Last spring, while I was in the last half of my pregnancy, I would record The Biggest Loser and watch it in the morning when I worked out. Since the show is two hours long and I’d only work out for about thirty minutes, it would last me about three days worth of workouts, after I fast-forwarded through commercials.
It served my purposes very well. I wasn't trying to lose weight, I just wanted to keep moving. While doing so, I stayed entertained and motivated, and I felt good about myself. If my son Eli got up early to sit on the couch while I exercised I’d never worry that he’d see or hear something inappropriate. Also, I had a little crush on one of the contestants – Sam. Once he slimmed down he was super cute, and so driven!
Then Jillian Michaels, one of the trainers, said in an interview that she would never have a baby because of what it does to your body. I was in my seventh or eighth month when this happened, and it’s silly but I’ll admit it; I felt somewhat betrayed. Every morning while lugging my pregnant self on and off my exercise ball I’d listen to her lecture these out-of-shape people about fitness and goals, yet she couldn’t condone a natural choice such as pregnancy (for herself at least) because she didn’t want to gain weight?
Well, her comment caused a minor uproar for like a day, she said things to backtrack and explain, I don’t remember what exactly, and the world shifted its attention to something else. Now she has a new book out, which is what I am actually writing about today.
Usually if I’m going to write about books it will be about fiction, because I prefer fiction to nonfiction. That’s just who I am. However, I couldn’t help but notice that the subject of her new book isn’t on fitness, it’s on achieving your dreams, and that intrigued me. Here’s a direct quote from her book:
“There is no authentic goal you can set for yourself that can’t be reached, no dream that can’t be realized.”
Now I have only read the first part of the first chapter from an online excerpt, so I don’t know what she means by authentic. Is my goal of being a famous Broadway singer authentic? Because I would really love to sing the lead in Wicked – that “Defying Gravity” song is AWESOME. Maybe I could even guest star on Glee. Or not... because I know that no matter how long I spend practicing or taking voice lessons, I will never, ever, ever be able to sing like that. I'll also never be a pro-athlete or a rocket scientist, but the singing thing is what disappoints me.
In this excerpt she goes on to say that parents, teachers, bosses, and society in general have taught us to think small, when what we need to do is think big. Imagining our dreams is the first step, then we need the skills and the drive. After that we can achieve whatever we want.
Maybe this wouldn’t bug me so much if I wasn’t spending my days preparing my 10th grade English classes for the state reading test, a test they need to graduate. A lot of my students are at or even below a sixth grade reading level, and they don’t care about this test, at least not right now. The government seems to think that if I had enough skills and drive I could overcome these obstacles, but right now I feel like my dream of becoming a Broadway diva is more authentic than getting all of these kids to pass this test.
I think I’ll just stick to reading fiction.