Fame to shame and back again

The high school’s athletic department spelled my last name wrong on my first-ever MVP plaque for varsity cross country in 2006. Trevor, the men’s MVP recipient and my then-senior-in-high-school brother, hadn’t noticed the misspelling on his own plaque.

The physical education teacher apologized profusely, taking them back and promising to have them redone.

34119_1433227322690_1029585_nThat plaque –– with my properly spelled last name –– hangs on the lime-green wall in my bedroom at my parents’ house… next to the 2010 version, and above the 2007, 2008 and 2009 versions. Five straight years; every season I ran for the varsity women’s team.

Under the 2010 cross country plaque begins a similar saga for track: 2008, 2010 and 2011.

I had no idea that, when I finally hung the plaques up last Christmas, they’d be taunting me in a year.

To shove my award-winning past down my throat even further, there are plaques for school records held and MVP plaques/sportsmanship awards for individual races/meets/seasons.

34579_1433228162711_6570496_nNow I find racing bibs, seed number stickers and individual metal spikes in my childhood bedroom and throw them out without a second thought or glance.

That 100-pound life of mine? It’s been over for more than two years since I decided to pursue a different kind of lifestyle in college. And I’ve found success –– a lot of success, actually –– but I’ve also let my body down.

I feel like shit probably 75 percent of the time now. My doctor says I’ve reached a healthy weight, proportional to my 5’2″ stature and the lifestyle I lead, but I’m reminiscent of those high metabolism days when eating my weight in food refracted on the scale instead of reflecting.

Achieving a healthy weight doesn’t mean I’m entirely happy with the loss of tone in my muscles, the weight gain in my face and –– while this may seem like a perk –– the need to buy new bras to support a larger cup size.

I’m fuller, more of the hourglass figure women so desperately want… but I’m about ready to trade it in.

I stopped running because I hated it, the running part, I mean. Not to mention the drama on my college cross country team (almost wrote “country” without the ‘o’…not on purpose, I swear!) and coaching methods I did not particularly agree with. Maybe building a method of my own and running on my schedule will be the breath of fresh, cold and wintry air my cabin fever needs in order to be sweated out. Not to mention the 10 pounds I’d really like to shed.

So I’ve invested $100 dollars in my new RUN-BECAUSE-IT’S-HEALTHY-FOR-YOU,-EMILY initiative.

$30 on new Sauconys (the comfiest running sneaker you’ll ever find; I snagged a deal at Dick’s).

$60 on a new sports bra (you pay a hefty price for…well…having a hefty chest).

$11 on bluetooth earbuds (originally $40; I had Amazon credit to use).

So screw you, lime-green wall.

IMG_20150111_140017

Advertisements

Five minutes ago

This tab has been up on my computer now for a solid 30 minutes. Time to write and fill the white space, huh?

But, try as I might, I can’t get this worded correctly and succinctly. So another five minutes passes. And I’m no closer to writing this than I was five minutes ago.

Here we go.

One of my favorite Gertrude McFuzz lines.
One of my favorite Gertrude McFuzz lines.

I was told last year that I have a “swagger.” I walk with a purpose; head up, eyes forward, smile –– usually –– on. I wouldn’t call it swagger; that has negative connotations. Especially when nobody knows how hard it is for me to put that smile on and walk around.

I’ve been demolished several times. Shut down. Turned off. Doubted.

Eighteen-year-old Emily walked onto campus and acted like she owned the place.

Fast forward to the tear-stained, first night of my second semester.  Through hearsay, a friend told me the freshman girls in my major who knew me didn’t like me.

I sobbed. I don’t know why, but I sobbed. Then I learned how to say “fuck you” and got over it, but some of my confidence remained shattered on the floor. And I didn’t know how to fix it.

Having my boyfriend of nearly three years join me at school the next year was a treat. He pumped me up, overflowing my world with unnecessary, dare I say it, cockiness.

I had to. I just had to. I began this semester, sans boyfriend and basically parent-less after informing them I had decided to leave the cross country team.

The quotes on my walls served as my only vice, helping me through a terribly difficult time and inspiring me to climb out of bed, despite the urge to stay tucked in and continue hugging Strawberry, my barely-pink-anymore teddy bear. I read these quotes every morning and remind myself that everything is going to be okay and that, though I’m just a little girl in a big world, I have the power to change it.

Thank you, Papa.
Thank you, Papa.

As my Papa said and as the quote on my wall states, “Everything happens for a reason.”

I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now if I still had that boyfriend or if I still ran on a rigorous, D1 cross country team.

I made these choices. I stood by them. I defended them.

Now I’m waving to a scared, 18-year-old Emily from across the gorge, urging her to take a risk. Assuring her that she’ll land safely on the other side and I’ll be there to comfort her.

Follow the yellow brick road?

My heart lurched. A lump formed in my throat. Tears sprang to my eyes. To want something this bad hurts… especially when one knows it is not within his/her grasp. Especially mine. Watching people perform on the stage is really emotional for me. When their emotions show during the song they’re performing, it affects me. Deeply. I’m torn in-between reality and fantasyland. Which should I choose? The practical way? The logical way? The way where I have a sure chance at succeeding? Or…should I shoot and eventually miss? Should I be risky? Should I jump without knowing where I might fall?

I’ve had pipes since, well, I don’t even remember when. Chorus teachers I have had over the years have always acknowledged my talent, and their acknowledgement eventually paved the road to my distant dreamland hidden in a thick fog. All I wanted to be when I was younger was a singer. A real professional vocalist with millions of adoring fans. Then I began to love Evanescence and thought: wow, it would be awesome to be the female lead to a hard rock band. Thus, a bigger dream was born.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I have a deep obsession with female fronted bands – and well, now you know why. I aspire to be like them; I want to be in their position so badly. It aches to see them perform and think about just how lucky they really are. They are exactly what I want to be. All I want is to perform with my band on a stage in a grand theater to a crowd of a million. To spill out my emotions through song and slump off the stage exhausted when I am done. I want to sing and run around with the mic. I want to lean on the mic stand and have sweat pouring off of me from so much exertion. I want to stop singing and listen to the crowd sing the next verse – a verse most likely derived from a line of a poem I wrote when I was twelve. I want to share my love of singing with the world and I want to belt it until I can’t belt it “no more.”

At my fork in the road, to the right lies the road that leads to my dreamland. The road paved with yellow bricks and patches of lilies of the valley growing on the side giving off my favorite aroma. To the left is an equally pleasant-looking road, only it is paved with brick that gives off the more practical red-ish color. This road is the one I’m to follow should I want to be successful on the first try. The writing road. I’ve been told I was born to write, but I’ve also been told that I have a very powerful voice. Now, should I choose the yellow brick road that leads to my dream career of being the female in a female fronted band? Or, should I venture down the more structurally sound road that leads to definite success? Do I want to be an exact clone of my mother and eldest brother, or do I want to be the first to set foot on my own yellow brick road?