Had my family not moved, the plan was to keep playing and maintain 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 mental prophecies!
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. Still, I couldn’t give basketball up or people would stop caring. I’m like this nobody inside without basketball and yet I supposedly loved it so much, how could that sport have become the problem?
In childhood I got “lucky” because guys liked me; I didn’t have to find my feelings. 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. 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.