Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | May 27, 2010

Bulldogs can be Beautiful Women!

I think that bulldogs can be beautiful. I like their stance, and the look on their faces that says they’re getting what they want or else. So, this is the image I conjure up when I need motivation to push through obstacles.

Seriously, would this face give up on anything?

Well…it’s one of my images. Sometimes I think about my daughters and what I hope to teach them about hurdles and happiness. I don’t think you get the latter without the former, so knowing how to push through adversity is an essential life skill to teach your kids.

Right now, Shira and I have something in common. She’s trying desperately to get a permanent job, and I’m trying not as desperately to get a literary agent to rep our book. We are both encountering brick walls. Surely Shira’s task is more difficult and more important than mine, but the path is similar. It’s discouraging to get rejected, but if you let that put you off your goal, you will not make succeed. So, with no other choice, you push on and push harder, and maybe get more creative in jumping the hurdle.

How do you stay engaged when you fail? Sometimes inspiration comes from stranger sources. Once I took a spinning class where you ride stationary bikes to nowhere as fast as you can. (metaphor for life?) I was the oldest in the class and the first session might have killed me if the resistance thingy on my bike hadn’t been broken for most of the class so when everyone else was instructed to turn up the resistance, I just turned a dial which did nothing until the teacher noticed it and fixed it. But, during the second class (in which that damned teacher made sure I was on a bike that worked), he said, “When you get tired or discouraged, put your hand on your heart and feel the pounding as you think of something you are passionate about. It’s that passion that will fuel your pedaling. It’s that passion that fuels your life.”

I know it’s cheesy but I think of that quote a lot and it does fuel me. I’ve always had goals in my life. They haven’t always been easy to achieve, and I haven’t always succeeded. But, I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten even more passionate. I’m more willing to fail and that is a huge step in moving forward. I often say to my girls, “What have you got to lose?” when I’m trying to convince them to try something new. (I’m not sure they’re wild about that b/c usually when I get to that line, I’m trying to get them to do something they’ve already decided they don’t want to do.)

As I got older, though, I got more willing to be creative to get what I wanted. Of course, one of the things I want is to teach that skill to my daughters. They’re pretty good at working for their goals and I suspect they’ll continue to improve. I want them to take their passions to levels of energy previously unseen. I want them to be as beautiful as the bulldogs.

Alexis Writes:

Well first of all I think I’m better looking than a bulldog especially if you know about Meatball and Matzo ball (Adam Sandler’s dogs). I thought this time I would ask for a slight outsider’s perspective on how I deal with adversity, so I asked my husband what he thought I did when I felt challenged. This was his response. ” Well, you talk, and talk and talk until… you decide what you’re going to do. Oh yeah, I forgot, first you cry.” I guess that’s probably pretty accurate. I am very verbal and often have to work things out before I can act. I have trouble getting angry without getting upset, I tend to feel emotional pain pretty easily. I try to be proactive and really think about what I want. I try not to get focused on the anger and when I feel myself going that way, I think about what I am trying to achieve.

I am very determined and like to prove people wrong. I once heard some lacrosse coaches talking about me during a practice. I couldn’t hear what they were saying about me exactly, but it was something to the effect of how ridiculous I looked when I played. I am no natural athlete but I work hard and don’t like to be told I am not capable. It was clear from the conversation they were having doubts. I got the ball and went down and scored. I saw the two of them exchange a look of complete surprise and I smiled. I was proud that I knew myself better than they did. I think that’s the key — knowing yourself and what you want. I have also had some things not go the way I wanted them to, and at times it really hurt me. But when I finally took control of them,ย  doors started opening. I also saw that sometimes something that happened to me that I thought was a big problem, eventually worked out ok. So having experienced that gave me a little more faith in future experiences. I guess I just continue to push, do my best, and keep a little faith.

Tamra Writes:
I can’t believe you want us to look like bulldogs. That’s just wrong. Bulldogs are heinous no matter what you say. They are wrinkly and look kind of sad, actually. I, however, am not wrinkling (thanks to my night-time moisturizer), and I’m not sad either, and I know all about Matzo ball and Meatball (may he RIP). Anyway…when I feel challenged I usually have to get myself organized. I don’t always need to talk it out, although sometimes that helps. I usually know what I want to do and how I’m going to do it without having to ask anybody else. Sometimes it’s nice to ask someone without really asking them. Almost telling them what you’re going to do and hoping for approval. I like to make lists of everything, it always calms me down, eases some of my stress and helps me tackle a problem more easily. I’ll make lists of pros and cons, things I need to do, buy, or work through in order to reach a particular goal. I find that once I see everything on paper I am better able to manage it. It might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

As a particularly short person with a particularly high voice I find that people doubt what I can do all the time. What I can carry or move, how serious or smart I can be. I like to prove those people wrong every day. My principal once even told me when I first started working for her that she was skeptical that I was going to make it, having to deal with high-maintenance parents because of my squeaky little voice and my size. I showed her. A squeaky voice can get its point across just as good as a non-squeaky voice if you’re saying the right things. I think for the most part my friends and family know not to be fooled by the size or sound of my voice.

Alexis said it nicely when she said she continues to push, do her best and keep a little faith. I’d like to think I do this too, but I think my list would go more like, get organized, listen to appropriate music for the situation, do the best I can, and keep my fingers crossed (sometimes it doesn’t hurt to cross your toes too…).

MOM writes: You are right, we don’t doubt you, and I’d put your 5-foot-tall mighty little self up against any six-footer any day. Oh, and I don’t think your voice is high. We just have voices only dogs can hear. Is that bad?

Shira writes:

When I feel challenged, first I cry. Then I make cupcakes, then I listen to “pump-me-up” music (similar to angry girl music, but more motivating). And since I’m pretty sure this post is directed at me, then I send out more job applications.

MOM writes: The post is not directed at you. If I have suggestions for you, I don’t have to blog them. You know I’ll just email my annoying thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or text. I just won’t say them to your face.


  1. I love the self-awareness you all have! And I love petite girls finding their inner roar and showing people what they truly can do! I have two very petite daughters who are not afraid to bellow when they have to (still teaching them how to determine when that’s appropriate, though). It’s clear that one thing you all do when feeling challenged is rely on each other and that is truly awesome. Keep it up and good luck with the searches!

  2. Sometimes you bellow even when it’s not appropriate. It happens. ๐Ÿ™‚ We do rely on each other, it’s true, and, yes, we’ll keep after our goals, it’s part of who we are. Thanks so much for checking in.

  3. Nice looking bulldog!
    Just stopped by from SITS to say hi Hope you’re having a great day!

  4. I am having a terrific day. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think I have to agree with Tamra, bulldogs are not cute. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Stopping by from SITS! Hope you’re having a great week!

  6. This was a great post.

    There, you are now one follower closer to that million business (and on Thanksgiving, I can even count for two (-:)

  7. Hmm… you’ve piqued my curiosity. Do you plan to eat a lot on T-Day or are you expecting? I’m guessing the former, ’cause I sense you are very funny. Gonna head over to your blog to find out. But, in the meantime, that’s for being our newest follower. When we sign the book contract, we’ll send you more thanks!

  8. […] you’d like to read a sample of our family discussions, check out this one about how I think my girls could benefit from being a bit like bulldogs. Or, read about how our girls have learned to deal with rude people. (Because you know you’re […]

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