Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Madonna Strong

Everyone has an opinion on Madonna's performance at the 2012 Super Bowl. This is NOT yet another arm chair quarterback critique. In fact, I read a great blog post that talked about how Madonna has always been a fighter. It's true. She has.

Madonna was always different. I remember seeing interviews with her former roommates and friends about when she was starting out. They all say that Madonna was talented, hard-working and different. Say what you will about her, you have to admit she is hard-working. That she is a fighter. That she demands perfection from herself and others. And that she doesn't give up. I admire that about her.

In my life, it seems like we get over one thing and start to feel like we can walk on sure footing and then we are smacked in the face with something else. I'm tired. I don't want to do "it" anymore. I just want to have a chance to rest and relax. For years it's been immigration, infertility, adoption, unemployment, etc. The list goes on. I try not to look at other people's lives because I know it is all surface perfection. I know we all have our struggles. When you go through infertility, you ask "why is it so easy for some people?" Is it worth fighting for? The past year, and especially the last few months have been trying. At times, I just feel like, "God, can I please get a break?"

Then I read a great blog post about Madonna and how she has been fighting from the beginning. At 53, Madonna should be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of her labor. But that is not how the woman is wired. And that is not how her life - or mine, or yours - is wired. We are in a constant struggle and battle. There is always something on the horizon. Some "bad news" or some "hurdle" we need to overcome. It's life.

Now, there is a difference between "struggle" and "drama."  Martin Luther King, Jr. had struggles. Rodney King had drama. Martin Luther King struggled for a purpose. He had a means to an end. His struggle was justified. No, I'm not about to compare Madonna's struggles with the greatest civil rights leader of the 20th century's struggles. The point is, in our lives, do we have struggles or do we have drama? Is it our struggle or is it someone else's drama that we are allowing to be our struggle? Some people took Rodney King's drama and made it their struggle when they burned down parts of L.A. Is it your struggle? Is it your drama? Or is it someone else's?

One nice thing about being over 40 is that I am at a stage in my life where I feel like I can really say: "I'm not taking your crap on." While I may not say that to someone's face, I am saying it to myself. I can distance myself from what I don't want to be involved in, including other people's drama.

Another nice thing about this stage of my life is that I know myself. I know how to read my own language. So the other day when I was feeling like I wanted to slap everyone around me silly, I realized my hormones were ramping up and I needed to step back and chill out. Otherwise, the drama created would have been mine. Created by me.

Ultimately though, we all have our own struggles. I think the difference is in how we approach it. Do we embrace the struggle, learn and move on? Or do we curl up in a ball and run from it? We need to know when to stand strong and when to run. When I did crisis pregnancy counseling, I often asked the girls to imagine what is the worst thing that could happen if they told their parents they were pregnant. And then I asked them the best thing. Usually, the reality is somewhere in between - parents typically don't kill their daughters for getting pregnant. What's the best thing that could happen if you go for it? What is the worst thing? Sometimes, we don't know the answer to that question. We just know we are in the struggle and we have to see it to the end.

Sometimes our struggles make us stronger. Other times, it puts us one step closer to the prize. If we had not struggled with infertility. If we had not ruled out reproductive options. If we had not stumbled through the adoption process. We would not be our son's parents. People all over the world would not have been touched by our son's story. We could have decided to remain childless. Nothing wrong with that choice. Some days I regret not going that route. But there was something inside that made us move on and keep going. Keep fighting.

It's that drive and desire inside that keeps us going. That keeps us moving from struggle to struggle to victory. It's knowing that we can do better. We can be better. That "thing" inside us that won't let us rest. That won't let us quit early. That even when we are at the top of our game, like Madonna has been, that makes us keep going. Keep reaching.

Where will today's struggle take you tomorrow?  What prize is waiting to be unlocked in your life?


FaithChick said...

Well said! Really needed that today, you just have no idea.


Glad it helped you. That's why I blog - to help others.