“Ladies, congratulations on finishing your 15s/freshman year of volleyball. I apologize that I couldn’t finish the race with you but I know that McKay could rally you guys to the finish line in one piece. A few things before you start your summer and the rest of your life without this team. 

1. Remember to Accept and Adjust.

Something’s are easier to accept than others and something’s take longer to adjust. The game of volleyball is the perfect place to practice those qualities so you can really manage life.

2. Enthusiasm is contagious.

If it is one thing that I hoped to have influenced you guys over it would have to be enthusiasm. You can work harder than anyone and not see the court, but if you have that spark, matched with $wag, then you will capture the hearts of everyone. Being enthusiastic over the simplest of moments make my everyday cherish-able and I pray that my lovely ladies can get excited about anything like I do. 

3. The world will break your heart, but your team will keep your heart together.

Though ya’ll are parting today you should always, always keep in touch with each other. Someday’s will feel like YOU VS. THE WORLD. I guarantee one of the girls from the 949 15-White team of 2013/2014 will be there to hold you up. 

And last but not least,

4. Don’t ever lose sight of your inner dingus.

To be a dingus adds an ingredient to the world and makes it a magical and laughter filled life. Without knowing, you guys have kept my heart from splitting in thousands of directions because of your beautiful and courageous selves. Don’t lose sight of being a dingus.  I love you that way. Thank you for the most remarkable season that I have ever had the honors to have coached. Please don’t forget me. Here’s to one more “loud and proud”. I love you.” 

That was the text that I sent to my twelve girls who just parted ways at their last tournament of the year. They were mine and I lost them. They slipped out of my control, but only for a second. I felt compelled to write a “end of the year text” to my girls. Regardless of spending 7 months with them, they finished the season with a different coach. I needed to give them one last text, one last memory of me as their fearless leader. 

I am in North Carolina. I am sitting on the worst couch ever made because, well, I’m staying at my best friends, boyfriends house which consume male roommates. Their source of decoration is streams of white lighted Christmas lights held up by Scotch Tape in a unsystematic fashion. There are posters on the wall that range from “Pulp Fiction” to “NC STATE FOOTBALL”.  

Chelsea Tate, my best friend, the woman that I would get ran over by a moving vehicle for, is starting her big girl job tomorrow. Crazy, right? Just about a month ago she was on the field competing to win a ACC Softball Championship. By tomorrow she is going to be wearing a dress suit and makeup to make money. I met her at 13 years of age and now she is snappin’ necks and cashin’ checks. Yeah, I’m freaking out.

However, she decided to freak everything out TODAY. She took the time to have the natural anxiety attack of “holy shit, I am never going to play softball ever ever ever again” today. The freaking day before her big girl job. Shit, everyone else takes that time to freak out on lets say, uhhhhh Senior Day of their respective sport. Not the day before you work behind a desk… ARE YOU INSANE?! Yes, yes she is.

However, it is amazing how timing works, and how The Lord works in the most mysterious of ways, because I have first hand training on this kind of attack. I got this shit handled. 

So we had our times of crying. We had our times of throwing out old stuff into a random garbage disposal to “clear our minds” and “make space for the new”. We went through the natural process of a life changing moment in a matter of 8 freaking hours. EIGHT HOURS AND SHE IS GOOD. Shit, it took me six whole months to recognize that playing volleyball was not going to be apart of my life any longer. She, my friend, is a champ.  

Fast forward to about 9 pm tonight and I wake up from the worst food coma ever and face the most compelling text message of the day. Sent from one of my girls, it say’s, “Best volleyball season of my life. Thank you.”

I respond, “Thank you for changing my life forever”

So then I write my text message to the rest of the girls because that was my clear indication that the season is officially over. That they won or lost their last match. That their end was a reality and that I now had the golden opportunity to say my farewells to the girls that inspire me every damn day. 

I type my itty bitty heart out. I ignore the liquid damage and continue on to type “dingus” as tears rush from my cheeks onto my slightly cracked iPhone screen.

I send my final thought to my girls. I plug my phone, that has been gambling on 4% of battery, into the charger. I crack open a refreshing Corona Light and head to the the front deck. Chelsea, and her sweet boyfriend, Stephen, are yet to be found. And frankly, I don’t mind.  I recline my feet onto a seat, Sitting on the deck, as southern as can be, I stare and sink into my realties. 

I stare and look deep into the street to see the flickers of fire flies come in and out of my visual spectrum. Enchanted by the greenish yellow light I think about how beautiful theses bugs are. Quickly, I think about how I treat bugs. Whenever I see a bug I either A. freak the hell out or B. instantly demolish them into a squishy oblivion. I don’t give those son’s of a bitches a chance to live another second of their short pathetic lives. 

There is something about a firefly that had me hooked. Slowly drifting from high to low, left and right, with a lit up ass to make a beautiful moment in space. Shortly after I spend about 6 to 10 minutes reading the wikipedia on fireflies. (Those bugs are fascinating and I suggest to spend time to read about them) I browsed over to my messages. One of the girls that have a incredibly soft spot in my heart for had responded.

I usually said to my girls, on an individual account to “go do big things”. She had asked if I was “doin big things”. It got me to thinking… holy shit, am I doin big things? What is it it that I am doin? Am I living a life of bull shit? Or am I actually living to my potential to be the best role model, woman, person that I can be?

I am unemployed. I am 22 years old. I am on the 5 year plan. I live with my parents. Is this the best role model that I can be? Am I in fact, a failure? Look at Chelsea. She graduated in 4 years. She played softball till her senior year. She has a boyfriend that could and might potentially be “the one” and she has a big girl job starting tomorrow, all at 21 years of age.

Am I a failure? 

 

Fuck, no. 

We all have different paths. Mine in suppppper duppppper untraditional. Do I regret it? Lord, no. 

When I have my act together I am exhausted and beaten by work and school. I don’t have time to reflect and recognize my own self good. As I sit on a crocked ol’ porch I recognize that I am like these little fireflies. 

I am floating slow and low, through this captured area knowing as space. In a confident way, I am lighting up the sky.

I am a  Lampyridae whom light their butts up to attract mates.

Okay, minus the “finding a mate” portion, I am lighting up the sky.

Floating into a non apparent current but loving every moment of it. I don’t float to gain approval, I am only floating to enrapture someone else. I hope that  I can make someone fall back onto their heels and think “holy cow, she is breathe-taking”.

With whatever it is that I am doing, I hope to inspire people. I hope that I can take someone from their busy day, stop, and observe how beautiful I light up in the darkness. 

I have survived injury. I have battled depression. I have contemplated taking my life. I have quit passions and I have broken hearts. I am far from perfect. 

Oh, lord if my girls knew what I have done in the past 48 hours then I would be sure to know that they would think of me different. So then why do they want me to be the ones to look up to? 

Well because I light up when others don’t have the willingness to do so. I am not perfect. Girls want to look up to imprefection because they have been spoonfed their entire lives what it means to “be perfect”. Well guess what, hunny, life is not perfect. I am not perfect. These girls want to look up to something or someone who is real and I hope that I can live to the height of that expectation. High School is hard enough, being 15 is pretty crappy. These’s girls want to see someone who is living her life, mistake after mistake and triumph after triumph.  

Challenged at the idea of “doing big things” I recognize that the biggest thing that I can continue to do is light up like a lightning bug in the sky. I must illuminate someone’s life to a greater potential. Yet, I have to work to be my best so I can inspire other to be there best. 

As Chelsea and Stephen roll up in their car, from wherever in the hell that they went, I summarized in my mind that need to continue to be my best. I can’t hold onto my young women forever. They are going to graduate onto bigger and better things. They get to go fall in love. They get to feel stress and work for something that they want. As much as it hurts, I can’t go with them. I have to let them fly and light up their own darkness. 

You can’t have two fire flies next to each other because it is only natural to compare. I have to let them go, to float into the dark space hoping that the 7th months that I shared with them helped influence them to be brighter, stronger and more willing to sail away into the darkest of night. 

Am I the best role model? No. Is Chelsea the best role model? No. We both influence each other on a extreme level. But what one girl can take from me is that I will be nothing but my realest and rawest. How to be strong and beautiful is also a vulnerable and often problematic position to be put under. Yet, I will only be myself and that requires strength to illuminate beauty. 

 

1. Accept and Adjust 

2. Enthusiasm is contagious 

3. The world will break your heart, but your team will keep your heart together. 

4. Don’t ever lose sight of your inner dingus. 

 

 

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