I think the first time I became aware of what my body could and can do, I was probably about three or so. I was in a high chair. I had finished all of the cereal but not the milk so my mother poured the milk into a plastic cup. There were, naturally, little pieces of cereal floating around in there. This sufficiently bothered me that I threw the cup across the kitchen.
And so began my twin love affairs, with food issues and body issues.
Then there were my school years. I was not a heavy child but I was also not particularly coordinated, either. I came from a family where you didn't play sports because that's what the tradespeople's children did and we (my brother and I) were going to college so we were told that we didn't need such things.
As a result, and despite playing with friends when I was a child, I had a basic grasp of the rules of baseball and I knew that for basketball you were supposed to get the ball into the hoop and that about covered it. I recall going to a Flyers game with my family when I was 9 (we lived just outside of Philly then) and it was way, way, way up in the old Spectrum and when it was my turn with the binoculars I didn't follow the puck around and instead I just tried to pick out cute guys, either on the ice or in the stands.
As a result -- and our moving to Long Island right before I started 6th grade didn't help one iota -- I was always, and I mean ALWAYS chosen last for sports. This was the 60s and 70s, it was the era of "make the best athletes AKA gym teachers' pets the captains and let them choose the teams so that they can inevitably select all their friends first and then look the rest of us over like pieces of meat". See: Janis Ian.
There was but one exception to this pattern. I was friends with a girl named Crystal who was kind of a tough girl. I'm not so sure why we were pals; we did not go to each others' homes, but we were friendly in a nodding, hey, how ya' doin' kind of way. I was a Drama Club and International Club girl, on the Honor Society. This was an era where girls were only just beginning to be able to take shop. Crystal was, like I said, kind of tough.
We had a girls' gym class together, and it was divided into quarters. It was the Spring quarter of our Senior Year. I had been accepted to more than one college and had made my choice. Crystal, I think, was headed for a community college and probably out to work. But it was Spring quarter, and I digress. The unit was basketball, and we all knew the Janis Ian song, "At Seventeen". Well, I was sixteen but hey, close enough. The gym teacher decided on a round robin tournament. We'd have a half a dozen teams and no subs. We'd just play each other; team 1 would play team 6, then they'd play team 5 or whatever.
For some reason, Crystal the tough girl was chosen to be a captain. I suppose the gym teacher ran out of pets. Girls were being picked. I was, as per usual, waiting with the leavings. Fourth round out of five. Crystal scanned the remainders and found me. And, she picked me!
I could scarcely believe it. I was not the last one chosen.
Now, we did not win a single game, I'll have you know. When it came down to the final week of the unit, even if we had won every single game, we'd've still been dead last. But we didn't care. We had fun. We joked around easily. We enjoyed each others' company. Yes, we played. We did get a workout in and we did try to win. But getting good at it was not in our plans. We were not there to do anything spectacular on the court.
I wish I could tell you that I had kept up with Crystal, but I didn't. We went our separate ways although we have reconnected on Facebook. I don't think she remembers quite what she did for me and I have not reminded her. I don't want to remind her -- I'm not quite sure why. *I* know what she did. And that's all that matters, I feel. It all happened, by the way, over 30 years ago.
While you are going along in your struggles, and it seems like things are so hard, and the deck is stacked against you, look around at the remainders, and look beyond the trappings and the facades. Help others like they have helped you, because underneath the scratched exterior, I know that you will find a beautiful crystal.