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Self-Respect or Sit n’ Spin – 100 Day Challenge Diary

When I was a kid, I loved my Sit n’ Spin. I would sit on it. And spin. And spin and spin and spin and spin AND SPIN. One Thanksgiving, I spun around so much that I missed supper. You know why. Sitting in one place and doing nothing but staring at one’s navel is dizzying at best. And you don’t get anywhere fast.

This is the diary of my 100 Day Challenge of Self-Respect. I’m sick of sitting and spinning when I should be making a beeline for the finish line. My journey is inspired by Matthew Trinetti. Here is his diary; he’s worth a follow. For transparency’s sake, here’s my progress in the categories of “fitnessy” and “writerly“:

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A Cup of Gumption

Today is that day. The day I need to be brave, step to the front, and speak for my people. I am more than a little nervous. I am the MC.

Master of Ceremonies is typically the tenor’s post, but he’s up at the lake or at a softball game or finishing up a daunting work project. Fortunately, I have his notes. Painstakingly prepared and perfect. Five pages of flair. Unfortunately, I don’t have my glasses.

Today is that day. The day I need gumption.

I sing with the TC Jazz Cats on odd weekends when we’re mostly all available. We congregate from remote corners of the music universe to volunteer in senior communities and care centers. We rock the cantina, as it were, with toe-tapping rhythm and smooth crooning. The residents love it, and we love them; the entire experience a real treat. I’m the new kid, still getting the swing of it, the spontaneity born of in-the-moment collaboration.

Today is that day. The day when I part with precious coin (four dollars and thirty-two cents worth – to be precise) on a spendy cup of gumption. A coffee treat.

The coffee shop is a treat for me. The place where I occasionally break my spendthrift habit of making plain, perfectly serviceable coffee at home. The place where I break the chain of isolation. The coffee shop is built on interaction; the fancy cup of caffeine is incidental, taking second place to the social boost.

“Today is that day.” I proclaim, walking in. “The day I pay you for a fancy cup of gumption.”

“Excellent.” smiles Coffee Dude. “What are we putting in your cup of gumption?”

Together we confabulate a coffee treat. You know the one. The fancy one. With whip.

“Name?” asks Coffee Dude, hands hovering over the register.

“You pick.” This is my favorite coffee shop game. “You pick a name, and I’ll be that person for the rest of the day.”

Coffee Dude nods. He likes this game too. He squints a little bit, considering. Today is our first encounter, and serendipity demands scrutiny. Coffee Dudette looks over his shoulder as he types my sobriquet into the computer. She smiles wide.

I step aside to wait for my treat, musing on the responsibility of venturing into unexplored worlds, of speaking up.  Of being amplified, in front of an audience, and maybe flubbing it up.

“Order up! Order for Princess Leia!”

I laugh. Out loud. Really loud. I’ve had some good coffee shop sobriquets in my day, but today takes the cake. I’ve been Adelle and Susy-Q. I’ve been Batgirl. I’ve been Shanaynay, which I liked so well I reused the cup until it disintegrated. Consistently, long after the coffee and the cup is gone, I recall the treat of interaction.

Today? Today is that day when what matters most is not perfection, but interaction and gumption. Honored and humored, with a grin and a cup, I float out the door. My mind plays the melodious refrain of Princess Leia’s theme song. And I am made brave.

A world of gratitude to Caribou Coffee Dude. I had a blast being Princess Leia.

What (and more importantly who) propels you?  Who gives you gumption? 

Musical Interlude:  I YouTube’d a lot of Leia themes before landing on this for your listening enjoyment, played with genuine gumption by the Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra, led by conductor Netta Hadari, a leader who loves his job.