Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Never Ending Question...Why

When this blog was created in 2013, it was created with the intent that any person in
the activity could write for it...performers specifically. This is a touching look at the life of a current performer of Paradigm, Nicole Goldberg. In this post, she speaks of the struggle to get her parents to understand colorguard. It's a look at what many of us have faced in the fight for pageantry. Also, it is a look at what young people in our culture face, specifically young women, for the right to individualism. 

The first time I ever saw my brother spin his bow in sparring class, I knew I wanted to spin. I didn’t know exactly what I would be spinning, but I was enthralled by watching that bow and I knew I would do something similar one day. Growing up, I preferred bugs and books to Barbies and beanie babies, which was a disappointment to my beauty queen mother, but she coped, hoping I would grow out of my tomboy phase as I got older. My favorite movie growing up was Cadet Kelly on Disney Channel. It’s a movie about an expressive and very eccentric young girl who gets sent to military school and becomes a feature on her schools drill team. So, when I was younger and my mother approached me about possibly starting baton classes. I showed her a scene from Cadet Kelly in which they spin rifle and told her that is more of what I wanted to do. I must have seen smoke come out of her ears. The first question out of her mouth was “Why?” and my answer was, “Because it looks cool!” That was the end of that conversation. 

As I got older, dance became a passion; hip hop specifically. I cringed at the thought of ballet and after finally agreeing to take my first ballet class, I left after three months because of the constant abuse I was getting from the teacher for my turnout and my point. After 6th grade, I quit dancing and gained 30 pounds. I became super lazy and eating became my outlet. So, when high school rolled around, I swore to my mom I would get involved in a club or sport to keep me busy. Being captain of her cheerleading squad, it was only proper for my mom to keep bringing cheerleading up as a (biased) option. I brought up spinning a gun again and her fist clenched so tight I thought she would cry. Again...

“Why” she asked.

"Because it looks cool!" 
“Why not something more feminine?”

To avoid the argument, I told her I had cheerleader auditions and went to color guard auditions for my high school instead. She was a little surprised when I walked out with a flag instead of pom poms, but she didn’t say a word besides “How much is this going to cost?” The first year was extremely trying for me. Let’s just say, my nickname for flag tosses was "Catapult." Of course, being 13 and a girl, my reaction to my frustration was to cry to my mother. She responded by asking me encouraging me to give up.  "Maybe it’s just not your thing,” she would say.  If anyone knows me personally, they know that comments like that make me work harder. The end of my freshman year, I got the award for most improved. So, it was only fitting I wanted to go back sophomore year. “Why?” my mother consistently asked. After much arguing and begging, sophomore year came and went. Junior year was the hardest year I had in high school. I was marching captain, taking seven regular school classes, two online classes, three college courses and head of my youth leadership team at my church. I had my hands full and was always tired or cranky from all of the stress I put on myself. As per usual “Why stay with color guard if you’re so stressed?” We came to a deal. If I got at least a B in every class I was taking, I could continue guard through senior year without the questions. Don’t get me wrong, my parents came to football games and competitions because they wanted to watch, but they didn’t understand what kept bringing me back. Senior year, I was head captain. We broke 70 that year in FFCC championships and for my team that was huge. I graduated with honors and as a thank you to my high school guard, I went back to help the year after.

 “Why?" My mother asked once again. "I thought this was over for you once high school ended.” 

I told her I was getting paid to come back so she didn’t believe I was completely wasting my time. I told her I wasn’t marching, only helping, so I was making money instead of spending it. Let me just say, helping but not marching when you’re physically able to march is like putting wine in front of my instructors and telling them not to drink it. It killed me that I wasn’t marching again. I fell into a huge depression that spiraled out of control and found Paradigm in the nick of time. When I proposed marching again to my parents, it was like I told them I shot the dog.

“Here it goes!” I thought to myself. “Why spend money you don’t have for something that won’t benefit you later? Why waste time when you could be working?" I had heard these questions adnausiem. 

Why why why why why! 

At times, I even started asking why and didn’t have my answer until I went to Dayton this year. 

Why, because I am the girl who hides behind her books and her desk and avoids holding a conversation because I feel awkward. 

Why, because I am the girl who hates confrontation because I don’t want people looking at me. 

Why, because I am the girl that tears herself apart for everything that I am not. 

But when I am out on the mat or the field, I feel like someone. I feel like I am a part of something greater than me and I am bringing happiness and smiles (hopefully) to the faces of those watching me. I push myself to my limits for a reason. I don’t pay my fees for the memories! I do it because it makes me feel alive. I know it’s hard to explain why anyone would want to spend money to sleep on a gym floor for a couple of weekends, but if you saw the passion in the eyes of the performers at Dayton, you would understand why we all do it. We feel alive and the family I have found in winterguard makes it that much better. I am not scared to be myself, or whether or not my teammates always like me. they are stuck with me and they will get over it. I may not always like what my staff members say to me or make me do, but I’ll get over it and I’ll thank them in the long run because they’re teaching me life lessons I’ll need to know later on. Like being on time and forgiving myself when I make a mistake. 

Before winterguard, I didn’t feel like I had a purpose or anyone to really turn to. In this sport and in the program I call home...Paradigm, I found people who totally get it and want nothing more than to help me be successful. I know my mother is right when she says I’m losing money, but I don’t care! Money truly cannot buy happiness. Happiness comes from putting in work and seeing results while having people there to support you and THAT why I march. So now, when my mother asks why guard? I say because money cannot buy happiness.