Saturday, February 20, 2010


Painfully, I sat through three basketball games this weekend. The teams did fine, the fans were tolerable; no drama, no injuries. The most excruciating part of these basketball games was the fact that I just sat there. I sat there. I watched my home jersey, #10, run up and down the court on some other girl's body and realized, That jersey isn't mine anymore.

Since fifth grade, my girlfriends Rachael, Tiffany, Victoria, and I played every sport our school offered us. I miss those days. We played together all through our senior year of high school.I played varsity volleyball, basketball, and soccer all four years of high school. Some people would think that we decided to play sports because they had the good grades. No, we maintained grades and attended classes so that we could play sports. Four years out of high school, you'd think I'd be over it. I played basketball my freshman year of college, went to Cambodia, and didn't feel much urge to continue playing, it wasn't the same.

Sitting on the sidelines this weekend, I realized: I miss that part of who I was. You could not pay me to return to high school. Nope. No thanks. I don't want the drama, the boys, the rules. But if I could just step onto that court one more time. If I could return to a life that was less complicated, I'd be overjoyed. This weekend, I sat with the parents. As I recalled these memories and how simple life was then, one mother said, "You sure didn't think life was simple then!" She's right. I suppose we always think our drama is the heaviest, when really it just depends on who's looking at it. They were wonderfully patient parents enduring our music, our drama, and our moods.

Part of me misses who I was. I was Heather--the athlete, the snowboarder, the hard worker, the resilient, bubbly, extrovert. Now I'm Heather, the . . . the . . . I'm not sure. I feel weary, heavy, burdened, stuck. I'm Heather--the writer, the introvert, the healing perfectionist, the girl who needs therapy for that eating disorder, the girl who talks a lot, and can't seem to shake the same lingering struggles. I feel like life was brighter in high school. The last four years since high school have felt pretty dreary. I'm all too familiar with this cloud.

My old basketball coach, Keith, met me at the Mill on Thursday. We recalled games and memories and lessons learned. I dreaded the inevitable question he would ask, "How are you doing?" He knows my stuff; still, I feel that in many ways I'll always remain frozen in his mind as the girl who played for him in high school. So it's tough to say, "I'm . . . okay. Life got complicated after high school. I'm not who I was."

I tried explaining this to Jeremy tonight. "I miss pushing myself and reaching goals I didn't think I could reach. The goals were simpler. Making that three point shot got me applause and cheers. Now my more important slow, but steady victories are just part of life."

We move on. We keep living. In real life the daily struggles, the ups and downs, the complexities of bills and deadlines, seem overwhelming and you just don't get the same kind of rewards. You keep going because that's what you have to do.

I miss the simple life. "You'll probably say the same thing when you're our age," said one of the mothers I sat next to at a basketball game yesterday. "You think life is hard now, we all do. Then you realize life just changes and you can handle more than you thought you could before."

Fernando Ortega performed an inspirational concert last night at vespers. Whenever I hear musicians, particularly pianists, perform, I think, I should start playing piano again. Not that I stopped, it just gets bumped aside when ensuing deadlines and a list of tasks as long as my leg take over. I listened as his beautifully simple melodies saturated the room. I took a deep breath. I remembered certain songs that remained on repeat during my year in Cambodia. Songs that reminded me both of isolation and loneliness, but also my students. I don't miss Cambodia. I miss parts of Cambodia. Those songs took me back.

I miss parts of Cambodia.
I miss parts of high school.
I miss parts of my childhood.
I miss parts of home.
I miss parts of last semester.

Perspective can be bumpy because we look back and think, What have I become? Is this really who I want to be? What may be worse is realizing, "No. I'm not what I thought I'd be."

I can't just jump back on a varsity basketball team.
I can't hug my kiddos in Cambodia.
I can't pay for their education.
I can't guarantee they'll be safe.
I can't gain back clear skin (yes, the same skin I found a way to complain about then too).
I can't keep up with all the things from my past: basketball, music, scrap booking, snowboarding, guitar, reading.
I can't rewind pre-eating disorder.
I can't undo what's been done.

But I can work out my competitive nature playing Ultimate Frisbee.
I can continue writing letters to Cambodia.
I can be grateful for what that year taught me.
I can play piano and sing for the joy of it.
I can honor that once playful, happy little girl within me.
I can take time for hobbies I enjoy, one at a time.
I can heal from one mental illness at a time and learn from the journey.
I can accept what is and move on with vibrant hope.

I have to.

I want to.


Carley Brown said...

I loved Fernando Ortega's concert when I heard it. It was awesome!

I can relate to much of what you just wrote about. I miss the past to much sometimes, and the future is looking scarier every day.

I didn't know you were so sporty! thats awesome! I was the same, I played varsity b-ball and v-ball all four years, and also softball, gymnastics, and flag football. And I also played only one year of college level basketball.

I agree, the goals back then seemed easier, life seemed more carefree.

I wish I was more musical though, thats awesome you play piano and sing, I enjoyed listening to the song you sang for church.