Ok, gather round everyone. It's storytime!
I promised everyone pictures of my football and wrestling days in THIS post. Well today is the day my friends! I found the pictures FINALLY! I told my husband way back when to keep an eye out for my binder with the pictures in it. We finally got around to buying a storage unit to house all of our crap we can't fit in our house because there is absolutely no storage. He has been working very hard the past week at packing totes and lugging them up to the storage unit. So last night I ask him if he had found the binder while he was packing things up.
He says "yes"
I say "ok, so ... where is it?"
He says "in the storage unit..."
WTF?!?! (I guess it is Wednesday so the WTF is appropriate!) How are you gonna put that in storage when I've been looking for it for months?!?
So of course we took a trip up to the storage unit and he looked through the boxes to find it ;)
But before we get to the pictures I have to talk about my childhood...about things I never understood until I was an adult. There's really no "good" way to say it so I will just say it. I was sexually abused. For a very long period of time during my childhood. (almost my entire childhood) It started when I was only 3 years old. I think the reason why it went on so long is because it started so early, before being taught the whole "don't let anyone touch your whoha" talks (or maybe there were but I was too young to comprehend) For much of my childhood I just thought this was life. It's just what happens. I was told not to tell anyone so I didn't. It wasn't until I can actually remember my mom giving me the "don't let anyone touch you" talk that I realized what was happening wasn't right...or normal. I can't remember the exact age but I was probably around 5 or 6.
It's amazing how our defense mechanisms go into action without us even realizing it.
My brother played little league football so I was at many of his practices and all of his games. I sort of became obsessed. I wanted to be like my big brother... I wanted to play football, it was sooo cool! When I asked my parents if I could play the said yes with no hesitation. (it's a whole other story, but basically after almost losing me due to medical reasons they never wanted to hold me back from anything I wanted to do, no matter how unconventional)
Now we didn't have a girls league and a guys league. Mainly because I don't think any girls ever wanted to play. So everyone else in the entire league were boys. Much to my disdain but everyone elses relief, I was too young to play "tackle" football so my first year was flag football.
From my very first practiced I was hooked... I was in love. In love with this game... In love with the atmosphere. That was in 1993.
Here I am with my long hair in a braid...looking like a little girl kneeling next a football, smile and all.
Awe... ain't I cute?
The next year I was movin' up to tackle!! I was soooo excited. The 2 coaches for the 2 teams in my area were devastated when they found out there was a girl playing. We were just like the big leagues..we had a draft. Since there were 2 teams the coaches had draft picks and split up the remainder. Guess who was the VERY last pick? Yup..me... They had to flip a coin to see who got stuck with girl. My coach was pissed. We took our little league seriously and he had no idea what to do with me... Until our first practice. I pulled my weight and then some and stood out, not for being a girl but for my enthusiasm, dedication, and my kickin' ass skills! I can't remember which practice it was but I remember our coach pulling us all up and telling the story about the draft and getting stuck with the girl. I was mortified...I thought for sure he was gonna say something horrible about how I shouldn't be playing. No... ended the story with "After our first practice she was no longer "the girl"... she was a FOOTBALL PLAYER... a team mate, and I am truly proud she is on my team" I think I almost cried that night.
Still all smiles...long hair
The next year I was ready. Bring it on. I was ready to start snapping necks and cashing checks. The previous year I realized that having long hair SUCKED while wearing a helmet (I honestly don't see how all those NFL guys do it!?!?!) So I decided to cut it all off. Got me a nice bowl cut and headed out! Me and my team mates were a family. They stuck up for me when players for other teams would bad mouth me (remember I'm the only girl in the ENTIRE league) They had my back, and I had theirs.
1995 age 10 - 4'8" 114 lbs
(yup at age 10 I weighed as much as
many GROWN women)
My coach that year begged me the entire season to join the wrestling team. He said he wasn't a wrestling coach but he would become one JUST so he could train me and work with me at practices. I finally said yes and he was excited. I was nervous...wrestling was a lot different than football...
But I went out there... and I kicked a little A I won't lie :) Towards the end of the season my coach wanted me to drop down to a lower weight bracket. Enter my first diet...wow...at 10 years old. I've been doing this a while folks. It was healthy, my parents made me healthy meals and I trained with my coach EVERY night. I dropped weight ( I think like 15 lbs) and made my bracket. (after a night of running and spitting in a cup to drop an oz) So what was my reward for making weight? Me and my coach went to Snack Shack for a taco eating contest. (wow, food rewarding starting young too) he dropped weight with me and did all my workouts with me so I wasn't alone...he was a trooper! I made it districts and did ok but didn't make it state. I'm not mad...it wasn't really my thing anyways. I actually got hurt more wrestling than football...weird. Funny story. So, my hair was all chopped off and I'm in the exact getup you see below. I even had my headgear and mouthpiece in. I had to pee really bad right before a match so I went into the restroom. I walk in thinking nothing of it and get CHASED out by a 70 year old woman hollering at me and sticking her cain at me telling me "This is the girls restroom you little pervert!!" As i'm trying to get away from her I yell back "I AM a girl!!" She didn't believe me and chased me out and I had to go use another restroom. It was also funny when I was in a match hearing the other kids mom and dad yell "Get him! Get HIM!!!" And then their coach would say "Um, that's actually a girl" ....pause.... "GET HER!!" lol
Look at me in my singlet! Ready to pounce! lol
So after wrestling, football started back up. This ended up being my last year for a few reasons. I hurt my back and blamed it solely on that but there was more. As I started getting older (11 years old lol) More and more people started having a problem with me playing. Since it was getting so close to actually starting school football the whole "cute" thing wore off and they didn't want me playing when it MEANT something (statistically speaking, it always meant something to me) even the coaches wife started showing her displeasure for me. I noticed I went from playing every single play of the game, both offense and defense to being benched.... a lot. I couldn't figure it out..every time he would put me in I kicked ass. One of the other moms overheard the coaches wife talking about how horrible it was that I was playing and that she basically made him bench me. So I talked to the coach about it...He decided EFF his wife, he was putting me in. But that really did it for me. I don't think I was ready to face all the people who didn't think it was cute I was playing football. It didn't matter how good I was, just the fact I was a girl playing in a town who is VERY football oriented was enough for people to hate me. I wasn't ready for that AT ALL. So I stopped. And it sucked. They would always ask me if I was gonna play...every year... even up to my senior year! lol
1996 11 years old
Keep in mind all of this was happening in the midst of frequent sexual abuse. It wasn't until many years later and a husband who was a therapist (well, he basically has to beat my feelings out of me..no that sounds bad...he just has to beg!) I finally started realizing WHY this became my passion... WHY I was ok with people thinking I was a boy. WHY I wanted to be a boy. WHY all my friends were boys. I've also had a serious negative almost violent reaction when anyone tells me i'm "pretty" I would just get a disgusted feeling in my gut and snap at them. I couldn't stand the word...it gave me chills down and back up my spine.
I blocked it out but upon many emotional conversations with my husband I remembered...suddenly and hard. Like a rush... My abuser called me pretty. Looking back now and remembering my emotions and feelings I realize that I didn't want to be pretty anymore... I thought that maybe acting like a boy or looking like a boy would make the abuse stop. I thought he would stop if I wasn't "pretty" any more. The abuse lasted all the way up to age 15. Even after all was said and done, abuse stopped, the authorities took over. It still stuck with me. I had a lot of emotional/sexual issues that were VERY hard for a teenager to deal with internally. I've felt worthless, like it was my fault, like no one was ever going to love me. Like maybe promiscuity was actually love. I've been over 200 lbs since an early teen.
Although the abuse is LONG gone...and I have forgiven my abuser. Alot in my head and in my life is "right" now. This weight, this body... is the last painful reminder. A reminder of the way I felt weak for not speaking up. For allowing it go on so long. A reminder of the guilt I've felt my entire life. That i'm just not good enough. I'm ready for a new life... A healthy one...body, mind, heart and soul. I'm ready to shed my skin i've worked so hard to callous. I'm ready to finally be the me I know I am. I'm just ... READY.
(P.S. if you didn't notice my counter, it jumped. The surgery center called and surgery will be at 7:30 instead of 9:00 woot woot!! Only 11 hours!)