Just do it!

Dealing out the deck, one card on top of another across my bed.

One, two, three, flip.


One, two, three, flip.


Nothing. My life was full of nothing.

I followed a boyfriend 335 miles from home for college where he promptly broke up with me. Christmas break had come and gone and I was back in my drab, institutional-green room, spending the time I wasn’t in class playing solitaire. No television to entertain me, no laptop to cruise the web and no alcohol to drown it all away.

Some days were worse than others. Some days I couldn’t even find the will power to go to class.

That semester I had a couple of classes with Dr Sugg. Thick curly gray hair, corduroy patches on his sleeves, scuffed leather shoes. One would dismiss him as just another boring academic.

Except this boring academic taught my advanced swimming and lifeguarding course.  A 10 lap warm up was expected before he even walked out on the deck of the pool. Once a stroke was reviewed there were 10 more laps to perfect the stroke and set the muscle memory. Another 10 laps were part the cool down.

I hated him.

By February I was skipping his classes at least once a week. Sometimes twice.

I hated feeling gray, I hated not having the energy to get to class. I hated feeling like the winter would never end and nothing would ever change. And I felt powerless.

Dr. Sugg had no use for my excuses. He found me after one of the few classes I was attending and pulled me aside. After politely listening to me whine he politely said, “Bull shit.” And then he changed my world with just a few simple words, “You have to DO SOMETHING in order to feel better. You cannot wait to feel better to DO something.”

Its been 18 years since Dr. Sugg said those words to me and yet I hear them every time I feel immobilized. I hear them when I feel the hormones, the challenges of being a wife and mother, a writing dry spell start to get me down.

I don’t always get off my ass. I don’t always seek help or try to write through the block. But I know that if I try, if I just try, that I’ll be better for it.

Thank you Dr. Sugg.

This post was inspired by a prompt from the Red Dress Club: Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!

Have you had a mentor that inspired change in your life?

16 Responses to Just do it!
  1. Alison@Mama Wants This
    August 1, 2011 | 10:51 pm

    Those are wise words, I am writing them down!

  2. Nancy C
    August 2, 2011 | 3:16 am

    I love this. Yes! Nothing helps like moving. It’s so hard when you’re hurting, but you’ve gotta do something.

    I love, by the way, those patched elbows on the pool floor. So odd. A great image.

  3. Galit Breen
    August 2, 2011 | 3:44 am

    Wow. Just plain ‘ol wow.

    This is one of my favorite pieces from you- the details, the power, the change shown- all perfection.

    You nailed this one. Perfectly.


  4. CDG
    August 2, 2011 | 3:44 am

    I hope through some miracle of modern technology he reads this. It’s a great piece of advice, and a no nonsense professor who gives a shit?


  5. Frelle
    August 2, 2011 | 4:40 am

    I know what it’s like to have had words like that given to you when you know that they’re true.. but hard to follow. Clearly when you don’;t feel motivated, Dr Sugg’s words come to mind even now :)

  6. finallyMom
    August 2, 2011 | 7:31 am

    DO SOMETHING…live your life. amen Dr. Sugg, amen. we all need a Dr. Sugg every now and then, don’t we?

  7. Cheryl @ Mommypants
    August 2, 2011 | 7:32 am

    I love that he cared enough to pull you aside and give you those words of wisdom. You just never know how much you can impact another person.

  8. John
    August 2, 2011 | 10:05 am

    Simply, Dr Sugg sounds like a truly amazing person.

    I think I could use that same lesson for myself. Often.

  9. My Pajama Days
    August 2, 2011 | 12:26 pm

    OMG! I think I am going to copy that sentiment and post it all over my house. It applies to everything I whine about in my life…thank you Dr. Sugg. Praise for teachers that step out of themselves to really see their students.

  10. julie gardner
    August 2, 2011 | 12:50 pm


    So glad you have these words of inspiration to carry you through tough times, even now.

    That’s what I loved about teaching.

    I was not an overachiever in high school (and by that I mean I was smart but I didn’t try at all and acted like I didn’t care).

    Then my 11th grade English teacher pulled me aside and said, “I read your essay last night. If you can write this well at 16 without even trying, there’s no telling what kind of writer you could be someday…”

    Mr. Litten believed in me when no one else did; when even I didn’t.

    And now I’m a writer. Who tries…

  11. angela
    August 2, 2011 | 2:14 pm

    I love this post. I love that he pulled you aside to say that to you, when he could have just let your absences slide and/or fail you.

    That has to be hard to do; I know I wallow more than I should when I am having a hard time with something. I will keep these words tucked away for the next time it happens.

    I really like that you started with the solitaire game. It set the tone and really brought me into the story, your boredom, just sitting and not doing anything.

  12. Coffeypot
    August 2, 2011 | 3:03 pm

    My Wife!

  13. Jessica
    August 2, 2011 | 5:00 pm

    Now that is an awesome teacher. Not many of them will take the time out to care about their students. I’m glad he called BS on you and gave you some sage advice. Dude.

  14. Tina
    August 2, 2011 | 9:05 pm

    We all need a smack upside the head every now and then to get us moving in the right direction.

    It can be difficult to describe depression, but you hit the nail on the head!

  15. Erin
    August 2, 2011 | 9:20 pm

    When I first started reading this I thought OMG this is my life!! I followed the high school sweetheart 400 miles to SF, and I had a drab green room. He didn’t break up with me, but maybe he should have, because we married and divorced! Even though we are still in contact today!

    What a perfect message, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for you! Definitely going to remember that one next time I have a challenge!

  16. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying
    August 3, 2011 | 8:14 am

    I felt you being stagnant with those cards. Almost motionless. Which made his call of “bullshit” even better. I love his words, and how they pulled you into action.
    Great response to TRDC linkup.

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