I write a lot on this blog about moving, California and anorexia thereafter.
So, if we didn’t move what was supposed to happen?
In sixth grade, I won the Montgomery County free throw competition. This little fact is included in my book on pages 47-48:
The year after meeting Anemone and dropping the team with Shadow, I went on to win the Montgomery County free-throw competition, beating all of the other girls in my grade and surpassing the boy winner with my score of nine out of ten shots.
So, the team with Shadow was a disaster because of the coach and pressure I felt. The plan was to keep going, though, and maintain all my secrets. When it came to boys, I couldn’t let the people I wanted “attract me” because I lacked self-trust. I didn’t need anybody to think I liked him or had a crush, I just wanted the right to follow my feelings and curiosities without being judged or making some kind of mental prophecy!
At school, my friends could be unkind. It was easy to find my place in the group by letting them make fun of me and call me silly names. I couldn’t loosen up or I’d lose it, literally, and crumble…PEOPLE WOULD STOP CARING ABOUT ME…(as if they actually did)! I’m like this nobody inside without basketball and yet I loved it so much, how could that sport have become the problem? Was it only this one coach? Was it my parents? Was it these people at school? Did I just get bad at it?
As a kid I got “lucky” because guys liked me so I didn’t have to find my feelings. Through my second book I rewrote this story and turn it around via fiction. In my own personal life, this involved reaching out or at least re-thinking a host of guys from the past and testing my previous desires:
Who have I been attracted to?
Why is it that I am drawn to particular people?
Is there an answer?
Because if things kept going on as they had in sixth grade, most likely, I would have had more of a peer group and high school boyfriend. Not that any of these people would come close to knowing the truest version, but because I was “in” by nature. My sporty successes made me cool. I was smart. I’d known these people since first grade and we got here together! Life and guys and other good things happened because of “my basketball reality.” How was I ever going to make it without basketball; the sport was supposed to be for “Laura”–like just deal with her, because no one wanted more. I was merely a child, anyways, and adults did not pick up on how serious my need for change was and how unhealthy it was for basketball to get SO built up. Until therapists entered the picture and it was too late–I had to be fixed back into the better tattered version of who I used to be! All of a sudden everybody forgot how much pain basketball brought me because the label “anorexia nervosa” sounded that much worse.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in the past and have my basketball awesomeness but, today, unless I actually became a WNBA player, SO WHAT? I didn’t do basketball, but I became a personal trainer at 18, learned all about yoga and write books! If I’d stayed in Maryland and things worked out, people would continue to think “basketball” (and maybe teacher’s pet) when they think Laura Yochelson. But that was never me; Laura simply couldn’t play (or have feelings) without her court.