Growing up, I can remember being told by my mother that sports were for boys and I wouldn’t be good at them. She now denies ever having said this and says I never asked to play. I can remember a conversation after my bother’s soccer game. I must have been 6 or 7 and he was 5 or 6. To me, he clearly didn’t want to play and I did. When I asked her about me playing, she said the above and something about how I would get hurt because I was so clumsy (I was). My memories from childhood are jumbled and few (which upsets my mom, because QUOTE: “She worked so hard to give me nice memories.”) but I remember this conversation, god damn it. I remember where we were standing in her room. I remember how I felt. I remember it.
Even if I concede that she may not have said those words (which I don’t), the message to me was clear growing up. I was put in dance classes that I didn’t like (um, clumsy). My brother was made to play soccer and baseball, which, to my memory, he didn’t like (I have to remember to ask him now). Message= boys play sports; girls dance.
Luckily, my brother and I both went on to discover a love of music and performing.
But I have regrets. The message I took away was that I couldn’t try sports. I would suck at them. Sports were off-limits to me. I wonder how different I could have been if that door was open to me? As I’ve been recently working out and lifting weights, I feel like there is a part of me that could have enjoyed this a lot earlier. I feel by body and spirit respond to it and imagine doing things that my body at this size will never be able to do.
For the past 5 or so years, when I’ve had a positive, good kind of physically active day, when I close my eyes I imagine myself doing a hand stand. Over and over I’ve imagined this. And it is always a positive feeling that washes over me imagining this. I don’t know what this means, other than one of my fitness goals now is to be able to do a hand stand. It has sort of become my acknowledgement to the girl who was told sports were not for her. It is a message to her that she could have done it and that I can still do anything. It is an empowering thought that I hold on to, instead of the regrets about not playing sports when younger. I can’t wait for the day when I can so a hand stand.