Listen up everyone: Annie Clark is your new hero.
I know that some of you are thinking, “Oh, of course, I love the music of Annie Clark, Meghan. Why aren’t you calling her by her stage name, St. Vincent?” To which I would reply, “Yes, I enjoy St. Vincent as well, but this Annie Clark isn’t that Annie Clark. This Annie Clark is a 7-year-old girl from Pittsburgh who just won a national penmanship contest…despite the fact she doesn’t have hands.”
Are you inspired yet? You should be. If not, let me elaborate.
Annie Clark was born without hands. You know, those things that most of you use everyday to do every single thing that you do. Despite what some people might consider an enormous setback, Annie is kicking ass and taking names and winning national penmanship awards.
It was announced last week that Annie won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Penmanship. The award is given by the Zaner-Bloser language arts company to two students with disabilities. The other equally inspiring student who received it this year was a child from Eastlake, Ohio who has a visual impairment.
Annie taught herself to write without hands by developing a method wherein she holds a pen between her arms. She apparently is such a rock star that she also uses her arms to “to feed and dress herself, cut with scissors and even paint her toenails.”
Her dad, Tom Clark, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that “Annie has always been very, very determined, very self-sufficient in dressing herself and feeding herself…She can ride a bike. She swims. She is just determined that there’s nothing she can’t do.”
That’s right. She rides a bicycle and swims and is very self-sufficient. I’m 27 years old, I have two hands and I don’t do those things. Why? Bicycle seats hurt my lady area. (To be fair, cycling and spinning in general hurt my every area.) Swimming is a hassle because I have to be wet in public. (Being wet in public is something that I’m afraid of on principle–watch me carefully tarp myself before entering any and all log flumes at amusement parks.) Finally, I think it’s healthy for a grown woman to call her mom during her lunch break to ask her advice about whether she should take more improv classes or not. (My mom thinks it’s a good idea if it’s something that will make me happy, but I remain unconvinced. I will call her again.)
Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that I’m a lazy miscreant and Annie is a goddess incarnate.
Too often in life we hold ourselves back by making terrible excuses. I once told another actor that I was moving to New York to pursue comedy and she said that she wanted to move there, too, but that “it was too hot to move to New York right now.” She said that she couldn’t move somewhere to pursue her dreams because it was the month of June and she didn’t want to sweat, but what she meant was that she couldn’t pursue her dreams because she was afraid of failure.
Annie Clark isn’t afraid of failure. She’s determined to win. She doesn’t care if it takes extra effort. She doesn’t care if takes extra patience. She doesn’t even care if it’s harder for her than it is for others. It’s not fair, but basic tasks are harder for Annie than they are for most other people. Still, that isn’t holding her back.
Annie didn’t win a penmanship award because she was naturally gifted at penmanship. Annie won the award because Annie is naturally gifted at being courageous. She’s hard-working and she doesn’t give up. We should all aspire to be like Annie.
Like I said, Annie Clark is your new hero.