How to be Amazing

Rowan has always been incredibly strong and flexible. She learned to do headstands against the wall when she was two and can easily do splits, straddles, and backbends. It isn’t something she’s ever had to practice. It’s always been a skill set she’s naturally had.

Recently we decided to put her in gymnastics, and she has loved every second and has grown in leaps and bounds. Two weeks ago she had a chance to watch the “big girls” in the gym. They were practicing for their next competition, and Rowan saw them doing their floor routine, which included walkovers, handsprings, round-offs, and leaps. She hasn’t stopped talking about it, and she’s always wondering, “Are the big girls in the gym right now, Mama?” I catch her practicing leaps and splits in her room, but she’s getting frustrated with her limitations. She is seeing a big, new world of gymnastics, and she’s ready to do those amazing things, too.

But she’s not ready. Her little body is strong and is doing amazing things already, and she’s been selected to move to the pre-competitive team this summer. She has a natural talent and skill that the coaches want to build on and foster into something more. I love that she’s learning at such a young age that to reach for amazing isn’t by chance or without hard work.

Last year, I had a long-time, very loved client ask me how I was so amazing after I delivered her images. I’ve thought about that comment often since then, and the truth is, I do not consider myself to be amazing. I don’t ever want to feel amazing or that I’ve arrived or reached my goal, and since then I’ve considered what it takes to truly become what you dream of being? To stretch and reach towards that pinnacle?

Instead of that pinnacle in the last several months, I’ve surprisingly found a space of relative comfort and confidence. I’ve written before about conquering the gap that Ira Glass so eloquently described. The chasm that beginners find when embarking on a dream is intimidating; it’s frightening. The self-doubt and the frustration can be incredibly overwhelming, and it’s easy to get lost in the muck, to splash around in it and get stuck.

Comfort and confidence is a welcome shift from anxiousness, fear, and frustration. After endless hours of practicing, of analyzing, of studying. Endless hours of searching for my heart inside of my images and style. It’s incredibly satisfying to finally exhale. I enjoy feeling more confident about my work and my style. But it’s also nice to know I’m not amazing. Because that means there is still so much more to do, room to grow, and progress to make.

One day I’m sure Rowan will do a walkover and handspring. She will be one of the big girls in the gym and will find so much more comfort and confidence. And I hope that she understands that amazing isn’t a destination. Amazing is a reaching, a longing, and a desire for more that is never quite achieved, and that’s what makes it beautiful.

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