Best Effort

I’ve never won anything in my life. But that’s only because best grade on an English essay counts for squat. There was the time I thought I had won an all-expense paid cruise, but that turned out to be a scam, and is also probably the reason I’ve gotten about a million fake calls every day for the last decade. Like everyone else, we’ve been watching the Olympics (or whatever highlights we can find on YouTube because we’re millennials, and, like, what’s cable?). It’s truly amazing what these athletes can do with their bodies. And given that there are people like THAT in the world, it’s no shock that I don’t win things sitting around and doodling all day. So imagine my surprise when I received a text from my mother: “found your trophies!” The tiny image that appeared on my watch was really impressive. For a fleeting moment I was rewriting my self-narrative – I guess I had just forgotten the award-winning athletic prowess of my youth. But upon enlargement a different memory was triggered: cheerleading at camp with all my tiny, thin friends. And the award ceremony, which had been repressed safely away in some dusty box in my brain, where I was handed this giant, sparkling trophy, with the words “BEST EFFORT” etched clear as day at the base. My mom’s follow-up text: “Don’t worry! If they gave trophies for art and personality, you would win!” And true that, mommy…

I really peaked in 5th grade. Mr. S had a point board that showcased all the high-scoring students from years gone-by. I, of course, was determined to earn my glory with a spot at the top. You got points for all sorts of things (including – and, yes, I won this – smallest handwriting). But you also earned points by reading books and doing book reports. And so, I pulled my first all-nighter when I was 12, when I stayed up reading Catherine Called Birdy. I could not for the life of me tell you what this book was about. But I can proudly report that I am still, to this day, at the top of that point board.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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