About three weeks ago I was invited to submit an application to become an Athleta Brand Ambassador. I thought, "Now THIS is going to be a total lay up!" I mean I actually wear Athleta, it's the only brand of yoga pants that I like, and they make their clothes in super fun colors and prints. I also love their cute sundresses and bathing suits. Their tagline, 'The Power of She' is totally me! The whole thing was a perfect fit! All I had to do was submit some photos of myself, submit a 90-second video about why I love Athleta and voila, who else could they pick but me?
The only missing piece was the 90-second video, but come on, the photos of me gallivanting around in Athleta would surely be enough. Still, I wanted to show them that I'm a good 'rule follower' so the day before the application was due I picked up Claire after school so we could hike up the gorgeous hills near my house and she could take a charmingly imperfect video that would cement my place in Athleta Brand Ambassador history! With my darling daughter, and my fluffy, sandy-colored little puppies and me in a new Athleta outfit, they were going to be dazzled.
I picked up Claire from school and said "My Athleta Brand Ambassador application is due tomorrow, want to go with me for a hike with the pups, and video me real quick? Who knows they might even pick both of us!"
Claire thought this was a fine idea, but said "I have tons of homework so we need to get home quickly afterwards though."
We got home, scooped up the puppies and headed for the hills about 1/2 mile walk away. I should mention that I was wearing $200 worth of brand spanking new Athleta wear. (I don’t ususally spend a lot on yoga clothes so for me this was a big purchase.) I had on beautiful snow-white yoga pants that were almost opalescence with their white silvery pink sheen. I had on a sporty (yet slightly sexy!) pale coral top that was sleeveless with a deep racer back cut through the shoulders, my colorful Nikes and my hair in a ponytail. Athleta Brand Ambassador here I come!
As we were walking to the trailhead, the wind started to pick up. "It's not going to rain is it?", I said to Claire. It was 75 degrees earlier that day, how could it get cold and rainy on the day that I was shooting my video to be the Athleta Brand Ambassador?!
But sure enough, as we were making our way up to the scenic hill, the light got super flat and gray and it started to sprinkle. "Shit! It's going to be tough to make it look sunny up here," I said. But I was determined to make this video in the outdoorsy, trail- running, easy breezy Athleta way. Plus we only needed 2 minutes of sunshine so I was sure we could find a little break in the clouds if we waited long enough. We climbed for another 5 minutes, and the temperature really started to drop the higher we climbed.
"Let's let the dogs off leash, it will be adorable when I call them into the shot and they come running up to me!"
Claire blinked at me. I could tell she was starting to be 'over' this project. It was now 4:45pm, she was hungry, we were a 1/2 hour walk from home and she had a mound of homework.
Claire let the dogs off the leash and they took off. By now what had seemed a bit gray and gloomy had turned into drizzle. It was cold. My spray tan was starting to turn orange on my cold ashy white skin. I stepped into a puddle on the trail that almost splashed my snow white Athleta pants. "Crap, I didn't realize how muddy it was up here from all the rain this past week,” I said. "I thought it would have all drained away."
We got to the top of the hill. I took a little trial video and the setting looked a lot more 'American Werewolf in London' than sunny California hike. I was freezing and the wind was whipping my thin, blond hair around my head. My hair felt frazzled around my head, like old lady cotton-candy hair.
"Okay take the video! I’m going to call the dogs and you capture that and then I'll start talking about how much I love Athleta!"
I called the dogs and we gave the first take a go. They came up to me, I crouched down and pet them and Claire shot me talking about how much I love her and love being an active involved mom. How I loved coaching her soccer team and how much I love swimming and SCUBA diving and how much I love Athleta and how great my life is as a California Yoga instructor. Keep in mind I'm dressed in a sleeveless top in opal silver white pants on a gray muddy rainy hill with now almost howling winds and rolling clouds as the backdrop. She handed me the camera.
I looked at the video and what I saw was a wiry, middle-aged woman with veins popping out of her skinny wiry neck, trying to speak through frozen lips with her somehow big puffy nose dominating the camera. This woman had her frazzled Granny hair swirling around her head saying a bunch of bullshit. This woman was me and I looked like a pathetic striving old loser.
"Oh my god is this what I look like? This is so pathetic! I look like SHIT! Plus you cut my head off in parts of it! This looks like shit! I look horrible!"
(Yes, this is what I said...it hurts to type it.)
Claire just looked at me. I felt terrible.
"Okay, okay, I'm so sorry Honey, I'm so super sorry. Thank you for doing this. I love you. Let's just do one more take, and then be on our way."
I figured the next shot could just be a humorous, self-deprecating bit that would subtly show how fun and game I am, the kind of person who even when things go wrong, is endearingly relatable and likeable. I was going to be THE BEST Athleta Brand Ambassador ever!
Claire got the shot all set up again and started to video. The dogs had run down a wooded ravine on the side of the hill. I crouched down and called the dogs with a smile "Henry! Bradleeeeeeey!"
My normally slightly passive, submissive tiny dogs came barreling out of the woods like enraged muddy wild boar truffle pig creatures. Bradley, his muzzle and body so coated with mud it looked like he'd been eating it, hit me straight in the chest like a high-speed cannonball that sent my bum down into the mud. Henry then jumped on top of my belly then worked his way down my pale coral top and beautiful white pants all the while dragging his sharp muddy puppy claws down the length of me. Claire tried to take the video.
"Oh my god are you fucking kidding me???!!" I shouted. I got up and was drenched in mud. "This fucking sucks! Nothing ever works out for me! I'm just a pathetic, sad fucking loser who will never be married and I'm going to die alone. I hate myself! This is the fucking WORST THING EVER!!!"
Claire looked at me, set the phone down on a rock and started to walk away, with total dignity I might add. The dogs chased after her and got under her feet. Then she slipped in the mud and I could tell she fell hard before sliding down the hill. I grabbed my phone and ran after her.
"Oh my god Honey, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Are you hurt?"
Claire was crying and holding her hand. "This is horrible. This is so horrible. I need to do my homework and it's late and I'm muddy and I cut my hand."
I tried to hug her but she was done with me. Done with my ego, done with all of it and she took off in a dead sprint. I ran after her. When I caught up to her we just walked in silence, both of us too muddy and cold and wet to comfortably hold hands, our hands caked with mud and pebbles and sand. Our dogs happy as little clams running around getting even more mud on us if that were possible.
We got to my house and all of us stripped down in our little mudroom. Claire and I tried to grab the puppies before they destroyed the house entirely, and we all jumped in the shower to try and triage the situation. After the dogs were clean Claire and I showered, then we rinsed out the tub so Claire could take a bath and soak her hand. I made a nice warm pasta dinner and we watched Modern Family. Halfway through dinner Claire reached over and grabbed my hand and we looked at each other and smiled, then we laughed a little. I told her how sorry I was again.
This terrible experience has exposed a very real syndrome that I'm battling, it's awful and painful and I've always known it was there, but now it appears that it has become malignant..."MEFNOGR".
Scientists are still trying to work out if it is a genetic disorder, or if it is caused by one's environment during childhood, but I have it and this little story made me realize just how bad it is. MEFNOGER stands for "Massive Ego For No Good Reason." Clearly, I still have work to do.
If you think this story is going to end where I sent the video to Athleta and it all turned into a warm, wonderful, HILARIOUS madcap adventure where they loved how 'real' and 'honest' I am, it doesn't. I had dinner with a friend and showed her the video and she said "God you look like shit in that video. You look so much older. It's really bad."
I did send the application in with a small bit of the video from the first take. It was awful but I wanted to see the application through.
Athleta notified the new brand ambassadors this past Friday...surprisingly, I wasn't notified. :-)
I have to say in light of the above events, I completely trust the Athleta selection process.
Here's to The Power of She.