I am Mendes. Nothing is beyond me.*

*I’ll go ahead and admit that I’m a little embarrassed to post this. But I figure, if you can’t be a little braggy on your own blog, where can you be? SO THERE.

The title of this post is a quote from one of my favorite books, The Sparrow. In it, a young woman is hired by companies to try to find faults in artificial intelligence programs by being smarter than the computer. She’s very good at her job, but there’s times when she gets confused or bogged down. And when that happens, she remembers that she is descended from a line of Jewish priests, survived a war that killed both her parents, was chosen from obscurity after a chance meeting while she was working as a prostitute. And she reminds herself of the adversity she has overcome by saying this mantra: “I am Mendes. Nothing is beyond me.”

My parents philosophy on child-rearing was about as laissez-faire as it can get. I could always go to them for help, but in our house, growing up was all about making mistakes and figuring things out. Sometimes I would get scared– sometimes of silly things, sometimes of big-time things. Somethign my parents did that I think was pretty genius was to let us see when they were scared– not like they ran around terrified– but we grew up knowing that it was okay. That fear didn’t need to be paralyzing. That adults– ALL THE TIME– are WINGING IT.

Years ago, I developed my own mantra that I say whenever I have to do something that I don’t think I can do:

“Someone stupider– much, much stupider– than you has done this. And succeeded.”

I’ve used that for everything from changing my first tire to taking Stats. I even said it to myself when I was going in for my C-Section, which was pretty dumb, considering all I needed for that to work out was to be there. Note that, mantra or no, I don’t attempt things like brain surgery or rocket science. If I did, I would be who that mantra is referring to.

That’s right folks. Because I am an uber-dork– Whenever I’m scared of anything, my brains are what I bring to the show down.

I don’t want Maren to grow up thinking she needs to be brave all the time, or like she’s weird if she has some vulnerability. I want her to grow up feeling like its okay to be scared of things, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. I’m scared of things all the time. Some little things: Bats. Anything that flies and has fleas, actually. Ticks. Dog bites.

There’s the wife fears. Everytime I hear about a couple I know getting a divorce, it terrifies me to the core. And then there’s Mom fears– all shapes and sizes and varieties of Mom fears (What do you MEAN she has a cough? Do you think she could have EMPHYSEMA???).

And there’s the Me fears– most awful, I think, because they are so real. And they completely rely on me– my brain. My tenacity. My willingness to bear my teeth at people who give me the stank-eye when I’m taking up a huge table at Panera while I’m studying.  

Losing my scholarship. Falling asleep during a final. Failing a class, flunking out of college. Forgetting to do some vital part of a project. Blowing off a meeting with my advisor. Slipping back into old habits and skipping class.

And the scariest– Giving up. Some of my classes are really boring. Some of them are really tedious. Some of them have a lot of busy work. And some of them are just really kind of hard. It’s scares me, all the time, that one night after I put Maren down, I’m going to go to my lap top and say, “You know what? No. I’m going to bed tonight. Forget this.”

I’ve always been a smart kid. I never had to work like I am working right now. I blame the education system, largely. But I blame myself, too. Everyone kept telling me that if I would just apply myself, there would be no boundaries to what I could accomplish, and I just kept rolling my eyes at them because I had no idea what applying myself meant. But I sure do now.

Anyway. I tell you all of that to tell you this:

Today I drove to my school’s main campus for a luncheon. I’d never been to one, but I guess its the short way to say that we’re all going to have lemonade and really tiny sandwiches, we will all leave hungry, but we’ll feel very fancy. The reason I’m going is because I’m being inducted into this honor society thing. There are some greek letters involved. At graduation, I get to wear a medal and a stole. I’ve been advised that this is, in fact, a pretty big deal. I didn’t apply for it. I was invited to join because someone nominated me, and I have really good grades. Also my general ass-kicking abilities.

One of my other favorite books, Game of Thones, has a passage where a seven year old kid is asking his Dad if he is ever scared, because his Dad is so brave. And his Dad replies, “Being scared is the only time that you can be brave.”

I am Krysl. Nothing is beyond me.

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1 Comment

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One response to “I am Mendes. Nothing is beyond me.*

  1. Lindsay Heard

    Congratulations, Krysl!!! 🙂 I am so very excited for you and a little bit of bragadocious is MUCH DESERVED! Never mind the things you didn’t mention–like the depth of life you were immersed in all the while you accomplished this! WOW!!! Way to go, girl! 🙂

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