I was lucky enough to be pretty well-liked in high school – at least I felt very well liked. I wasn’t a popular girl or anything. In fact, in jr. high I was bullied every day of my life. People called me “rat face” and made fun of how I looked and even what I ate. I liked cheese an awful lot. Dammit I still like cheese! Cheese is delicious! But I digress. I really hit my stride in high school.
I thought I’d found out who I was and what made me special. I’d found my “cutie mark,” for those of you of the Brony persuasion. I know I’ve already mentioned that I was the youngest colorguard captain in the school’s history but it’s worth mentioning again. The guard was bigger than ever and earned more recognition than ever before. For those of you who don’t know much about Southern marching band culture, a little explanation: Drum Majors are the students chosen to lead the band, and the guard captain leads the dancers. Guard captain is pretty much the second highest rank in band just below drum majors. While there are section leaders who lead each instrument group, they’re generally only well known to their section. The whole band knows the drum majors and the guard captain. THAT WAS ME GUYS. I wasn’t traditional popular, but more people knew me by name than I knew by name. I had power and respect but gosh darn it I didn’t even really care about that. I just loved guard. Oh my God, I loved it.
I got to the school at 5:45 AM for band practice. I practiced on my own during lunch. I usually stayed after school until at least 5 to have access to equipment and space to practice – and I still practiced at home after that. I was hard on myself. I made myself do push ups as often as I made my squad do them. And I was never happier than when I was dancing with a flag.
I dated a couple of guys outside of band and they did not like me. At first it was all “Oh you’re so graceful/talented/amazing” but it quickly turned in to “can we please talk about ANYTHING but band?” I was married to my craft – as married as you can be in high school anyway.
I had plans to march professionally after high school. You can only march until you’re 25 years old, but that seemed lifetimes away (holy crap you guys, I’m 24 as I write this. I’M ANCIENT intheworldofathletics). There was even talk of colorguard becoming an Olympic sport. But I don’t think anyone’s high school life plans actually pan out. One day, everything changes.
For me, it was illness. Chronic pain that had ever only previously peeked out to show its face during colorguard. The rogue instances of extreme pain and fainting were rooted in endometriosis. Now, it’s not like my doctor said “you’ll never dance again.” and it’s certainly not true that women with endo can’t be athletes. It’s just harder.
Maybe I just use endo as an excuse. Maybe I’m capable of a lot more than the life I currently lead physically-speaking. I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always been drawn to film. And of course, I got married during college which made me want to be at home more than I wanted to be out on the field. Maybe I’m just bitter that I grew up, and that life couldn’t stay the way it was. All I know now is that I’m tired. I’m so freaking tired. I hurt a lot. I miss being the girl in charge. I miss being the girl with muscles and enough energy to literally dance all day long.
Don’t get me wrong, I love myself. I love who I am now. I certainly don’t miss the mental instability I fell prey to in high school or the self-harm. I love the freedom of being an adult and getting to choose (at least on weekends) anything I want to do. I love how I look. I love my house, I love being married, and I love writing this blog (which I wouldn’t be doing without endo). I guess like anyone I just want the best of both worlds.
I have very few friends now. I still have the same number of really close friends (in fact none of those roles have even changed – all my high school best friends are still my close friends now) but I don’t have…well, an army of people to say hi to me everywhere I go. To smile and nod and affirm my awesomeness. Yeah I was kind of spoiled, but I miss that.
Then the other day, someone actually stopped me at a restaurant and said “You went to RHS right? You were the colorguard captain!” I didn’t recognize them, so they went on to say we had been in a summer school class together – and he wasn’t even in band. Gosh, that made me glow.
I dunno. It’s just kind of weird to not have any of the qualities people used to adore you for. Kind of sad. I am a huge fan of my ex-self, and I miss her. I’d love to start an adult guard – sell it like a zumba-type workout thing. But I’ve got a real job now at a desk and everything. And I hate that whenever I try to think of how I could make it happen, there’s a voice in my head that says
“You don’t do that any more.”