Don’t Stop You

I always come up with a million reasons why I can’t do something. When it came to basketball, I argued that I was too short. When elections for class president were happening, I told myself that I wasn’t a leader. When I was asked to compete in a science competition, I said that I wasn’t smart enough. If it came to both my social and academic life, I always had a reason not to do something. I kept within my comfort zone, not even thinking about stepping out. That is, until I joined cheerleading. 

I’m not a cheerleader you would envision on a screen. I’m not a cheerleader that I would envision on a screen. However, I am. It’s something that I’m proud to say. 

I’ve always had an interest in gymnastics and dance. Growing up on a Bollywood dance team, I preferred performing rather than studying. It was in my blood, so to say, but that doesn’t mean cheerleading was in any way near Bollywood dancing. Cheerleading wasn’t in my comfort zone, so I didn’t look at it twice. Yet as I was peeking into the gym near my home, I couldn’t help but be awed at the girls inside. I grew up in the neighborhood for 16 years with an all-star team was right around the corner, and I never noticed. With the leaps and the jumps and the tumbling, I am still shocked that I was on a team with those amazing females. 

I started by just tumbling. A toe in the right direction. I was too shy to practice with my teammates and too critical of myself to perform. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it. It was a challenge not only to my physical state but my mental one. As my breaking point was nearing, I was asked to try a toss. This is when you throw a flyer (a person that is tossed) into the air. I was back (the person catching and protecting the head and shoulders) for my first toss. I remembered the rush I felt and excitement after I caught her. It was a feeling like no other. I was part of a team that trusted each other with their life. 

I’m glad I took that first step. I forced myself to try something new, something that I wanted to do. It was tough on my anxiety in the beginning, but in the end, I am a better person because of it. I’m not talking about my athleticism, but power of mind. Slowly but surely, I kept on taking steps outside of my comfort zone. I don’t force myself anymore, I just do. If I enjoy doing an activity, I pursue it. 

There are still those voices in my head that tell my why I shouldn’t but now there is a new voice. A voice louder than the rest. A voice that screams to push and achieve. I’m happy that the voice helped me to join cheerleading, and continues to help me with different adventures. Find that voice in your head, listen to it, and encourage it.