I walked in the pool hall on my first day of class, terrified, praying I wasn't about to make a fool of myself all semester long. The sound of balls breaking and cracking against the rails echoed in my ears as I quickly scanned the room to find two other girls in the class.
Good. I wasn't the only girl.
I've always wanted to be a pool player. In high school, some weekends when the gal pals and I decided to take it easy on a Saturday night and not reek havoc throughout the small farming town we grew up in, we found ourselves at Pop'N Pins. Remember the ghetto bowling alley they go to in the movie Napoleon Dynamite? That is Pop'N Pins. This was how my high school career went down. Drawing pictures of ligers, developing mad nun-chuck skills, and hanging out at bowling alleys that are a crumbling memory of the 70's. Yes, I grew up close to the area where the movie Napoleon Dynamite was created. What a claim to fame. But back to the real story, we would end up at Pop'N Pins and "shoot some pool". None of us were that good. We could only make shots that were basically perfectly lined up. But just being huddled around the pool table and covering our hands in chalk, giggling and telling dating stories, made us feel like bad asses (yes, I just cussed but it was totally necessary).
I wrote a post at the start of the new year about facing fears. I mentioned that I had signed up for a billiards class to face a fear of mine. That fear was of embarrassing myself. I have this problem of not wanting to try things if I think I won't be good at them. Which is silly, since I'm only good at, like, ten things. So I signed up for billiards and I abandoned my dignity when I picked up my cue (that's the stick used to hit the balls in pool. Don't worry, I didn't know it was called that either).
The first time we played in class, I instantly flocked to the other two girls, hoping I could be at least better than one of them. As we started playing, one of the girls started mentioning how she always shot a lot better at pool after she had a few in her.
"Oh, yeah. . . I bet," I said it trying to act like I shot pool all the time at many a bar. I glanced at the table next to me, where a kid with chiseled tattooed arms was making intricate shots off the rails, his messy blonde hair falling out of his beanie.
"What have I done," I wondered, "I am going to be the outcast of billiards class. The laughing stalk."
At that point I had to make a decision. I could either face looking like a fool and work towards becoming better at pool, or I could take the easy way out and sign the roll every day and just go through the motions. I decided to toughen up and do what I came to do. Get better at pool.
I listened carefully to the instructor. I asked him to watch my form. I practiced with BWell on the weekends. Pretty soon I was making some tricky shots in class. I actually felt this sense of confidence oozing from me as I chalked up my cue. It felt good. Then one day at the end of class, my instructor gave me the hugest compliment.
"Kelsey, I hope you know you are my best shooter in this class."
I know it's just a silly pass/fail billiards class, but I was so stinking proud of myself.
Then we started the eight ball tournament with partners. My partner, Ben, and I instantly hit it off and started railing through other teams. After a long and hard-fought battle, we claimed the title of eight ball champions. I even have a "pool shark" pin to prove it. I pinned it to my levi vest so I can feel like a true bad ass now (as seen in the picture above).
But that stupid pin that was made in China is pretty special to me. It's a reminder to never set limitations for myself. We are such capable human beings. Capable of more than we can imagine. And this leads me to one of my all time favorite quotes:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
So my random message of the day is don't you ever let your capabilities scare you into not trying. Do what you were meant to do. Be what you were meant to be. Whatever that is. Whether it's to become a politician, a teacher, an author, a humanitarian, a marathon runner, the winner of the Nobel Prize, or maybe the eight ball champion of your beginning billiards class. Go out there and be a bad ass. Because the only person who will ever stop you is yourself.
*I apologize to my mother for cussing three times in this post. I won't do it again.