I had been fighting and working my hardest through my last professional volleyball season.
Some seasons are better than others and with each new team, new coach and new environment comes new challenges. Challenges were nothing new to me when it came to volleyball. I have been the least experienced, and often the least (volleyball) skilled the majority of my career. I started at what is considered a late age. I was 16 yrs old. I taught myself to find my strengths in the game and elements that separated me from others and worked really hard at those. I had to be patient with myself and always reminded myself that experience CANNOT be taught, It has to be EXPERIENCED!
I was on a path that I thought was going to take me to greater heights and it only took 5 seconds for my entire world to change. I dislocated my ankle in my first practice with my new team during my last season.
After 2 ankle surgeries and a couple cortisone shots, I have made every attempt I possibly could to return to playing. After the second surgery, it became a little more eye opening that I truly had my work cut out for me. I could never have imagined not getting back to volleyball.
Everyday, I am in pain. I look down to a baseball that is sitting on the side of my foot, the hip of my “good” leg hurts and is tight and because of the slight limp I walk with and the difference in the length of my legs causes my back to always ache. The cartilage in my ankle is gone and I have arthritis. At 28, I need an ankle replacement. Daily, I have to push through the reality of what has happened to my once well functioning body.
When I say that I have cried, I. HAVE. CRIED. Why me? Did I not appreciate my talents enough? is this injury preparing me for something greater to accomplish?
What I have found out from this injury is that: I am more than a score board, I am more than stats, I am more than drills, I am more than being a good jumper, I am more than 2 practices a day, I am more than ice baths, I am more than a bad game, I am more than inexperience, I am more than potential, I am more than a missed serve, I am more than a name on a roster. I am more than anything volleyball ever told me that I was . It was the belief in myself that I was ever capable of achieving those things that told me who I was. I AM CAPABLE.
Through the physical pain and the mental exhaustion of not knowing what’s next, this injury still came with really beautiful moments. I have become bold in areas I never thought I would have been. I have educated myself and found how important investing in myself is. I am more appreciative of EVERYTHING, any small thing I find a way to appreciate it. I have worked in the corporate world, and dealt with “real” people. Volleyball was a safe place for me. It was a comfort zone. I knew it would be there when I woke up in the morning I knew it was still there when I was angry. Volleyball always let me be me no matter what version of me showed up that day. FYI, working in the corporate world isn’t as forgiving if you show up as a different version of yourself ;).
One of my favorite quotes is “every next level of your life will demand a different you.” It’s a phrase I keep close when uncertainty seems to be bigger than my hopes. Whenever I’m in those situations of major change and feel like I’m struggling, I’ve found a stillness in my fears because I know I’m leveling up.
Resiliency comes from the mental capacity to adapt to any situation and over come the bad, no matter how un-aligned it can be from what we asked from the universe. When nothing is certain, anything can happen. The biggest part is, these narratives don’t come one time in our lives. We’ll have little slumps, moments of discouragement, it’s not one big story of failure and the rest is eternal success. Oftentimes, you’ll have to struggle with yourself to get through – a bunch of times. Helen Keller said it best with her quote, “although the world is full of suffering…it is also full of the overcoming of it” Applying that in my personal life has shown me how CAPABLE I am, for every struggle I face I look for the areas I can learn from it and the hidden gifts and the ways I can overcome.