I refuse to give up. In the face of all of every single one of my white girl problems, I refuse to back down.
My friends often ask me why I’ve committed to so many activities that demand inordinate amounts of my time. Every once and a while (which has been more often than not as of late) I ask myself the same question. My quick answer is, “That’s just who I am, that’s just how I do things.”
Being an inquisitive mind, this answer is only to placate my questioner. A closer examination really does make me wonder.
Why do I commit myself to activities I complain about more than I enjoy? What makes all of the AP classes, responsibilities at home, 14-hours-a-week practices, and college applications worth the time?
Perhaps a more appropriate question might ask why I am so committed to competition. Who am I competing with? I wouldn’t work this hard unless I was desperate to beat someone—but whom?
Well folks, thanks for asking! Let me just put on my Trebek ‘stache and we’ll get started. I ask the question in answer form, and the contestants race to press their buttons first.
“Who are her peers?” Sorry contestant one—nice try, but no cigar.
Contestant two tries, “What are her parent’s expectations?” Once again, no cigar. Looks like Mr. Trebek will be having a nice smoke after the show.
Finally, contestant three gets it. “Who is Rachel Wilson?” Ding ding ding! Give her the double jeopardy and the grand prize; folks, we have a winner!
If only my life could be this simple, devoid of stress and hurry. If only my life wasn’t full of forgotten responsibilities, remembered last minute and completed helter-skelter two minutes before the deadline. If only my life could be reduced to a series of clear questions and answers, without all the confusion in between.
My favorite part of babysitting is the completely random, yet incredibly insightful questions my kids ask. Cameron and Delaney see so many things that I would never notice without their help. It could be as simple as noticing my haircut, or as complicated as asking questions about prayer, but their eyes are always open and they see everything in the simplest light.
Spending time with these two always makes me reflect on how I acted or thought at their age; my thoughts continually turn to my all-time favorite musical, The Sound of Music. Maria’s story isn’t the simplest one, but she finds her resolution in the simple answers—finding confidence in herself and following her heart. Whenever I’m in a tough situation, I remember her advice and “simply remember my favorite things” and “then I don’t feel so bad,” even though I still have to finish my task.
It’s finding the simplicity of it all that makes everything clearer. We may not understand it all as a child, but we can use what we do understand to give order to the rest of the world’s problems while in the middle of reading a bedtime story.
I feel like I have a lot of growing up to do over the next six months before leaving for college—but I also feel like I’ve done a lot of growing up already. I’ve taken on more responsibilities than I ever have in my ever-so-extensive life experience of seventeen years and six months, and in doing so have watched myself grow into a more competitive person in the process.
But recognizing the beauty of simplicity is key. After taking each of these challenges head-on, I’ve learned the importance of not overcomplicating as often as possible. Keeping it simple allows me to find my questions quickly, solve them in a timely manner, and move on to the next one. Because they might be white girl problems, but they’re my white girl problems.