We look back and wonder how we got here and if things will ever be okay again. That's why we need things like sports, music, and movies. That's why sometimes we need to care about things that others might dismiss as trivial. I truly believe the weight of only caring about absolutely serious and "meaningful" things will eventually bury you. Yes, we should be informed. Yes, we should fight injustice and take a stand for what we believe in. But we also have to cut ourselves some slack from time to time. We need to let ourselves (and others) have fun. Recently with all the terrible things going on in the world, there has been a lot of things written about self-care, and I think basketball is part of my self-care. I'm not sure humans are capable of fully freeing themselves of worry, but we can take a break from worrying about the awful things in this world and instead worry about our favorite team's record for the season. So when the lights go down tonight at the Grindhouse, I'll be doing just that. Maybe it's only for a few hours, but it's a few hours that I get to care about something fun. I get to feel this excitement with others that share this same passion as me. It's hard for me to sum up or even explain all the emotions I feel on opening night every season. I just know I get what I need. And I hope others do too. Let's do this thing.
I haven't written anything on my website in several months. But I was trying to think of the best gift I could give my Dad for Christmas this year. While I think I've picked out many nice things that he will enjoy, I've decided the greatest gift I can give him is making sure he knows how much I admire him. I wish I could tell the world how much I admire my Dad. And although I may not be able to tell the world, I can tell anybody who is willing to read my words.
The older I've gotten, the more I've learned to appreciate my Dad and the sacrifices he made for his family. Anyone that knows my Dad can tell you that you don't even have to be related to us for him to treat you like family. His door is always open, and he's always willing to help. I could tell a lot of stories about him, but I'm not sure there is anybody that could tell better stories about my Dad than my Mom. My Dad met my Mom on a blind date. I remember my Mom telling me that she thought he was charming and that he could make anybody laugh. There is one story about my parents dating history that I have always found particularly funny. My mom used to love to tell it, and my Dad always swore to us that she was exaggerating. My Mom worked at a bank and was getting ready for the annual Christmas party. My parents were broken up at the time, and Mom said that Dad found out she was bringing another date to the party. He called her and told her she needed to "ditch the guy" and go out with him instead. My Mom, being the nice girl that she was, told my Dad she couldn't just "ditch" her date. So my Dad told her he needed to warn her about something very serious. My Dad proceeded to tell my Mom that he had heard the guy my Mom was going on a date with had "stuck his head out of a car window and it had been hit by a bus or something" and that the guy "wasn't right in the head." My Mom said, "Oh come on, Dean, there is no way that's true!" It obviously wasn't true, but my Mom said she couldn't help but laugh every time she thought about what he said. Of course, it was my Dad, not the poor guy who "got hit by a bus" that my Mom ended up marrying. My Dad always knew how to make my Mom laugh, even when she was mad at him. I also remember my Mom telling me that my Dad was very romantic. That was something else she loved about him. When I was a kid, it wasn't that unusual for me to see my parents slow dancing in the hallway to "Just The Way You Look Tonight." It wasn't until I was older that I realized not everybody's parents were that close. My parents raised three kids together. Whenever my parents felt like they messed up, they would apologize to my brothers and me. That's something else that I now realize isn't that common. My parents weren't too prideful to tell their kids (or each other) when they made a mistake and ask for forgiveness.
Dad would never want me to lead people to think he is perfect, but I think that's one of the greatest things about him. My Dad always taught my brothers and me that people are flawed and that it's okay. My Dad taught us how to have empathy for others and to put ourselves in someone else's shoes before we judged them or took something personal. If it wasn't for my Dad, I might have grown up to be a bitter person who believed that everyone that wronged me was out to get me. Instead, my Dad taught me that most people are just the same as me. They want to be loved and appreciated. And that when they mess up, it's best to try and understand their side of things, realize their past has shaped them and forgive whenever possible. My Dad made a conscience decision that he wanted to be there for his kids. He made a real effort to be at every school or church program, every recital, and every baseball or basketball game that we had, even if it meant he had to work even later after we went to sleep. My Dad taught me by example that family and friends are what really matters in life. He didn't just say these words, he lived them. He still lives them by example every day. Most people that know my family are aware that my Mom was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's about five years ago. She probably had it for several years before that, but she was misdiagnosed several times. My mother was still young, beautiful and vibrant. It just didn't seem possible to anyone that she could have "an old person's disease." Over the last five years, everyone that knows my mom has had to watch Alzheimer's steal her from us. And it has stolen something personal from each and every one of us that has known her. Alzheimer's has stolen a friend, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a mother, a wife, and a great woman. We have each felt a personal loss because every one of those relationships was different and meaningful. But I'm not sure that anyone has felt as much pain as my Dad has felt losing his wife. My Dad had to become a caregiver when my parents were supposed to be starting the next chapter of their lives. This chapter was supposed to be filled with traveling, time with family and good memories. Instead, it has been filled with devastating heartache, pain, endless stress, financial burdens, anger and unspeakable tragedy. To try and explain everything my Dad has dealt with in caring for my mother would be impossible. There is just no way for me to fully convey the deep ache I feel watching my Dad lose the love of his life. My Dad does EVERYTHING for my mom. There is nothing my Dad hasn't done for my mom. My Dad, who would tell you himself that he wasn't very good at anything domestic, learned to cook, do laundry, paint nails and help my mom put on her makeup. He ironed her clothes, he did her hair, he gave her baths, he brushed her teeth, and he did pretty much anything else you can imagine. Things that you or I couldn't even fathom having to do for another person, my Dad has done for my Mom. He did all of this while also working full time and raising my little brother, who was only 14 when my mom was diagnosed. When you do these things for a child, the reward is seeing them grow up and learn new things, and feeling the love they give you in return. When you are doing these things for an adult with Alzheimer's, you don't get those rewards. The person doesn't thank you because they don't understand what is happening. A lot of times, they even get mad at you. They don't learn new things, or remember what you told them, and they get worse every day. There is no reward, or feel good moments. It's not pretty or heartwarming, and that's a big reason the growing epidemic of Alzheimer's disease is still ignored in this country. My Dad could've easily shut down and said he couldn't deal with any of it. But he didn't do that. In fact, it wasn't until a few months ago that we were able to convince him that my Mom would be better off in an Alzheimer's specific facility. Even now, it's still a very stressful time for us as my mother's condition continues to deteriorate. Each day brings something new and difficult to deal with. It's been hard to watch my Dad deal with all of this. My Dad has never had an easy life. Even well before my mom got sick, my Dad was caring for family members. He lost his own Dad when he was younger than me. He lost his mother, sister and aunt (who was kind of like a second mother to him) all within a few short years of each other. My Dad, more than anyone I know, has every right to hate the world. I wouldn't blame him at all if he completely shut down. Life hasn't dealt him an easy hand. But even with all the tragedy, I've never once heard him blame anyone else. It would be wrong for me to let people think all of this hasn't impacted my Dad. It has definitely taken its toll. But even now, my Dad continues to amaze me with his determination to see the positive in every situation. My Dad is a testament to picking yourself up, and pressing forward. He teaches me every day that life is what you make of it. My Dad has taught me that even though all of life isn't wonderful, I can still do my best to make it a wonderful life for me and for others. He has taught me that life is short and that most of what we worry about doesn't matter. My Dad always likes to say that everyone needs three things in life to make them happy:
1. Someone to love.
2. Someone that loves them.
3. Something to look forward to.
My mom will never be able to thank my Dad for all the things he has done for her. But I can do my best to thank him on her behalf. So thanks, Dad, for loving my mother so unconditionally. Thank you for everything. She would be so proud of you and how well you've continued to take care of our family. You are a great husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend. I have never once doubted your love for me, my brothers, my mom or our family.
So I think it's safe to say that you love us, and we definitely love you. I also know Mom would want you to spend some time looking forward, and she would want you to still try and make it a wonderful life. You deserve happiness more than anyone I know. Thanks for making it a wonderful life for me, Dad.
I love you more than words can say.
Your Daughter, Katee
I hope that me writing this will encourage others to do something similar for the special people in their lives. Happy Holidays.
Hey Katee! is a weekly column where I'll discuss different topics every Friday. Have a question or topic you'd like me to ramble or rant about? Let me know!
Hey Katee! What did you think of Mike Conley's comeback performance in game 2 of the Western Conference Semi-finals?
I can probably assume that most of the people who are reading this don't really need any backstory on the Memphis Grizzlies starting point guard, Mike Conley, being injured. Long story short, Mike Conley suffered multiple fractures to his face when he was elbowed in the face during a game in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Just 8 days post surgery, a masked Mike Conley came out and played an incredible game against the number one team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. He finished with a game-high 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting. It was no doubt, an amazing game for Mike Conley, and the fact that he did it while being in pain and still very swollen from surgery had the sports world buzzing. Being a huge Memphis Grizzlies fan, I naturally was beaming with pride that night. Mike Conley made a comeback, and he was able to play better than anyone could have ever expected him to play when coming back from such an awful injury.
As I thought about Mike Conley's comeback story, I started thinking there might be more we can learn here that goes beyond a masked man playing incredible basketball. So if you don't mind going to a deeper level with me for a few minutes, please read on.
We all love a good comeback story. There's something so satisfying about seeing the underdog come back and do what others said he couldn't do. I tend to think we see ourselves in these kind of stories. Ultimately because there are times in most of our lives where we have to make our own comebacks. We come back from injuries. We come back from disease and sickness. We come back from depression and hopelessness. We come back from broken relationships. We come back from having life pull the rug out from under us in some way or another. We all like seeing the end result of a comeback story in the news but what they don't alway show us is what the person goes through prior to the comeback. In order for a comeback story to be authentic, the person usually has to experience pain in some form. It may be physical, mental or a combination of both. Regardless of the type of pain, the common ground is that it all hurts. And who likes to hurt? I know I don't. In fact, I spent a long time running from pain. The pain of having to close my business that I had put my blood, sweat, tears and money into for several years. I had also been running from the pain of dealing with my mother's early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis. I stayed in bed and avoided the world. I became depressed and it started to feel like all the good things that were going to happen in my life were over and all that was left was the painful stuff. And I didn't want to deal with that much pain. Most of us will do everything in our power to avoid pain. It's in our nature as human beings. It's instinctual. But as the author John Green said, "That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt." What a simple yet profound thought! Pain demands to be felt. A real comeback doesn't happen without real pain. Real pain is awful and rarely seems inspiring when we're in the middle of it. It isn't until we take that first step out of the darkness and decide to face the pain that we can start training for our comeback. One day while driving, it dawned on me that all of this time, I had been fighting to avoid a lot of the pain that I needed to face. That was when I decided to make a phone call to get help in facing it. I didn't do it all on my own, and I wouldn't want anyone to think I did. Reaching out for help was my first step in facing and fighting through the pain. When we start fighting through the pain instead of fighting to avoid it, that's when the real comeback begins. Otherwise, don't call it a comeback. (Yeah, I said it.)
So give yourself credit for the pain you've hurt through to make your comeback. If you are in the middle of the pain right now, and it hurts like hell, keep going. If nothing else, the pain means you're still here. It also means your comeback can start now! As for Mike Conley, I would like to think his comeback is part of a bigger picture. What some may think is just about basketball could actually be inspiring someone else to start their own personal comeback. Most of our comeback stories won't make the news, but that doesn't mean our stories aren't important. So don't be afraid to share your comeback story. We all tend to stay silent because we think that someone else has the bigger and better story. But I'm here to tell you that the level of the comeback isn't what's important, it's the comeback itself. It means you went through real pain that hurt and despite all the odds, you CAME BACK. So in this case, we will call it a comeback.
"There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time."
- Anne Lamott
Hey Katee! What do you think is required for one to actually call themselves a SuperFan?
This is a really fun topic for me because I consider myself to be in the SuperFan group versus the casual fan group. Although it's obviously subjective, I will do my best to break down what I think differentiates a SuperFan from a casual fan. Being a SuperFan of something can apply to a lot of different forms of entertainment and even people, but in this case I'm going to write about SuperFans in the sports world.
1. A SuperFan is dedicated to their team. No, like-- REALLY dedicated.
A SuperFan is so dedicated that it can occasionally borderline into an obsession. Okay, maybe more than just occasionally. A SuperFan will be at the game if at all possible. And if you can't, you are finding the nearest radio or tv because that one time you couldn't watch the game last season resulted in a loss. And even though you wouldn't necessarily admit it, you kind of feel responsible. You know, bad mojo and all that.
2. A SuperFan has friends and family that refer to the team as YOUR team.
SuperFans get texts and other messages from loved ones that say things like "I see that your Grizzlies won last night." or "I'm sorry about what happened to your Grizzlies." Family and friends also check on you after a rough loss and ask you how you are holding up.
3. A SuperFan does NOT always have extra tickets.... but your friends think you do.
When the playoffs roll around every year, there's always at least a few friends who ask you for tickets or if you can help them get tickets. Those friends expect you to have an endless supply of free or cheap tickets. Oh and if this sort of hook up actually exists for other SuperFans, then please, help a girl out.
4. A SuperFan finds ways to bring up their team in social situations where it would seem impossible to find a connection.
"It's funny that you mention newborns because Marc Gasol actually had a baby a few months ago and he also said it was a challenging transition." The people in these social situations may or may not look at you like you've got two heads. "Who is Marc? Oh, that's the starting center for the Memphis Grizzlies. Yeah."
5. A SuperFan has cried before, during, or after a game.
At the very least you have gotten misty-eyed, but more than likely you've flat out cried after a game. You may never admit it to anyone, but you know you've gotten emotional. Maybe it was because of a win, maybe it was because of a loss, but you've cried. I'm sorry to break it to you, but being an emotionally unattached SuperFan is impossible.
6. A SuperFan is invested in their team.
Not only is a SuperFan invested in their team, they are also invested in the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the players. When the game is over, a casual fan may be able to move on to the next activity or task with little to no effort. A SuperFan does not have that luxury. You will be thinking of all the things that went wrong.
"Did they start the wrong guy? Why did the coach put that lineup in? Did the ref get that call right? I don't think he got it right. I'm going to watch this again and see if he got it right. Yeah, I knew he didn't get it right. I bet that's why Zbo was looking over at him like that. It kinda seemed like the team was tired. Did you think they are getting enough rest?"
This will start as a conversation with another person until he or she is worn out. The conversation will then continue in your own head until you fall asleep.
7. A SuperFan will not handle another person telling them "It's just a game." very well.
In fact, after a loss, it's the last thing you want to hear. You also don't want to hear someone say "They'll get the next one." or "They almost won." Never, in the history of fandom, has any SuperFan wanted to hear this. It has never made you feel better. It has never made you "let it go" and it never will. Unless the person is going to offer a real opinion, you'd just prefer they say nothing at all. During these moments, a friend or family member has probably called you a jerk. That brings me to my next distinction....
8. Sometimes SuperFans are jerks, and they have to apologize to their friends and family.
Whether it was for throwing the remote control across the room, or ignoring a loved one because you were too busy looking at the box score, you've had to apologize for acting like a jerk to somebody. And you probably know by now that "I just really wanted them to win." usually doesn't cut it for an excuse.
9. SuperFans are passionate, and they don't always get along with other SuperFans.
Just because a fellow SuperFan likes the same team as you, does not mean you two will automatically be best friends. In fact, it may be just the opposite. SuperFans are very opinionated and when they get together, it can get kind of intense. When you all care about the same team THAT much, your passion can lead you to become defensive. You have probably ended up saying something rash like "If you think that one play at the end of the third quarter is why we lost the game, you've obviously lost your mind!" (Note: If you think this seems kind of mean, please refer back to #8.)
10. A SuperFan is sincere.
In my opinion, the most notable quality that all true SuperFans have in common is that they are sincere. They sincerely love their team. And being sincere about anything in today's world can be hard for other people to understand. To be a SuperFan, you have to be okay with a certain amount of vulnerability that comes with sincerely loving something that others merely see as a way to fill a few hours on a Sunday. You have to be okay knowing that yes, there are some people rolling their eyes at you. But just remember they don't always understand your connection to all of it. They don't realize how this team has gotten you through some really hard times. They probably can't see that it's provided a much-needed distraction for you when life hasn't gone your way. They may never understand, and that's okay. Because you know what's in your heart, and you know that it's something real. Your sincere love for this team has provided you with special moments where time stood still. It's helped you meet new friends that are now lifelong. Unfortunately, it's also the reason you've been so deeply disappointed when they got THAT close to winning it all, but came up short. And in what perhaps may be it's highest purpose, that sincerity has given some people an incredible memory with a dad, grandparent or other loved one that is no longer with them. A memory that they will cherish forever. But all of these moments, from the exhilarating wins to the disappointing losses, are what makes being a SuperFan so great. In a world of artificial, being a Superfan is sincerely the real deal. And that's why you wouldn't trade it for the world.
Hey everyone! In honor of the Memphis Grizzlies making it to the second round of the NBA Playoffs, I made a short video showing you all my "magic" Grizzmas tree. I plan on posting more videos in the coming days and weeks. Go Grizz!
Welcome to my new website, NBKay.com! Spoiler alert: I'm no one special. I consider myself a Memphis Grizzlies SuperFan, but you won't find me sitting courtside or rubbing elbows with the Memphis elite. You'll usually find me in the terrace section of the Grindhouse, screaming my head off and holding up my Grizzly Weight Championship wrestling belt. I'm just a normal girl with an abnormal level of passion for grit and grind. And I was inspired to share my story with all of you. Not because my story is more important or more interesting than yours. I guarantee that the majority of the people reading this have far more exciting lives and important stories to tell. But I started thinking that maybe if I open up and share some of the things I'm passionate about, it will inspire all of you to do the same. My story is a work in progress and my life is far from perfect. And although I plan to write plenty about my favorite team, this isn't a Memphis Grizzlies fan site. NBKay.com is my personal website where I am free to be myself. This is a place where sincerely loving the heck out of something is appreciated and encouraged. I've come to the conclusion that being snarky is overrated. So I'm giving myself permission to be sincerely excited about the things I love. I hope you'll do the same. Thank you for giving me a shot.
"I ain't really lookin' to be no star. I'm
not a star. I'm just a blue-collar guy who work hard every day."
- Tony Allen