Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cheerleader Runs Amok

Do you ever do this?
I do.
And I always feel sick afterwards.
Essentially I am a happy person, give or take a bout with depression. Not only am I happy, I want the world to be as happy as I am. If I'm excited about something, I want you to be excited. If I think something is wonderful, I want you to see the wonder. If there's joy to be had, I want you to share in it.
There's nothing wrong with that. I think most people would agree it's a good thing to want to share happiness.
Sometimes, though, I "get carried away." (I put that in quotes because that's what my parents used to say to me - "Don't get carried away!") 
That's when the enthusiasm takes over good sense and I usually wind up saying something embarrassing, something I immediately regret. Something that makes me feel all oogery inside.
One time (in band camp), a bunch of us work chicks were playing hooky for the afternoon, going tubing down a river. I was SO excited. I wanted all of us to go. One girl didn't want to go. The cheerleader in me took over as I kidded and cajoled and tried everything in my happy-me arsenal to convince her to come with us. A sunny summer day, a warm gentle river to float on, good friends, lots of laughs – what was the problem? She wouldn't say. She just said no. Finally, one of my other workmates said, "leave her alone. She doesn't want to go."
I nearly died of humiliation. I had to turn my head to hide my tears. I was so incredibly hurt and embarrassed.
I didn't want to embarrass her. Or hurt her. Or anything bad. I just wanted her to share in our happiness. 
I thought we were friends enough for her to say, "I don't want to go because ... blah, blah, blah," but she wouldn't say why. Just "no."
To this day, it's all very mysterious.
Of course I should have taken no for an answer. That much is very plain. 
If someone says no, you have to respect that.
It's pretty obvious in this situation: a woman says no to sexual advances; a man ignores her and a rape is committed.
I tell my boys all the time, it's ok to roughhouse and fool around but if one of you says stop, the other one has to stop.
So what's my problem? Why don't I know when enough is enough?
I'm pretty sure I have manic tendencies. Not full-blown manic depression, where the person's moods shift abruptly from remarkable highs to bottom-of-the-barrel lows, but tendencies. It's when I got caught up in a project, or anything I feel happy and strong about, that the cheerleader in me takes over and starts annoying people with her flailing pom-poms.
I feel in my heart of hearts that my pom-poms have been out of control lately.
If I have dinged you with one, I apologize.


  1. I can relate... :) Feel free to throw your pom poms at me anytime.

  2. Hey Laura, maybe we could get a squad of middle-aged writers together? Sure, we'd have problems doing the jumps but imagine the cheers we could write!

  3. Heh...I'm thinking some of them wouldn't be fit for young ears - but they'd all be hilarious!

  4. To be fair, in your account she didn't say "stop" like your boys would. Not that it would get anyone off the hook in the very uncomfortable rape analogy, but yours appears to have been an innocent misreading of whether she would enjoy going to the beach. It does suck to hurt somebody when you're simply trying to make them happy. Even the best things can sting...

  5. I enjoy the pom poms. And truth told, Cathy, I admire that about you. Your enthusiasm. I'm much the opposite, I feel. Excited on the inside, doing cartwheels even, but only slightly amused on the outside. It's fun to have someone around to pump up that energy.

  6. Gives new meaning to the term "friendly fire." Maybe you should cheer for the Badgers. ;)

    You are obviously sensitive enough to others to have written this piece. Never put a cork on your enthusiasm. Gimme a C...Gimme an A...

  7. Don't sweat it. It's okay to be cheery and full of enthusiasm. Maybe more than a no would have helped you understand her reasons for not going.

    My husband is a cajoler too. It could be an adventure, a tv show he wants me to watch, a bite of his food. Oh, his food! We call him the Italian grandma, because he's just, "Eat it! Eat it! come on, just one bite!"

    I wouldn't worry another single second over this. The world needs more cheerleaders and less grumpos.

  8. Not sure what the issue is but I enjoy your style, your sense of humor, and your exuberance in life. Your site is a bright spot on the web.

  9. I don't think you are even close to manic depressive. How would I know? Um...just take it from me. I like your style! I think you are more Erma Bombeckian than hypomanic or Bipolar.You have got the stuff. And that is wonderful!


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