The art of showing up for life; Making everyone see what you can do


Marissa Altenburg, H/S Editor

     The first time I met Maizie she was short, a little shy, but super spunky. I was 14 years old and was unsure what our relationship would look like. 

  Maizie was my very first pig project for 4-H and it was a brand new adventure for me.

 I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to go with my brothers to a 4H meeting in 5th grade.  They invited me to be a part of the meal appeal and the archery teams as a means of  trying to entice me to go.        

     I decided after watching my brother Noah show pigs for three years I wanted to show them as well. I got Maizie and shortly began working with my project and dedicating hours or work to spending time with her, teaching her to walk for the show and caring for her.

     My first time stepping in a show ring I was rigid with fear, trying to do the right thing, walk in the right spot, and show off my pig. I was so scared that that moment turned to a foggy blur in my head in mere moments of stepping out of the ring. 

It felt like I was in the spotlight of a game. All of the other players were still standing, all eyes on me as I took the face off or draw.

      I try to follow behind the kids in front of me wandering aimlessly as they show off. I ended up placing third out of seven in my class that first time. I had landed in the middle of the crowd just like so many kids feel wandering around in life feeling unsure they have a goal to accomplish.

     Little did I know what my life would look like three years later. With five more shows under my belt, I walked into the ring for what would be my last time. The second I got in I was loose, stood there with confidence, made direct eye contact with the judge to show him that I had brought all I could into the ring that day, and showed t loff my pig like I had never lost. It’s that moment that we all are seeking out, standing in front of the crowd finally not feeling terrified.

    The way that my confidence had sprung out of my stiff and scared self just a few years prior amazed me. I was now competing against some of the best showmen for the entire day and was able to hold myself with confidence. I was all credited by my dedication to spend nights with my pig working on our walk and presentation so that when the day came it felt like another casual night out at the barn with Noah.

     From an outside perspective you would never see the amount of dedication people put into projects. My summers consisted of working during the days on my indoor projects like sewing and taking the nights and mornings to dedicate to my pigs staying out until two and three in the morning in the cool hours of the night feeding and caring for them.

     To be dedicated to something is one thing, but carrying something to completion is different.

     What I really want my project and experience to show is that if you want it you can have it.

     I had been told that it was too late in my life to get into showing and become good.

     I was told that what I was doing was a waste of time. 

     But I didn’t listen and I kept going.

     I’m the one who got to show in the championship drive in just my second year of competing, proving to all of them that my time was valuable and I was using it to accomplish the goal that I knew was possible.

   In the end,  you shouldn’t continue to sit around and wait for the world to make the situations that you want; if you do, you are going to spend your whole life without achieving what you want. You can’t let other people dictate what things you will find success in, they are not you and you are the only controller of your life. You have to act on what you have now, work hard at it, and use it to create what you want for the future.