When Hard Work Isn’t Enough

Yesterday, I watched someone I love get absolutely shafted out of not one, but three totally-deserved awards. Before you call out my bias, I’ve seen nominees get the same bullshit treatment because of the pettiness in someone’s heart, the preexisting prejudice against a program, and underlying favoritism. Obviously, I’m trying to keep this vague for the privacy of those involved, but I’m pissed off and I want to scream it from the rooftops!

I understand that this blog post reads more like a “personal Facebook status” in the words of my amazing editor (Thank you, Vanessa. Please hire her. She seriously is amazing). Just stick with me here and this vagueness will all have a purpose. Do I envy their job to choose between nominees who all deserve an award? No. Every single one of the nominations were valid, in my humble opinion. But, when the trend is always against one program because of your beef with ONE person on staff? Not cool. For those of you who did win, it was absolutely well deserved. Congratulations! They just missed a couple awards in what I viewed was an attempt to “stick it to the man”, which is just so on brand it’s disgusting. Those “couple awards” are not just with people I share blood with either… a lot of people got fucked over in this.

Okay, enough vague chatter. If you know, you know. So, what advice can I offer the person that I love? As someone who’s not directly involved, I’m angry. So, those who are have fire coming out of their ears – as they should! What do we do with that anger, hurt, and heartbreak? What can we learn from situations when we get totally robbed out of the recognition that we deserve? What can we do when someone else’s actions affect us, but we really can’t do anything about it? What do we do when all our hard work feels like it goes down the drain without answers or rationale?

I sat around thinking of the best way to say this today. Honestly, I can’t think of a way that doesn’t suck. So, I’m just going to say it and hopefully, you’ll stick with me: sometimes, hard work isn’t enough. 

Photo credit: Penny Hazeltine

Alright, ya’ll still here? Don’t get me wrong. I could write a novel about the advantages of hard work around your life. But as I watched the person that I love question if he worked hard enough, I was reminded that sometimes life kicks us really hard just to see if we can get up again. We can work as hard as our muscles will let us and as fast as our bones move, but sometimes life puts a big hurdle in front of us just to see if we can jump. 

Sometimes, there’s not a rationale either. Sometimes you do every single thing right. You show up, you work hard, you treat people right, and you give off positive energy that the world is asking for but somebody doesn’t like you that day and punished you for it. It was never about how hard you worked. It was about them; their insecurities and their power struggle.

Hard work is enough when it comes to running toward your goals in a full out sprint. Those bumps, though, they don’t discriminate against how fast you’re running. The person that’s at a slow jog probably navigates these bumps easier. The person that’s at a sprint probably gets knocked on their ass every single time. Yet, they still get up and they still sprint. 

Sometimes, my loves, life isn’t fair. That’s not me saying that as your baby boomer Grandma who is invalidating your feelings. That’s being realistic. If you walk through life thinking that only good things happen to good people and only bad things happen to bad people, you’re in for a rude awakening. Truth is, we get thrown the good, bad, ugly, beautiful, confusing, vulnerable, emotional, funny, heartwarming, and so many more to teach us lessons. No matter what your faith is or how you feel about God, Allah, presence, or even lack thereof. It’s a scientific fact that our brains take our experiences to turn them into little connections in our brain for lessons on how to act in the future. 

I didn’t say this to the person who was suffering because it felt kind of off topic, but I’m going to say it now. No one looks up to a bitch that hasn’t struggled. That sounds very judgemental and maybe it was, but truly no one looks up to people who don’t go through something. Please, prove me wrong, but people don’t idolize others who don’t work hard or go through something to get where they are. I mean, people with really successful businesses, careers, or activism go through something. It’s a fact. Prove me wrong. 

So, even if you’re planning on walking the most perfect path, there’s going to be pain, loss, and vulnerable times that don’t make any sense in the moment. Grand scheme, though, they just might.

So, what can we honestly take away from all of this so that it doesn’t make us want to fight someone like Bad Girls Club? 

  • Life tests us with hurdles to see how we’ll get up 
  • Sometimes people suck & they want to see you fail
  • Bumps look different to different people depending on how hard their working
  • You get a mixture of experiences thrown at you
  • Those who lack struggle aren’t the ones we care about long term

All of these pills are hard to swallow in their own way. I would consider myself a sprinter. I work hard at whatever I’m doing, but a couple of large bumps made for some scary falls and made it hard to sprint without being scared again. Even now, it’s hard to put all of my effort into something. I fear I’ll fall again… but that’s the test. Now, I’ve made getting up when I’m down a habit, a brand and a priority. People expect it. I expect it from myself. 

This blog is dedicated to the kids who got knocked down as a result of one adult’s beef with the staff member of one program. It’s dedicated to the kids who 100% deserved the awards they were given and praised for, but also for the kids that didn’t receive an award to project pain. This is for the girl that sang through nodes in all of her lead performances. This is for the kid that had to learn a brand new part and reteach an entire dance right before opening night. This is for the kid that played the Charlie Chaplin in the first high school rendition of Chaplin the Musical but didn’t win. This is for those who played The Music Man in the “The Music Man” which won Best Musical, but didn’t win best lead. This is for all the blood, sweat, and tears that have been put onto that stage, a run that has gotten taken away for a pandemic, and each ounce of hard work that you put in. This is not for the petty adult issues that caused these kids to wonder whether they’re picking the right path or what they could have done better. It’s not pitting kids against each other, but recognizing the beauty that came together to create such brilliance. This is about recognizing their hard work – what it ALWAYS should have been about. So yeah, your hard work wasn’t enough to push through the politics of the Jerry Awards, (whoops, that’s some tea….) but it was enough for every audience member, the writers of Chaplin: The Musical, and everyone that genuinely matters in your journey toward greatness.

Photo credit: Penny Hazeltine

People watch us when we fall. They applaud us when we get back up and they only notice again the next time we fall. So, you need to be the one that notices when you’re sprinting. You need to be the one that notices when you’re moving  fast and  powerfully. You need to be the pat on your back that says, “Wow, I got kicked down, spit on, and laughed at, but look at me now.” That needs to come from you. Grand scheme: if you are working your hardest, that’s all you can do. No ifs, ands, or buts. So stop beating yourself up about it, stop questioning your worth, and get back up every damn time.

At the end of the show, or the job, or crazy hard school project, you’re not going to remember who thought you weren’t worthy. You’re going to remember who thought you were. Make sure you’re one of your own biggest fans.

My Take: March for Life

I know that not all my followers are going to agree with me here. I know that not even all my friends agree with me. It’s controversial – I’m not really sure why sexuality or reproductive rights fall under that hush-hush category, but here we are.

My hot take: Abortion is health care.

Listen, I’m so for collective, social action. The people that are in office are working FOR us. Our votes got them into their seats and their votes should therefore reflect those Americans. I’m gonna say it, though, I think March for Life is grasping.

I read a lot of news through the explore page on Twitter. It pissed me off to see captions that read “We are the generation for life.” I think that you’d have to be a literal psychopath to not want happy, healthy life for Americans.

Before we move forward, I should just make sure that I say that I consider myself VERY much pro-choice. I absolutely don’t want more women to get abortions because the circumstances that lead them to make that decision are just awful. So, fighting for that right does not mean that I want more women to do it. What it means, is that the choices about my body, my future, and whether or not I’m ready for a family will be made by me. At risk of sounding a little cold, Karen from Montana’s choices about reproduction do not affect me at all….. so who the fuck am I to stop her from doing what she feels is right? So, pro-choice is just that. If abortion goes against your morals or your religion, don’t get one. If you know in your bones that it’s the right decision to make based on the circumstances that got you there, you should have that right.

March for Life isn’t even about life, though. I mean, that’s a generalization, but if you talk to anyone that is fiercely “pro-life” they’ll start arguing that there are other options. “You’re old enough to have sex, you should be old enough to deal with the consequences.” and “What about the adoption?” Those would be really valid arguments, if any government money was then being allocated to social programs to help children in need or the foster care system? You can’t force women to have children when they would have chosen abortion and call that a “solution”, when the problem is that the needs of the child can’t be met for the next 18 years.

So, “pro-life” shouldn’t even be what that side is called. It’s pro-birth. You don’t want increase tax money that can go to resources to help these mothers in need. You don’t give a fuck that the foster system is one of the most broken institutions in our country. You want a woman to carry a sack of cells to full term just for the purpose of birth. I will add, the woman’s life is also a life, right? Or, does it only count as a life when it’s in someone’s uterus? If you’re going to state that you’re fighting for life, it’s gotta be for all lives involved!

I will clarify for some people who are ready to tear me apart in a comment or tweet. A) This is my singular opinion. It’s a personal blog. Chill. B) Of course, life has context that should be considered! Like do I think that they should allow a woman to get an abortion at 39 weeks pregnant? No. Like all rights and freedoms that we have in this country, there is reasonable and rational guidelines. For example, you have all the free speech you want until you start saying racial slurs in a mall, then your ass is going to jail.

The most important decorations at the bar! Planned Parenthood has a ton of cool mass mobilization initiatives & ways to get involved @PPact on Twitter!

I’m not even going to get into the broken record that is “What about women who are raped or victims of incest?” In my mind, all reasonable people are empathetic enough to understand that a woman should not be forced into motherhood as she was forced into a sexual encounter. So, I’m not even going to use that argument to backup my argument.

What I will say, is that 77% of Americans do NOT want to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to NPR and PBSNews. That’s a pretty hefty majority. So yes, there are thousands of people at this march – but there have been millions of people who’ve marched for women’s rights since the 1920s’. Honestly, I know that I’m on the right side of history here, but there was, at one point, a group of people that thought women voting was morally wrong as well. That is definitely comparing apples to oranges, but historical context – wins and losses from both sides – are so important in making these policy changes.

Overturning Roe v. Wade might make you sleep better at night or that a group is a bunch of murderers. It doesn’t stop abortions though. It opens the flood gates of unsafe, unclean, or at-home abortions that woman will see as a last resort. Which puts the life of the mother in danger and still terminates a pregnancy like this movement doesn’t want? I guess, I’m just confused…

If you don’t believe in abortions, don’t get one. If you think that pre-marital sex is a sin, don’t have it. If you believe that a sack of cells is considered a baby, more fucking power to you. But, just no one should be forced to get an abortion by their government, no one should be forced to be a mother either.