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I was never a cheerleader. I never even got close to being a cheerleader throughout my twelve years of Catholic education. I always thought it would have been great to lead the Rah-Rah-Rahs of the crowd but it wasn’t to be.

My sister, Mary, was a cheerleader at St. James the Less Grade School. I seem to remember a blue-and-white wool skirt with a white sweater with a big “SJ’ on it. But, as with many things in my childhood, I could have just imagined her being a cheerleader and wearing that appropriate outfit. What I can say, with absolute certainty, is that her saddle shoes would have been spotless. She used to clean them every night and bleach the shoe laces so they were new-white. It was very impressive. Unfortunately, her neatness did not rub off on this younger sister.

Back to cheerleading, even though I was never an official cheerleader for St. James like Mary, I still remember singing robustly the St. James fight song while shaking my non-official, blue-and-white cheerleader-ish pom-poms — my mother probably made them. The song still hangs around in my memory for some crazy reason:

“When the Blue and White All Fall In Line; we’re going to win this game another time; and for the team that we all love so well we’re going to yell and yell and yell and yell and yell; We’re going to fight, fight, fight across the field; We’re going to circle around and fight some more; For the team that we all love so well, SJS, we really mean it, SJS.” [I’m not sure about that last couple of lines maybe my sister, Julie, or some of my grade school pals who read this blog remember them. My cheerleader sister was no help at all.]

I don’t know if I would have incorporated a more positive attitude towards life and change if I had been a cheerleader. Would those years in front of the bleachers leading the pep club have given me the confidence and entitlement that I needed to embrace life with the expectation that everything would turn out just fine, fine, fine? Perhaps, it would have taught me how to become a cheerleader for myself. Go, Annie!

Needless to say, this spotlight on my negative outlook is, once again, surfacing as I heal from Hazel, the new pacemaker in my chest, while, at the same time, starting my new-home search. My glass-half-empty outlook on my possibilities for each does not help with the healing nor with the house hunt. I know this stuff. When I used to do the workshops for the unemployed, I could honestly and enthusiastically stand in front of them and say, “Look, you got to have a positive outlook for this. Yeah, it’s going to be hard. But you got to keep positive and believe, believe that your job is out there waiting for you. If you don’t believe, it won’t happen.” I honestly and whole-heartedly embraced what I was saying to them and for them. So why can’t I do the same for me?

A more Doris-Day-sunny-outlook would have come in handy when I asked the surgeon what my chances of developing a blood clot after surgery. He said, “0 to 1%.” Did I take that as a positive answer? No, as soon as he said it, fear and trepidation creeped into my imagination that of all his hundreds of patients, I would be the one who would be that 1%. Do other people in similar situations who have had a blood clots think the same or rest assured that they are part of that 99%?

Then, today, Sue and Sarah, my aquafit buddies, told me at brunch that they had seen an apartment for rent in this neighbourhood. Being the efficient woman that she is, Sarah had taken a picture of the information and had already sent me an email. As we left, Sue said, “My car’s parked in front of this place, do you want to go and see what it looks like?” “Sure, I said.” The two of them were oohing and ahhing about how great this place looked and how close it was to everything, etc. etc. etc.. As soon as I saw it, my negative outlook said to me, “Don’t even try. This place is too expensive or already rented or has too many stairs, or is too dark, or doesn’t allow cats.” These two women know me well enough that they could read my thoughts and “order” me to go home and at least send an email for information.

Life would be so much more enjoyable and exciting if I could just start believing that all shall indeed be well and that I’ll find a home and that Hazel will heal. It is time — no it is past time — for me to become the heartiest, most enthusiastic cheerleader for me. So, I’m getting out the pom-poms. I’m practicing the moves and imagining wearing that blue-and-white pleated skirt of Mary’s. Yeah, the inner cheerleader in me is ready. So here I go:

“Give me An A. Give me an N. Give me another N. What do you have? A strong, positive, excited woman, that’s what. Go Annie, rah-rah-rah.” 

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