In high school, I was an athlete. I chose to be a three-sport varsity athlete since freshman year, resulting in my sacrifice of other things. Tennis, Fencing, Badminton. Nevertheless, I pursued science research, the literary magazine, the school newspaper and photography. I worked with autistic kids. What didn’t I do?
Senior year, I joined a class. Stages. No, Stages was more than a class. It was a group of people I would have never talked to, never bothered with. Why not? Well, we were from different social scenes, different crowds. Some people were cooler than I was- why would they bother with me? But Stages managed to do something no other class I’d ever taken had done. Stages made us all equal. Together, we fought like siblings for a year to create a musical from scratch. The monologues, the score, the everything: we did it.
The show was called Rock Bottom, about a man and his daughter who went into witness protection to hide from a mobster who was coming after them. There was one character, one song, that I’ve realized still sticks with me, in the back of my head anywhere I seem to go. It was one of taking chances. Empathizing in a tough situation. Saying, “I’ve been there. I’ve been you.” Saying that the person being sung to shouldn’t be afraid and that if they don’t try, “You miss all of the shots you don’t take.”
Lately, it feels like my life has gone through the wringer. I’ve lost loves, lost friends, lost some hope along the way. But in the back of my head, I can’t help but remember that song. The message. Keep trying, because you miss all of the shots you don’t take. Never would I have thought that I would be here, thinking about this right now, when it feels like there’s nothing left. But in reality, there is. There is so much to be grateful for.
Right now, I’m in a position where I have everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. How can that be? Money can buy you anything but the most important thing in the world. Money cannot buy happiness. Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and happy? I ask myself this question every day. Rational me would probably say rich and alone. I could do good things and try to make everyone around me happy. But the idealist within me would say poor and happy. But in reality, can someone be truly happy without some sort of monetary source in this day and age?
Regardless, it’s weird to have everything someone could want or potentially have it within reach but feel like you have nothing at the same time. Watching other people go on in life without you, making bonds with each other, forgetting you exist. Other people doing the things that you wish you could do- if you were only healthy enough.
But you see, there’s a book. It’s called A New Normal. It was written by a young girl when she felt like she had nobody and no guidance in life. She decided that no child should feel that way, the way that she felt. So, she took her mind, her words, and created something. A something she wished that she had when she was in the loneliness she felt. But she took a shot at something she didn’t know the outcome of. That girl, that’s someone I want to be.
I’ve decided. To be that girl, the girl who I was in the past, I need to stop overthinking. I need to do. Go after what I want to make into a reality. When someone says I cannot do it, find a way around that. Because if not, I’d be missing all of the shots I didn’t take. And me, now, I don’t want to be a girl who doesn’t try. Because if you don’t try, don’t fight, you’ll never know.
So, if you know me, you know who I am and what I’ve gone through. And now’s my chance to turn things around and little by little make things a bit better. Because, this is my rock bottom and now I’m digging my way up and out.
A lyric in a song once read,
you miss all of the shots you don’t take.