Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My morning routine consists of waking up at 5:00, making my coffee and walking entirely too many dogs (3) on a mile and a half trek, praying we don’t run across an errant squirrel or rabbit.  (There’s not enough Cesar Milan in the world to keep my 3 dogs from taking me out for critter in our path.  Pack Leader, my ass.)  To reward myself for participating in such a Fear Factor-esque stunt each morning, I take refuge on my couch and enjoy the commercial-less shows I DVR’d the night before.  On my lineup this morning - The Voice. 

The show started off like any other; entirely too much build up for 2 minutes of singing - albeit very good singing – and because it’s the “Battle Rounds” each song completion resulted in one of the coaches selecting a winner from the competing duo.
So there I sat, in the dark, sipping my coffee and watching these amazingly talented people sing for their lives when all of a sudden, I’m bawling like a baby.  I don’t mean I got teary.  I mean doubled over, head in hands, mouth open, drool descending, audible gasps, ugly crying.  I even did the breath thing your 3 year old does when he’s worked himself into a tantrum frenzy.  You know, the one that when they attempt to speak it comes out like they’re being punched in the stomach with each syllable – why-y a-am I-I cry-y, i-ing (yes, I actually said these words aloud with only me in the room.)  What the hell, drama?  Even my dogs were profoundly confused. 
I mean, sure, I get teary when I witness an amazing voice or hear a song sung better than the original - especially when it comes out of an unsuspecting subject - but this was just a run-of-the-mill duo singing a song, doing what they were born to do.  And that’s when it hit me.  They were BORN to do this.  They have their childhood idols extolling their greatness on national TV, validating their very existence on this earth, confirming everything they had been working for and sacrificing for all their lives.  The coaches utter phrases such as, “You were born to do this,”  “You belong on my team,” and my very favorite line from the smokin’ hot Adam Levine, “You are very, very special.”  

Just once…  But I digress.

So why get all weepy about some strangers on TV receiving validation for something they were born to do?  Because they knew what they were born to do.  They knew what they wanted to be when they grew up.  They had it figured out and had people who saw the potential in them to grow them into accomplished "whatevers" – to help them achieve their dreams.
What was I born to do?  Who is extolling my greatness?  Who is validating me?

On some level I’ve always known that I didn’t have the drive to do any one thing.  And I think that’s because I realized I’m not particularly good at anything.  That’s a harsh reality and one I’ve never really taken the time to say out loud.  Karen, you are not exceptional - you have no discernible talent.  There, I said it, and it sucks.  I guess I will never know what it feels like to be the best at something or hear Adam Levine say to me, “You are very, very special.”

And that’s when my son came out from his bedroom with his bed-head hair, rubbed his sleepy eyes and, without even asking me why I was crying (or talking to myself), he slowly turned to the TV and said, “Oh, The Voice is on!  Mom, I wish you were famous.  That would be so cool.” 

What a little bastard.


  1. I'm no Adam Levine (my abs are ever so slightly less chiseled than his, for example), but I do write and teach writing for a living. So, for what it's worth:

    You were born to write.

    That's not empty praise, either. I remember taking a writing class back in the early 90's from a local humorist--she was from Nixa, as I recall--who was flirting with national recognition ("The Next Erma Bombeck," as one of the national morning shows called her). Your wit, timing, and delivery put her to shame.

  2. I don't know if this is the caffeine talking or not, but I'm teary after reading your comment. I will take that over Adam Levine any day! Truly, you have no idea what that means to me. Thank you, Lance. (!)

  3. Lance stole my comment... Mike sends me these occasionally and I was playing a little catch up after he sent todays post... you WERE born to write! I'm doubled over in tears of laughter thinking, "Karen, get out of my head!" You should write a book, it would sell like hot-cakes and then your son's wish of a famous mama would come true! :)

  4. DAMMIT, you two with the tears! I'm beyond flattered that you think I could make money at writing, and even more so that you laugh at my tales. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    By the way, I think it's the best idea EVER to write a book and become famous that way. I call that a win/win! So love you for reading - thank you!