In 2006 after 7 years of marriage, my husband finally felt secure enough in life and his career to start building a family. We proved to be ridiculously fertile, conceiving on our very first month trying. I was euphoric – for about a week. Then, I miscarried. The loss was devastating. In my mind, I had done everything “right” and things still turned out all wrong. This wasn’t the first time I had had the experience of doing my best and still failing. In graduate school, I failed my candidacy review even though I thought I had prepared in every way possible. I was left in both cases with the feeling that there was no guarantee of success no matter what you did and trying seemed pointless.
That Christmas, the movie Rocky Balboa came out and my brother-in-law made me go see it.
In spite of being from Philly, I was never a huge fan of Rocky. I don’t know why. Maybe I don’t like boxing. Maybe I just hate being reminded of the poor neighborhoods I grew up in. Maybe I’m still traumatized by the chicken-throwing incident from the first movie.
I remember sitting in that dark theatre and watching this older Rocky, I wasn’t prepared for. A Rocky trying to figure out how to live in a world without Adrian, a world where he wasn’t a boxer. He was a restaurant owner, a grieving widower, a failing father.
He’s adrift, trying to find a way forward, but constantly revisiting the past.
I cried during this scene:
I don’t know. There’s still some stuff in the basement.
Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe.
I just never knew it was supposed to be this hard. It wasn’t supposed to be like this…
Yeah, Paulie, I know.
I didn’t think it was supposed to be like this either.
Toward the end of the story, seeing that his son is also discouraged and struggling to find his own path, he gives him this pep talk:
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
I was floored by this speech. Life sucks, really it does. It doesn’t give you credit for working hard, doing the right thing, having the right motivations. Things will go wrong. Terribly wrong. You will fail. You will hurt.
The question is are you going to pick yourself and keep going. Moving forward is, as Rocky said,
“How winning is done.”
With that speech in mind, I pulled myself up and decided to try again. I joked with people, “I still have babies in the basement.” We now have two beautiful children.
I’ve had a few rough weeks in my business.
Parties keep canceling on me and when they do happen, the sales are abysmally low. I’m discouraged. I wanna quit. I really do, but the question is, am I done? Not really, there are still things in the basement. I keep reminding myself of this speech when I sit down to work at my job, when I get ready for a party, when I do my demo. I’ll never be successful if I walk away now, if I stop working it.
So, here I am again. Still a Pure Romance consultant. Still selling my “romance” and “relationship enhancement products”. Still selling sex toys.
And you know what else? I’m winning.