Monday, January 29, 2007

Playing the Game

"Guess I'm just too close to the mirror to see what you see in me."
--- surprisingly profound lyric from cheesy gospel song heard last Sunday

Have you ever wanted to be a part of a group that you didn't relate to?

For some, it was the cool crowd back in high school. Or maybe now it's whoever is in the "Got My Shit Together" club . My homegirl said her group is "People in longstanding, happy relationships or marriages". You get what I'm saying, right?


Cuz that's how I feel about this grad school stuff. When I visited NYU's Stern business school in September, I left saying "I'm not like any of these people". I saw the students as blending, hard-ass, boring, worker bees. Cookie-cutter future business leaders of America. While I was down for the business & leadership education, I did NOT want to sign up for the rest of what seemed to come with a Marketing M.B.A.

It's such an identity issue for me. I don't want to be anything like those brown-nosing white boys in undergrad. Deep down, I know that I don't have to and I won't. Yet, I'm intimidated by the potential influence of it all. Should I get in, I will be influenced.

When I expressed this concern to a homie, she simply suggested for me to "Play the game." I knew what she meant but I didn't like the advice. Granted, she's VERY good at it and had definitely gotten results from it. I just don't like the manipulation it requires.

I have moral reservations about it. It's not like I don't or I haven't played games or role-played before. But I usually play the games that I create--- not someone else's.

If it's my game, then I get to create the rules which means I'm much more likely to win.
If I play someone else's game, who knows?

I'm scared I might lose:o/

I've got this Life-pausing conversation in my mind around failure. And this fear (of getting knocked down on my ass) has me to live as a passionate observer. Like a hardcore sports fan. The kind that go all out and spend all kinds of time and money for a team that they love. At times, the way they carry on you wonder if they somehow think they're playing the game too. I would laugh at them--- A LOT.

But now I see we're no different.
I'm so used to observing Life, that I forget that I'm really not doing anything. Technically, I am because I'm experiencing emotions and thinking about things.
But there's no risk. There's no action.
It's a very safe place in the stands.

But when you've got a masked, 330 lbs. corn-fed man running straight for you,
who's only intention is to take your ass OUT, it's a little different.
It's called risk.

What does someone in the stands risk? Choking on a hot dog?
Foreign objects thrown in the height of fury? Exactly.

But when I'm on the field, I'm actually positioned to ACCOMPLISH something. And I will fail and fail and fail and fail again. Just like how every receiver and running back doesn't score a touchdown every time they get the ball. They take hits on every play. Some of the hits are so hard you might wonder how they will recover. Yet, they get up and do it all over again as if the next attempt is THE ONE. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't. But I've never seen a player leave the field/court after a few failed attempts, turnovers, fumbles, or errors.

To win a game that I choose to play?

What victory is sweeter than THAT????

I can't win games in the stands.

It's time to PLAY!

Love it Love it Love it, JoiJoi!!! You're absolutely right...and you just got me out of the stands. Will share with you later:) Love ya!

Gurrrl! This is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT on sooooo many levels. And you KNOW how I have an analogy for EVERYTHING, so I was following this one with glee! LOL

I said out loud twice, "Gurl, you betta SAY THAT!" LOL. You are on point about the implications of putting yourself among that dynamic (buttkissin', priviledged, game-playin' white boys) and you're also right about the fear of survival or co-existence in the bschool environment.

I rejected it totally at first. I HATE feeling like I have to alter myself to "fit" expectations of me. At the same time, I hate feeling like I'm doing Black folks a disservice if I DON'T do my best. I hate networking and small talk. It's so bee-essey to me.

Initially, I was like "I do NOT get down with these folks. Damn all this corporate bullisht...gimme my degree." But THEN, I got in one of 500 "groups" for a project, and one after the other, I learned that they don't know as much as you THINK they do. They're not as confident as you THINK they are. Their lives aren't as paved for them as you THINK they are. And often, they're more in admiration of YOU (and how you unflinchingly contribute to class discussion in a WTH kinda a uniquely YOU kinda way).

It is indeed scary to put yourself out there with "unknown competition". It's easy when you KNOW you're head and shoulders above the rest. But I tell you...when I stepped into an Ivy League program knowing NO ONE where the competitiveness stepped up 20 MORE levels than my own program, I was nervous. But you know...when I relaxed and did my best, I was soooo proud that I not only held my own, but excelled in a challenging environment.

That self-esteem does more than shakin' your pom-poms EVER will.

LORD let me shut up, but this really opened a can. My #1 thing at THIS VERY POINT in life is for me to stop spectatin' and play...HARD. We're only here once. Fear of failure/fear of success = fear of living. Life FLIES by too fast and before you know it, you've avoided relationships, challenges, experiences, new people, and SO many memories just because you were playing it safe.

Safe doesn't fulfill you. Safe doesn't show you what you're capable of. Safe shows others you're not a threat to them.

Who CARES who's threatened?! Who are we NOT to be our very best? We don't honor God who blessed us with all this excellent capacity to do GREAT things for us to sit around afraid to use it.

And one of my favorite quotes? "Potential means you ain't doin' nothin' now!"

I look at someone telling me I "have potential" TOTALLY differently now.

Suit up Joiia. You're ready for this! ;^D
I know I am a little late coming in on this...I am studying for this ugly CA bar like my life depends on it.

Anyway, I say, "You ready? Lets go get 'em!!!" Thats what I think of every morning I get up and start another day at my law firm and another day staring at these bar prep books...No one is going to stop me. Period. Not even myself. Don't be scared of greatness. Now, don't be fooled, the idea of greatness sounds great but no one ever thinks of what goes into creating greatness. For most people it isn't easy. There will be injuries (to your self-esteem, pride, beliefs, and even your mental sanity), there will be casualties (some of your friends/boyfriends/significant others just won't understand so they've got to go), and there will be some pain along the way (this sh*t just sucks/I want to go hang w/ my girls but I don't have time/I just had my heart broken but I still have to show up and be productive and smile and be pretty and act like its all good all at the same time). And I can't say it any better than naturallycurlygurl did, but dammit, it is worth it at the end. Joi, go get 'em.
very deep. too close to home.

working on getting out the stands. working on it.

good luck.

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