Taking it on the Chin
By Kristen Flowers
Recently Ronda Rousey went on Ellen wearing a beautiful skin tight nude dress, pairing it with bright red lips and a messy up do. Looking beautiful and strong she finally talked about losing her first fight and her painful comments got the world talking.
The interview came up in my social media feed and intrigued, I clicked on it. Rousey told the television host that after that first loss she was laying in the hospital bed thinking she should just kill herself. I’ll admit, my first reaction wasn’t sympathy. Here is this beautiful woman who was such a pro at her career and admired by so many, losing her cool over one fight. It didn’t seem to make sense so I dug a bit deeper to see if anyone agreed with me.
In the comment section of the story I found the following statements:
“Hey, I need attention. So let’s say I was considering suicide…what a cheap way to get people to notice me…”
“She was obviously brought up wrong if she felt her world was all over if she failed once.”
“Wow, what a drama queen.”
“Aww how precious. Little baby didn’t get what she wanted. I’m sure the $10 million+ that she made that night is okay though.”
Just like me, people were not sympathetic towards her. But I was wrong and here’s why.
This woman was the champ and she believed the hype surrounding her. She was undefeated and she went into that ring cocky as ever. Then she got wrecked, not only physically but emotionally too.
In a split second, she was no longer the champ. The identity that she had built for herself was now a lie. She went from being a star to just another fighter who can lose.
What she felt afterword was a loss of what made her special. If she wasn’t this great fighter, then who was she? Would people like her if she lost once in a while? Would people still talk about her or want her to fight again? Was this the end of her career? These questions needed answers but she didn’t have them. The thing she prided herself on was gone.
Would I react in the same way in her shoes? The more I thought about it, the more I understand what she was going through. For the last ten years of my life my goal has been to be on the radio in a big market. When I started as a fresh out of college twenty-something I took the first job I could, which was at a radio station in Los Angeles. I wasn’t on the air but at least I was in the building. Living in Orange County at the time I had to drive 2-hours to and from my new workplace. Adding that on top of an 8-hour day, I didn’t have much time for anything else and my friendships and relationships suffered. But I didn’t care, because I was on my way to achieving my goal.
I worked hard and eventually got a job in Colorado as a morning host in a tiny unrated town. This was a huge step for me and I took the job, leaving my friends, family and a boyfriend behind. I took one suitcase and my cat and showed up in town with no car and no place to live. Again, I didn’t care because I had a goal and I was committed to make it happen.
This cycle continued. I would move, give up any new friends or relationships and start over with nothing until years later I found myself in Sacramento on morning radio.
Finally, I had achieved my dream and accomplished my goals.
Now what if someone said, “Kristen, you’re fired and you’ll never work in radio again”?
Everything I have worked for would be gone in the blink of an eye. All the sacrifices I have made would be in vain. All the friends I lost, the family I moved away from, all the love I threw aside because of my career. It would be a heavy load on my shoulders and I would think, “what was the point of all this?” just as I imagine Ronda Rousey was thinking to herself as she lay in that hospital bed.
Yes, I understand where she is coming from but that doesn’t make those thoughts right.
Too often we define ourselves by our careers and achievements. We long for the promotion or the award not realizing that in the end, our careers are not going to be the things we reflect on when we are in a hospital bed. We are more than the money we make or the job titles we hold.
I’m glad I learned this while I’m still standing.
Over the years I have tried to undo some of the damage I have done to myself. I do my best to maintain friendships in other states, I call my parents regularly and I finally said yes to love. Most importantly, I’ve allowed myself to think about who I am outside of a radio personality. If that day comes, and I no longer have a station to call home, I know I will have other talents and gifts to fall back on.
It’s okay to run towards a goal or have a dream you are trying to make a reality but don’t forget all the things that make you special that are not work related. Your child doesn’t care about your job when they smile and giggle at a funny face you made. No one cares that you should have been a project leader when you volunteer for those less fortunate and your dog doesn’t wag his tail when he sees you because you have a diversified portfolio.
We are all more than our accomplishments and we will fail sometimes but it’s those little things that should remind us that we are not failures and that its worth it to get up and try again.