Cheerleaders Aren’t Just For The Champions

It was only the third class out of the six we had that day, but I could not stay sat any longer. Somewhere in the first ten minutes since our Maths class had started, my stomach decided it was about time to present its content and it would not change its mind. I asked to go out, but standing didn’t give me much more satisfaction, what with the tables and chairs that were waltzing every each way.

As I found out later, my face was also white as paper and it reflected the fact that I was not well at all. Since I wasn’t the kind of student to skip classes, my teacher believed me that I was feeling sick and told me to go home for the day.


It was a cold, horrible rainy day and I had to wait 15 minutes before taking a bus for half an hour ride, then walk 20 more minutes to get home. I was struggling to hold the umbrella against the wind, carry the heavy schoolbag full of books and maintain a vertical position. The throbbing headache didn’t make things any easier.


After so many years I can still remember that day vividly, but not just because I was so violently sick. I remember how lonely and helpless I was feeling, all of a sudden at war not only with the elements, but also with myself. My shoes were soaked, my clothes were drenched and I was doggedly pushing myself to put one foot in front of the other in a journey of misery that seemed to last forever.


I have been through other painful moments since then.


What made that day memorable though, was the fact that at some point, as I started to cry, there was a very warm and kind voice rising from within me, encouraging me. I was speaking to myself in tender words, like you would to a child – “Come on sweetie, one more step, good girl. Soon you’ll get home and lay down in your nice soft bed. Come on, baby one more step, I know it’s hard and you’re nauseous… breathe, breathe deeply… see, the dizziness it’s not so bad now…OK, let’s move along”


And so and so forth. I managed to reach home in one piece.


Why did I remember that day right now?


Because I’m in the kitchen, contemplating the big mess that I have just created.


I have chopped some onions and veggies and I went to the fridge to get one more carrot. As I opened the door and got the carrot and the carton of eggs, the big chunk of cheese that was on the door fell on my hands, making me lose their contents.

I quickly jumped to catch the eggs, hit myself in the door, picked up the carrot and the cheese and when I straightened myself up, my head knocked off the chopping board.

Whoosh! the bits and pieces were in my hair, on the dog and on the floor.


I got so frustrated I angrily screamed: “How can you be so stupid!”


The moment the words left my mouth I instantly sobered up.


What was going on? I don’t talk to myself like that!


I know I was angry because of the spoiled food and messy kitchen. I only had 2 hours of sleep last night and I was tired enough not to need the extra work, but the cheese misplaced on the door instead of the shelf was not my fault, I did my best to save the situation and at least the eggs were still intact. And hey, my head!


We are so quick to criticise ourselves at times! We are so quick to kick ourselves, even more so when we’re already down, as if we are our own enemy waiting for a moment of weakness on our part.


If on that day in high school I had been as tough with myself, telling myself to buck up, stop being a cry baby because it wasn’t much of a deal… it wouldn’t have been helpful at all.


Apparently the 15 year old in me wanted to remind me the value of kindness and encouragement.

Because being your own best friend starts with the way that you talk to yourself.


And it really wouldn’t hurt us to be more tolerant and supportive with ourselves when we make mistakes or have a hard time.


After all, cheerleaders aren’t there just for the champions.


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