WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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growing resilience

Allowing space for what we love grows resilience.  Making time for joy and comfort lets us recognize our inherent worth and shelve our real or imagined shortcomings.  A (lengthy) example:

Vonda Lee Lunsford and Jimbo Jenkins were my high school’s power couple.  Vonda Lee was a cheerleader; Jimbo played football.  Both were fierce athletes and apathetic academics, save for Physical Education where kinesthetic savvy compensated for scholarship.

The PE teachers were their own power couple.   Applying the same intensity to PE lessons as to drilling the football team, Coach Graham frequently became overwrought during class.  On these occasions, tiny, be-whistled Coach Bacon called a timeout and pulled him aside.  She once counseled, “Take a breather, Coach.  You don’t want to blow your wad on a buncha nerds who don’t know a hacky sack from a shuttlecock.”

Favoring Vonda Lee and Jimbo, the coaches consistently named them team captains.  Always in the bottom quartile of team selections, I prayed I would faint or be called to the office.  Instead, I wound up on a team and the captains berated me the rest of class as I watched kickball after kickball roll under my outstretched leg.

Dance was my sport.  The ballet mistresses appreciated my flair and assumed I had more talent than I did.  The day after I told them my PE woes, Ms. Gerrie and Miss Irma handed me a note for the Coaches.  It stated, “Please find Whitney something else for PE.  Things y’all do could jeopardize her real big talent and progresses [sic] in the dance arenas.”  For the remainder of my PE career, I wrote papers detailing the history and benefits of activities like crab soccer. 

Sitting on the bleachers among encyclopedias and sports magazines, I was a bigger target for Vonda Lee and Jimbo.  But I didn’t care.  Regardless of topic, learning, writing, and telling stories fed my soul.  Plus I was good at it.

See, the hard and onerous become more manageable when our authentic selves feel fed and full by doing something we love.  We become more willing to be our resilient, creative selves.  The holidays offer a just-right time for this gift.  Enjoy.

Whitney Cain