Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back in the Day Thursday

I am twelve. My body hasn’t yet accustomed to the inches it grew over the past summer, so I look all knees and elbows and awkward. I’m in junior high now, and I am so excited. But I quickly realize that the world is no longer pocket-sized, and no one here lets you have recess.

I don’t know what’s happened to me. All I know is that I’m different, inherently, somehow, and it hurts and is uncomfortable and I feel sad.

I don’t have many friends, either. My two best-friends in elementary school quickly joined the "cool crowd," (wait weren’t we the “cool crowd” in elementary school?) and I seem to have been left behind. The few friends I have left are scheduled for “early lunch,” while I, unfortunately, manage to land “late lunch” with all the 9th graders – who have no idea who I am, and absolutely, unequivocally, DO.NOT.CARE. (about me)

I’m pretty lonely.

And then I decide to try out for the basketball team. Why not, right? I grew up playing sports. Brett and I played basketball all the time outside in the yard. He always beat me, every time, but for a girl, I was pretty good. Yeah. Heck yeah!

I’m scared to try out for the team, but I decide to go for it anyway. How exciting to belong somewhere; to be a part of a team! I want so desperately to be good at something, and I don’t want to be alone anymore.

Tryouts last four days, and each day, more and more girls are eliminated. I’m making the cuts, and I’m so excited. “I’m good! I can do something!” And I can feel that I’m so much better than many of the other girls who try out. I’m more coordinated than the others; I can dribble without looking like an idiot and I can make a few baskets – which is definitely a few more than others – I know that for sure.

I’m trying out with my old best friend from elementary school, and I’m happy we’re re-connecting. I hope I hope I want I need need her to be my friend – anyone to be my friend. I’m happy, for those few days; sure I was going to make the team.

The night before the final cuts were posted, I am so excited and nervous and I can hardly sleep or eat. The next morning I fumble nervously with my hair and clothes, I just want to get to school to see my name on that paper, my name, along with others, that means I belong to something, and that I’m good at something.

I walk to the gym. Oh good. I’m the only one there. I want to be alone for this. I quickly scan the names…Brie, Brie, Brie…where’s my name? I don’t see it. It’s a mistake, I know it, I scanned the list too fast, let’s try again:

No, no, no that’s not me, let’s move on, no, no, no, not me…

I’m not on the list. I didn’t make the team.

And then I see it. My name!

But instead of looking like this:

It looks like this
Brie Brown

The coach had crossed me off the list. She'd had the audacity (and the cruelty) to somehow let me see it. To see that I’d almost made it. Almost, almost, almost...

I lean my head against that team roster, and I cry. I don’t belong. I'm never good enough.
Almost. But not quite.

I wander away, make it in a daze through my classes, sit alone at lunch. My ex-best-friend-almost-best-friend-again-but-not-quite had made it. Of course. I knew she would, because she was her, and I was me. Never good enough.

I come home, lock myself in my room, close my curtains, and fall asleep. And for a long, long time, I did just that, every day.

And I still do.

But I’m trying to participate in this world, rather than sleep it away.
I belong now. And I’m not alone.
And I’m okay.

[The next year, by the way, I made the team. Starting Varsity.]


Anonymous said...

Oh, Brie, that must have SUCKED. I can relate to this all too well and it absolutely killed me... kickass turn around with going out for the team next year and making it! I'm sure that's really epic and profound in a way I'm not even thinking of but for now it just seems self-explanatory. :D


Anonymous said...


Sometimes I'm grateful for those precise moments in childhood/adolescence that so perfectly explain the greater trajectory of my life. And sometimes I hate them so much because there they are, haunting.

I'm glad you overcame it, though. You deserve that.

Pattie Cordova said...

{hug}... I went through the same deal when I tried out for volleyball... didn't understand why I couldn't get in just on the fact that I was tall :-( eventually I figured out that I'm not very good at sports so I concentrated on something else... anyway - a million hugs going your way. Life sucks sometimes.

Kara said...

That sounds AWFUL.

I understand coping by sleeping. I do that too. I really like that you wrote that you are trying not to do that anymore. You inspire me to try to not sleep my life away too. Thank you.

saa said...

oh, thanks for sharing this. I felt like I was never good at ANYTHING either. I failed the art test like FOUR TIMES!! and it really did hurt..and kinda still does.. Some people seem to blow that kinda stuff off, but yeah, for some of us it really stings. Good on you for trying out again though! That's a pretty brave kid!

Alli said... have such a wonderful writing's perfect for young adult books. I don't know if you've seriously thought about it before, but you should look into becoming an author. I have a good friend who is a well known LDS author...I can ask him about what you should do if you're wanting to get published (if you're interested, that is). You have such a gift with your writing...and with all of the experiences you've had, you could be a real help and kindred voice to others who struggled as well. Just a thought. Let me know if you want me to find anything out for you :)

lisalisa said...

I know i never comment, but this was so sad, it almost made me cry! i was so pleased to see that you made the team the following year- go Brie!

Standing in the Rain said...

i think it's pretty awesome that you tried out the next year still. that takes some serious persistence and strength.

you're pretty cool.

and NICE!

alriggells said...

Brie, it is the players like you that inspire me and showed me what playing sports really were. Going back and trying out the next year around, and showing them what you are really made of. Thank you for sharing this. It makes me smile to hear your persistence, because I know how persistent and determined you are. I am sorry it must have been hard to know that you almost made it, but at the same time, to know that you came back the next year and dominated must be empowering. I am so proud of you, not only for this post, but for everything. Life throws its pitches, whether it be a curve ball, fast ball, inside, or out you keep swinging. Just as in this post you show that you came back stronger and harder, you continue to do this in your life. I have found that watching someone play a sport or what not can teach you a lot about how they are in life, and their characteristics. Thank you Brie.

HAFC said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Brie, you write such incredible and vulnerable stuff it's truly amazing. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one who felt awkward and different at age 12. That's a rotten age, in my opinion. That was so wrong for her to put your name up and the draw a line through it. What a hellish kind of thing to do.

And as for the sleep thing....I do it to. I didn't as a kid, but when I feel really, really stressed, like right now, I close my curtains and crawl right into bed to remove myself from this world in which I feel I don't belong. In fact, I'm in bed right now about to shut my eyes and hope to God I will sleep and wake up with no worries or stress.

It helps me to be more vulnerable when I read your posts. In the past few years, I've closed my emotions up. I don't trust anyone. I need to begin to trust, but I don't know how. Thanks for the encouragement of sharing your vulnerability with us. I respect you so much for that.

jana bananas said...

Ouch. Being 12 sucks.

kristin said...

You are okay. :)

love, kristin

Penny said...

loved your post hon, and hated it too. Being a Mom is one hard job when your lovely daughter hurts. It brought back memories however, loved your ending because you. are. o.k. And you will continue to be!

Telstaar said...

Oh my! "I'm never quite good enough" that is the story of my life and something that reduces me to tears constantly! So frustrating the almost and not yet concept. Even when it does come, it doesn't seem to erase the original hurts that come with it. Those seem to need time and healing of their own, they're not erased by victories down the track. Thankyou for sharing so much and for sharing the positives of later on.

I really REALLY enjoy reading your blog entries. They inspire me and challenge me. To me, you are and always will be good enough. Once I've made up my mind, that's pretty much it. Thankyou for being you, for sticking around (even when perhaps there were times you did not want to) and for being able to relay prior painful experiences that let us connect with you and see that you connnect with us too!

Thankyou. xo

Brooke said...

Girl, that brought back major flash-backs for my junior high experience. I'm sure we tried out in the same gym with probably the same coach. The only thing difference is she just called out the names in front of everyone. I made it to the 2nd out of 3 cuts. It was devastating. I think I can speak for about 90% of kids that junior high were some of the worst years of their lives....

I liked you post because you really have found YOUR place. YOUR place where you belong. It feels good doesn't it?

Love ya!

tawny said...

Ummm, Brie you were never in the "awkward phase" in Junior were a babe, I was always jealous you were so dang cute and never had to suffer the 80's big hair, brace-face, dress-like-a-lumberjack-phase...I swear that's how it was for me! YOu were (and obviously still are) a hot babe inside and out!

loves xoxo

p.s who has cade man today??

zubeldia said...

oh, brie. what a sad time. And of course this is just a day amongst days, and when they run together it's just suffocating. I wouldn't be back in highschool for anything....

You do have a life now. You do have people who love you - people who want you on their team, who you belong to.

Love Z

Melisa said...

Brie, loved this post. I can so relate. It is so easy to get lost in this world and feel like you are the only one that feels alone and so worthless. I am glad that you are finding out that getting into bed is not the answer. (even though it seems like that is the only way to survive at the time) Keep trying and like you said....the next year you made it and played varsity. That trial lead you to great rewards!

rachel said...

I totally only made the first cuts that year :(

Junior high is tough!