Have I ever told you about the time I accidentally tried out for a play in high school?
True story. I was sitting in theatre arts class one day and we were taking turns reading from a script. I must have been day dreaming when Mrs. Harvey had informed us that this was an actual audition.
It was my junior year of high school and up until that point I was known as a soccer player. I played competitive soccer and most week days consisted of a practice of some sort. All of my weekends were spent traveling to games and tournaments for either the highschool team or my competitive team. All of my best friends were soccer players too.
Then one day during practice I dislocated my knee cap when I went in for slide tackle. I was left screaming in the dirt begging someone… anyone to pop it back in. Nobody would touch me for fear of hurting me. My coach didn’t know what to do so I finally popped it back in myself. During that time the ligaments in my knee were stretched out and to this day if I bump it at the right angle it will pop out and stay lodged to the side of my leg until I pop it back in.
I was a defensive player meaning that my success depended on my ability to attack the ball to keep the other team from scoring. I started soccer shortly after my mom had died. Once I had found my stride I was no longer timid and unsure but instead powerful and aggressive. All of my confidence was wrapped up in that power.
After that accident my knee cap kept popping out making me more and more timid. All of my power was gone. After talking to a doctor it was determined that there wasn’t anything that could be done. I could have kept playing knowing that it was going to pop out or quit. I couldn’t handle the vulnerability. I made the heart breaking decision to quit. My whole identity swiped from me and I was left behind while my friends carried on doing what we used to do together.
I was really sad but didn’t want anyone to see it. It conflicted with the bubbly personality I was known for. My fit muscular body started to turn to mush as I gained weight from lack of activity. I was left wondering who I was and where I fit in.
I was at a loss until that one weird day in theatre arts when my name was called to read for a part in the play. The character was neurotic and insecure and my voice shook as I read it, just like the character’s would have. I played it off like I was doing it on purpose and channelled all of my new-found insecurities into the character that I was reading for.
To my surprise I got the part… and I was in a play.
Wait! What? I’m in a play? You mean we’re actually doing a play?
All of a sudden I was submerged into a whole new culture where everyone hugged everyone else. Not just normal hugs but lingering hugs. I was so uncomfortable with this physical contact. Every time someone would hug me I would try to pat-pat my way out of it to no avail.
Looking back I don’t think I really received many hugs up until that point. Sure, my dad hugged me every once in a while and I was used to boyfriends hugging me but we all know why they were doing that. But these drama people, they were different. They were just hugging to hug.
I have to be honest, at first I thought they were a bit too weird for my taste. Always hugging and making dramatic gestures. It sounds like a cliché but it was true. They had their own social hierarchy that I had never paid attention to and suddenly I was a part of it. Before I knew it I had a bunch of new friends who I would have never met if it weren’t for this accidental try out.
During this time I met a girl named Emily. She played the part of my best friend. Every time we would meet up on stage she would animatedly say, “Hi best friend!!!” Then one day as we were walking off of the stage she said, “You know, every time I call someone my best friend they end up being my best friend.”
When she said that I smiled at her and nodded as if to say, “Sure, sure… whatever you say weird drama girl.”
What I didn’t know at the time was that we would indeed become best friends. We’re still friends fifteen years later, we’ve got the kind of friendship that tests the bounds of time and distance. And she still gives me awkwardly long hugs, but it’s okay because now I’m used to it.
That year I learned that if you step out of your comfort zone (or are pushed out of it) you can crush all of the preconceived notions that you carry of yourself and find that you are capable of surprising yourself. Sometimes we spend so much time cowering under the labels we’ve made for ourselves that we forget that we are capable of more than meets the eye.
When I feel lost I call up Emily and she reminds me that there are no bounds to the things you can do or the person that you can be. She reminds me that there is no such thing as too old, too fat, too dumb, too cowardly…
Those are just excuses you give yourself to keep you from trying new things that take you out of your comfort zone.
With that said I’ll tell you what I ate yesterday even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the story I just shared with you but it’s part of my challenge this week so I must…
Veggie Challenge Day 1
Breakfast: sautéed onions and sweet peppers covered with mexican chicken and two eggs
Lunch: Green Monster Smoothie
Snack: apple and almonds
Dinner: Chicken Marsala with mushroom and salad made with this recipe