Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me.

Usually this is where I go to make funny; to write about something that I'm excited about or has made me proud. I don't have that today. This is me looking for a place to offload all the mental garbage I've been carting around for some time now.

I'm usually quick to brag about what I've written - I love to hear the comments from friends (and strangers) when I've evoked a laugh or made someone think. I'm an attention whore like that. This, though, is something else. My personal illusion is that the people who usually read my writing will be surprised by what I have to say; but it may be just that - an illusion.

 There's something wrong with me. I like to think that I've been hiding it pretty well for a while now, but if you venture into my house, my secret would probably be quickly revealed. I'm drowning. It's becoming more and more obvious to me that whatever it is that I think I need in my life has nothing to do with other people. It's what's going on in my head.

 I have a husband who loves and provides for me. I have 3 amazing kids. I have a safe home and food on my table. And yet, I don't feel "happy". What's worse is that when I try to figure out what's "missing", all I find is a huge cloud of guilt. How dare I want for anything? I'm living the dream, right? I'm a "kept woman"... I should be thrilled that I'm not living on the street, scrabbling to feed myself. Or that my kids are not clinging to life in a hospital somewhere, or worse...

I keep telling myself that I don't deserve to be as miserable as I feel. So I slap on my fake smile and climb back on the hamster wheel. Yeah, that's me - the funny one; the girl who likes to make jokes and laugh harder at them herself than does anyone else. Every day I trudge along, hoping that no one looks too closely and notices that I'm just a little off...

 I joke to people that I'm nuts. Crackers. A head case. Humour is my favourite defence mechanism. The sad thing is, it's no longer a joke to me. I've come to the realization that there really is something going on that I need to address. The history is there. It's a ghost that's been haunting me for several years now, and it's time I opened that dark closet and took a really good look at what's inside.

 A friend of mine recently reminded me that I'm intelligent, well educated and capable of making change in my life, and that if I were to argue otherwise, I don't want it enough. I hate it when he's right.

 If you know me, you might understand that this is likely the most frightening thing I've done in my life. Admitting I'm wrong is not something I do often. I'm seriously wrong now though; regardless of what I've been trying to fool myself (and you) into believing, I am not "fine". I will be, though, because I'm tired of hiding.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It just gets better all the time.

It's been 2 short months since I played my first tackle football game. I had no idea what I as getting myself into; nor did I have any way of knowing how playing would change me. I've met some of the most amazing women. Our team ranges in age from 18 to 56 years old. Yes, FIFTY SIX. We are moms, professionals, students and every size and shape you can imagine. We are dedicated, crazy and passionate. We are the RAGE family. I can't explain to you how it feels to share that bond with these women who, before this spring, were total strangers to me.

As if all that wasn't enough, I've gotten more from playing this game than all the friendship and mental strength.

I can fit into clothes that I wore when I was twenty. Oh, hell yes. And for the first time since I was a teenager, I am proud to say I can rock that bikini. I never thought I would be comfortable enough with my shape to say that, but playing football has given me the fitness and the confidence to show off proudly.

This weekend I will head to Edmonton with my RAGE family to play in the Western Conference final. Regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, this season has been a giant win for me. Football IS for women. GO RAGE!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Football is for....GIRLS! WTF!!

Those who know me, know what a huge fan I am of the CFL, and more specifically, the Calgary Stampeders. This spring I decided to push myself to a new level of football love. I joined a women's tackle football (WTF!) team.

The Calgary Rage of the Western Women's Canadian Football League (WWCFL) took me into their fold in February of this year. I started out going to classroom sessions to learn the basics of offense and defense, and more of the detailed intricacies of offensive plays and defensive formations.

By March, we'd moved on to indoor training. Tackling drills, proper stances, and oh my lord the running. Forward, backward, side shuffling... you name it, we ran it.

April arrived and we hit the outdoor field. Drills, running plays, and of course, running. And more running.

At the beginning of May, the team went on a weekend road trip to Saskatoon for a "football jamboree" - 4 mini games against other budding female footballers. I was unable to play due to a muscle tear I sustained at a practice, but I did my best from the sidelines to encourage my teammates and learn as much as I could.

Finally, on May 14, I played my first game as a member of the Calgary Rage. It was a win over the Lethbridge Steel (28-14) and although I didn't perform as well as I could have, it was the most exciting thing I'd done for a long time. Until yesterday.

May 21 found us in Edmonton for a match against the Edmonton Storm. The scoreboard said it was a loss, but I made my first real tackle as a football player and will never forget the feeling. It scares me a little to think that I am capable of running full speed toward another woman with the sole intention of knocking her on her ass. And knock her on her ass I did! She didn't see me coming, and I'm sure she had no idea what hit her. I have never felt such a rush. I understand now what my coaches were saying all this time about getting that rush of adrenaline. It's a day later, and thinking about it still gets my heart pumping harder.

When I started with the team, I was nervous about the hitting part of the game. I had no idea what to expect, physically or mentally. Now that I've had my first taste of real contact, I can honestly say I LOVE THIS GAME.

Apart from being in the best shape ever in my life, I've already benefitted so much from joining this team. Win or lose, the bonds I've made with my teammates and coaches are some of the deepest of my adult life. When you stand on that field with 11 other women who rely on each other to get a job done and protect each other, you become a family. That's a part of the game I could never have imagined.

I love my Rage family.