Never Say Can't, Rather I'm Having Extreme Difficulties

My beau was recently practicing for an upcoming wedding he's performing at. He kept stopping and barking at himself.

"I can't do this," he chided, putting the guitar down.

"Stop it, you can. You're an athlete. You CAN do it," I encouraged.

"Yeah, I'm not running around the bases, scooping up or hitting a ball," he said.

"That's not what I meant," I said pointing at my head. "You have the mental capability of one."

I then threw at him my favorite quote, delivered to me many times over the years by Jim Kelly, a former coach who mentored me when I was growing up in Keene, New Hampshire.

"Never say can't, rather I'm having extreme difficulties."

Jason stopped, tilted his head back and laughed. Not quite the reaction I was looking for, but at least it got him out of his own way.

I wonder if Mr. Kelly knows how much that one sentence impacted my life. Probably not, but his words often inspired me over the years. His saying was my senior high school yearbook quote. It's a quip I often use as an athletic coach myself.

After I said it to Jason I started to think about Mr. Kelly's words. I've been through my share of crap. My parents divorced when I was 12. I was sexually abused as a child, the impact of that is something I didn't truly come to terms with until I had children of my own and recently experienced my own divorce.

I've lost friends and had difficult breakups. I've watched loved ones struggle with cancer. Some survived, others did not. People I love dearly have died and there have been many times I thought I was going to break.

In other words, like everyone, I've had a few bumps in the road. In general, however, I never felt I wasn't going to make it. The core of me, for whatever reason, is an optimist. I think some of it had to do with Mr. Kelly's wisdom.

Sure, when you're in the midst of a heart wrenching divorce, getting let go from your job or cutting ties with unhealthy people, life can feel like shit.

But somewhere deep inside of me, I've clung to Mr. Kelly's words.

"Never say can't, rather I'm having extreme difficulties."

When I was flat out broke and didn't know how I was going to get food on the table for my kids last year, I didn't give up. Instead I found a flexible part-time job to compliment my full-time position. That part-time gig opened up new friendships with women who have become part of my "tribe."

When confronted with negativity from others, I've learned to dig deep and trust myself, to understand who I am as a person. Most importantly I've learned to love myself and not let past experiences or people influence me into thinking I'm not worthy. Instead I've been able to rely on a light buried inside of me, fueled by an echoed sentiment from my former coach.

No matter how bad things have gotten, I've found a way to make things work. I've crawled out of my fetal position and taken steps when I didn't want to. I've survived.

Things aren't necessarily what I thought they'd be, but that's okay, because I believe things are exactly as they are supposed to be.

I may not tackle life the traditional way and there are many times I certainly feel as if I'm drowning.

What I do know is this. One person, one sentence can make a difference. Thank you Mr. Kelly for teaching me there is nothing I "can't" do but I might just experience a few difficulties in getting there.