Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thick and Thin with This Girl

For the last couple months (and especially the last couple weeks), I’ve been receiving all these “Back-to-school” emails for athletes—forms to fill out, dates to mark on calendars, and emails from coaches and captains, making sure that we’re all keeping in shape.  Every time I get one, my eyes secretly roll into the back of my head, or I just scan right over them.  At this point, I wondered when I was going to be removed from this email list, but for priority registration purposes, I had hope it would be later, rather than sooner.  I definitely didn’t expect it to happen today.  After all, is UC Davis compliance really all that organized?

So to say the least, it was a surprise for me to get the email from compliance.  Straight and to the point,  it said that I had been “removed from the roster… Reason: Quit team.”  There’s probably few other ways to put that, and the thing is, it’s the truth.  But seeing in writing that I’ve not only been removed from the roster, but I’ve “quit,” kind of freaked me out.  I started to panic, and it officially felt real. 

I received the email at work, so it really wasn’t appropriate for me to react to it.  I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I was upset.  So that’s where real reason for this blog post comes in.  Kailyn Ono was my roommate last year, and our situations are very similar.  Long story short, we have both “retired” from gymnastics.  She was forced to medically retire because of an injury in January of this year, and I had my 4th gymnastics-related surgery just a few weeks later.  While I wasn’t officially done with gymnastics until this summer, the doubts of my comeback began back then too—and not just by me.  Now, we’re both trying to figure out what we’re going to do next.  And I’d like to think I’ve been (and will continue to be) there for her, just as much as she’s been there for me.  Especially lately.

KO and I. We will ALWAYS be Aggies at heart.
That's all that matters, right?
Today she calmed me down.  Significantly.  I feel so much better than I did before I texted her.  I was trying desperately to be okay, and for a second there, I couldn’t seem to do it.  So this is my long, drawn out “thank you” to her.  Cause she’s amazing.  And unbelievably strong.  And through thick and thin, we’re going to figure out what to do next.  And be amazing at whatever it is we decide.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seven Month Hump

It’s been almost two months since my last entry.  Back then, I couldn’t decide if I was going to make that post my last one, or if I was going to continue writing.  Well since, I’m yet to start a new blog, I might as well keep going here.

I meant to write a blog post at my six month “anniversary,” but to be honest, I didn’t have a whole lot of time, and there really wasn’t a lot developing in terms of my knee, gymnastics, my “comeback,” etc.  But today’s special too.  Today I am seven months post surgery.  And I could’ve never imagined this is where I would be today.

Ever since I called my coach and emailed my teammates, I felt like I’d been handling the change pretty well.  I felt confident I made the right decision, and I felt ready for whatever else I would be doing in life.  Not to mention, my knee was almost constantly hurting, so it seemed like I made the obvious and right decision.

But these last few days have been different.  I’ve been able to start working out more, and for some reason, that’s what’s making the difference.  All summer my knee was hurting. It was so hard for me to convince myself to work out, because simply the thought of exercise, made my knee hurt more. 

And of course, now that I’m working out more, my knee is hurting less.  It’s getting stronger, but that’s almost more disappointing than the pain.  If I would’ve tried and fought harder, would my situation be different now?   I told myself that no matter what, my inability to continue gymnastics wasn’t because I didn’t try hard enough, and now I’m just struggling to convince myself that that is still true.  Maybe it’s because the Olympics are over, and I’m really starting to miss my teammates back at Davis, but I really miss gymnastics.  A lot.  I don’t think I regret the decision, because there’s still a high change of me reinjuring my knee, or worse, getting healthy and just not being good enough.

Up until recently, I thought I was doing so well.  Handling the whole situation with my head held high, and looking at the bright side of it all.  But every once in awhile, I just catch glimpses of what I used to have, and how it used to make me feel.   I’m having a hard time figuring out what I’m going to do next.  After all, it’s who I was, and right now, I not only feel like I can’t get away from it, I also can’t seem to move on.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"The Comeback Kid"

I started this blog in December with the intention of using it to clear my head.  It was a way for me to figure out exactly what I was feeling.  And when I found out my ACL was fully torn, the blog kept me hopeful.  It gave me a place to write about an optimistic future in gymnastics.

This was far from my first injury.  And because of my history, people had seen me as that (crazy) girl who never stopped, never gave up.  It didn’t matter what injury was thrown my way—I kept fighting.  I kept coming back.

So the blog became a place to track just another comeback.  I thought, “How cool would it be, if in 6… 8… 12 months, I’d have videos and blogs marking each step of the way, as I started doing gymnastics again?”  Then one future day, I would post a video of myself, wearing Aggie Blue and Gold, proudly competing for my team in the UCD Pavilion.  That wasn’t just my goal—it was my plan.

But time passed.  And things changed.  The winter and spring quarters were harder than I thought they would be.  Gymnastics wasn’t exactly living up to expectations I had created.  Sure, Conference Championships was a lot of fun—but I was still on the sidelines.  And I was starting to get discouraged.  Not to mention, my body has been through a lot.  I could only ignore pains for so long, and I couldn’t ignore the risks anymore.

Now that I am home, I’ve thought about things.  I’ve thought about my position on the team next year, and I’ve had a chance to experience a little bit of a life without gymnastics.  But no matter the scenario, I can’t come up with an outcome that would ever be worth getting hurt again.

Eventually everyone’s got to walk away, but honestly in December, I didn’t think that I would be walking away now.  After everything I fought through, I didn’t think it would end with such a disappointing injury, having felt so close to actually competing.

However, that doesn’t mean this is the wrong decision.  Actually, I’m more confident than ever before, that this is the time to retire.  Gymnastics was my whole world; sometimes it’s scary when things change so dramatically.  But I feel like right now, I have so much potential in a life outside of gymnastics.  And because of that, I know this is the right decision.

I think I’ll always kind of be “The Comeback Kid.”  Things will never be easy,  but I’ll never stop fighting.  This time, my “comeback” will just take me somewhere new. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reflecting with Erin #1

What a year it has been.  Before I came home for the summer, I realized that this last quarter flew by… but at the same time, this school year feels like it started forever ago.  Last September, when I think about where I was and what I was doing, it feels like ages ago.  I was moving into my first apartment, taking my first digital design studio class, and my first classes for my minor.  I was missing Erin #1 (freshman year roommate), as she was abroad in Paris, and I was trying my very hardest to be the strongest gymnast I could be.

The quarter was fun, and I was working hard: in the gym and in my classes.  Then I remember Thanksgiving break.  I met up with my parents, my sisters, and the majority of my dad’s side of the family for a “Wine Train” Thanksgiving lunch.  I was happy to see them and tell them about all the progress I had been making in the gym.  Then I got hurt less than a week later.  Everything else seemed to happen so fast. 

Just this past week, I hung out with Erin (1) to get breakfast one last time before we left for the summer.  In general, we just reflected on the year.  I told her how much I missed her when she went abroad, and of course how jealous I was of her and that whole experience.  She asked me if I felt good about this past year, and practically without hesitation, I said no.  It felt like a no brainer to me.  How could I feel good about it, when this knee surgery feels like it’s messed everything up?  It’s been so much harder than the first one… and I can’t seem to forget how amazing I felt just a seven months ago.  It’s hard for me to think about it sometimes, because I wonder if I did something wrong, if I went about it the wrong way, or if I should’ve done something different.

But in these last couple days (and after a conversation or two with my sister and other friends), I’ve decided to give you a new answer, Erin (1).  Maybe I’m not “happy” with this year, but I now know that it’s been really good for me.  In my classes, I’ve learned a lot—especially about design and what I may want to do with my life.  Not to mention, I’ve enjoyed the majority of them! Pretty valuable, right?  Then as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, I honestly feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself.   I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be.  I think I have a better idea of the person that I am and the person I want to become—the friends I want to have, the friend I want to be, and the life I want to lead.  That’s definitely valuable.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good News; Bad News

Officially, one final is done.  Check.  In 12 hours, my next final is due, but technically I already finished it!  The good news is I’m very happy with this project, and I’m even happier that I didn’t finish it at some ungodly hour. Check it out here :) 

In about 45 hours, I have my final assignment of the week due—a paper for Art History.  I’ve only written about a page, but for the first time all week, I realize that I actually have more time than I thought.  I think I may be relaxed?  For that, I thank all my decent time managing, and definitely all the prayer.  I was significantly more stressed  out at the beginning of this week, and I’m happy to say that I’m more relaxed now.  Maybe I can handle all this work after all…

In general, gymnastics gets put on the backburner a little bit during finals week(s).  I’m still trying to do my best right now, to keep up with at least a little exercise and rehab, but at the present, I can’t seem to find a good block of time.  Not to mention, every time I even think about working out, my knee starts hurting.  As soon as all  this is over, I’ll get on a new schedule, and see what I can figure out.

Missy wanted me to see my doctor one last time before I went home for the summer, so I saw Dr. Lee on Monday afternoon.  I was expecting it to be a standard, fairly uneventful check up, but unfortunately it was a little bit more discouraging than I was prepared for.  When I talked to my coach about my summer plans the week before, he became about the third person to tell me that I need to be cautious.  Everyone is forcing me to approach this comeback very slowly, and everyone (including myself) is afraid of what might happen if I comeback to gymnastics just a little too quickly.  More than I want to be back in the sport, competing, etc.—I don’t want to go through this again.  I don’t want to get hurt.  John warned me that when I come back in September, I’ll be gymnastic-ally behind everyone else.  He told me this so that I could be mentally prepared, and so that I knew that know one would be disappointed in me.  But then when I talked to Dr. Lee, she told me that she would prefer my bars workouts stay as they are now—practically nothing—until late September.  Basically, I can’t do anything that even has the possibility of me falling… my knee just wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of impact. 

I’m pretty disappointed.  I was prepared to be behind everyone come September; but the thing is, I wasn’t prepared to be THAT far behind… I wasn’t prepared to be still doing practically nothing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Last Week and a Half

It’s winding down.  That time of the year.  I am so excited to be going home.  I had breakfast with my old roommate this morning, and we just started talking about going home.  It never really occurred to her how different  California is from North Carolina.  There is a little bit of a culture shock from coast to coast.  People act differently, food tastes differently—but it’s not like I’ve decided that I like one more than the other.  I go back and forth.  One thing I will admit is that I underestimated how far away I actually am.  Traveling back and forth can be exhausting.  Actually, even trying to get in touch with friends or my parents can be exhausting.  But it’s all what I signed up for.  And regardless, I get to go home in two weeks.

In the meantime, this next week especially is going to be extremely difficult.  I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bit afraid.  My final projects are scaring me, and the only two classes that I have real finals in, are the two classes that I am most concerned about.  If you think of it, say a little prayer for me over this next week and a half.  Pray that I can get through this, focused and strong.  And pray that I survive without stressing too much or pulling any hair out.

And unless something extremely eventful happens, I’ll post again on the other side of this massive tornado of schoolwork. 

Friday, May 18, 2012


It has almost been a full month, since I’ve last posted.  And I partly blame my whirlwind of school work.  Projects, midterms, papers, I feel like I’ve had them all lately.  But for the first time in probably two or three weeks, I finally have a chance to breathe.

But another reason why I haven’t blogged in awhile is probably because, to be honest, not much has happened in terms of my “comeback.”  Time has passed, but I kind of feel like that’s about it.  Technically I guess that’s something.  And poof, I think it hit me today that next week, I will reach my four month milestone.  Seems crazy—I feel like I just got hurt last week.  But on the bright side, four months feels big.

In terms of gymnastics and my physical progress, it’s been pretty stagnant.  (Other than me running a decent-ish amount.)  Every time I ask my trainer about what’s next for me, when I can start doing bars, etc., I usually got disappointed.  I kept needing more time, more strength.  But now.  I’m almost at 4 months.  And I can’t wait to start swinging again.  It’s been too long.  And I think they miss me too.