The Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.Teddy Roosevelt

I have always been a big believer in the idea that creative inspiration does not flow in a continuous pattern. I feel that there are periods of time when my brain is itching to churn out new ideas and thoughts. It honestly has not been that way for the past couple months, mainly because my brain has been full of concepts and thoughts for school work. I find that when I’m stressed I often hit a creative brick wall. I am sorry for my lack of posts, but I truly do not want to waste anyone’s time writing things I don’t believe in. However, this morning, my brain said we need to write this out, and that’s where today’s post starts.

I have finally had a moment to begin climbing the great wall of Writer’s Block, as I am now in my last month of Graduate school. It’s hard to believe that almost 2 years ago, I made the decision to go back to school for my Master’s, knowing that I would be doing so while working full time. I was not even prepared for how difficult working full time and going to school would be, and I can say that I’ve gained a new sense of respect for working parents who go back to school. We have a dog, and at times it has felt overwhelming to me.

Since my brain has now had some time to take a breath, it’s been doing some thinking. The reason I referenced the Teddy Roosevelt quote is because my Dad always used to say this quote to me when I was in high school. He’d usually reference this right after an upsetting volleyball game, or band competition. While he wouldn’t quote the entire thing, he’d always say, “The credit belongs to the man in the arena”. I always thought this was a sports reference, in that the arena referenced a court or field. Now, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun realizing: what if the arena doesn’t reference a specific area? What if life is the arena?

I think what Roosevelt (and my Dad) were getting at it here is that whether we know it, we’re always in the arena. Every night that I’ve stayed up late submitting homework, or chose to stay in to complete a project, I have fought within the arena. I’ve fought the pre conception that I wasn’t driven enough to complete an online based program. I think that ultimately I was fighting myself on this. As I’ve discovered, these programs and degrees aren’t to make employers or professors believe in you; they’re to make you believe in yourself.

When I cross the stage next month in my funny looking cap and gown, I’ll essentially leave the arena I’ve been fighting in for two years. But I’ve also realized is that anytime we leave one arena, we walk into another one. After leaving the Graduate School arena, I’ll enter another one with even more unknown than the previous. But as Roosevelt points out, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena” meaning that the real champions of these arenas are those who never stop fighting, and accept the fact that they will face disappointments and losses along the way.

My hope for myself and anyone who is fighting in an arena of their own is that we use the arena to propel our desires instead of inhibit them. I hope that we can all realize that the arena isn’t there to stop us, it’s to determine who will fight hard enough to climb out. And when we climb out, we’ll climb into a new arena, but we’ll take with us the knowledge we previously gained. So the arenas will get tougher, but so will we. My advice is to be the man (or woman) in the arena, and never stop fighting, and let us never be among those who never entered the arena at all.

Introducing the Elephant

“When there’s an elephant in the room, introduce him”
-Randy Pausch

I love this quote and I thought it was a great way to introduce my plan for re-vamping this blog. As I said before, I’ve done a lot of growing in the past year. The biggest growth I’ve had is that I have come to terms with who I am, and become okay with it. That’s huge! It’s only taken 24 years, but that’s a start right? Anyways, here is me introducing my elephant in the room.
It happens to be rainbow colored.

It’s a rainbow elephant, because I am gay. I know, a rainbow joke? Really Celeste?! You’re trying to become a serious writer and here you are going for the obvious joke.

Yes, I went for it. Yes, I’m always going to make that joke. Yes, I am talking to myself. Moving on:

I’ve known this about myself for a long time, and for a long time i tried to suppress it. But as I also said, I’ve fallen in love with someone who’s given me the courage to be authentic and be myself. This hasn’t been an easy process, and at some point there will probably be a post on the journey in itself. But, for now, know that my goal for this blog is to talk about my journey in hopes of reaching others. It’s scary for me to reach out, but it’s even scarier to think about not reaching at all. I hope you reach back and share your thoughts with me! Part of my learning experience has been listening to others, and now I’d like to contribute mine. I’ll be talking about big influences in my life, and answering any questions that come my way.

This is also the point where you may realize that this is a blog that you don’t want to follow. That’s okay. You may also realize you don’t want to follow me. That’s okay too. Just as long as we’re talking about on social media, cause stalking ain’t cool y’all. So if that’s the case, then i wish you a happy journey to other blogs. But if you’re interested in my journey, I invite you to read my ramblings, and I’ll read yours. I can already feel a sigh of relief as I write this. Growing up in the deep south, i was always told being gay made me different, but i soon realized it made me brave. Now, I realize that being gay didn’t make me brave; i made myself brave. 

Sometimes, I try to be deep, and I fail miserably. But I promise all the time to be real.

I’ll be posting more soon, and can’t wait to hear from y’all!

-Celeste