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God, I'm sorry...
Author's note: Yeah...I had a bad day...This is my way of venting...
They say he works in mysterious ways. That he answers prayers in riddles, things that are never straight forward. That he doesn’t listen to every petty little thing, but gives you a free-bie every once in a while.
God, I mean. The man in the sky, the all-powerful creator, your maker, Him, Shiva, Jesus, whatever you want to call him, he’s out there, that I’m sure of. How would I know this for sure? I don’t. But I know that there’s someone watching out for us because, once upon a time, I was a non-believer in Christ, or any god, to say for that matter. All it took, though, was one time, one good go-around for me to trust again in the one person who I needed the most…
It was April. There was snow, sleet and hail falling from the sky. Thunder crashed every now and then, and even lightning struck once or twice. Crazy weather? That’s what you get in Wisconsin. It wasn’t bad enough for a snow day, but it was enough to cause a handful of accidents. Everyone had to take out their snowplows and salt trucks once more, even though they had been locked away in storage for almost a month now.
Tuesday. It was definitely a Tuesday. Softball practice was canceled because of the weather but gymnastics was still up. It didn’t start at gymnastics, but before that. When the weather changed, something inside of me changed. I was apt to be more…emotional. I would be sedimental over certain objects that I knew I had to get rid of in order to make room for people to install information.
Everyone around me were more emotional as well. A good friend of mine, a very strong built guy, started crying because he couldn’t get his rocket just right. One of my best girl friends was crying because she was so happy for her and her boyfriend.
I wasn’t this fortunate. By emotions came out in blunt rage, sadness and anger. The one time I had begun to show these emotions was in the bathroom of the YMCA, the gym I trained in.
It was a so-so practice. We were working on things that would get us into the next level; fly aways, tucks, back walkovers. All things that weren’t the hardest things to do, but still weren’t easy. I started getting frustrated over bars, not being able to do a fly away. All I had to do was let go. To trust my coaches Amanda and Katie to catch me if I were to fall. But I couldn’t trust people. Never, ever would I trust someone with my life, I thought. But I had to. I just.. I had to…
And when I did, I fell. On my head. Hard. It wasn’t enough to make me cry, but it hurt like hell. That, coupled with the fear, made me unable to let go for the rest of our rotation on bars. After bars was beam, coached by Miss Angela. I went out to get a drink and to calm myself, (Which didn’t work) and came in with red eyes and a fake smile.
“What are we doing?” I asked, bouncing over to Angela. All the other girls were already working on something, but everything was different, and I didn’t want to do it wrong.
“ten of everything.” She said, not looking down at me, but staring contently at another gymnast doing a cartwheel.
“Everything?” I asked in partial disbelief. I had t leave early for the roads were bad and my dad was picking me up. I only had a good ten minutes left of the practice and I did not want to waste it doing cartwheels.
“Yeah. Ten cartwheels, ten handstands, half-turns, dismounts..” Angela blinked, taking a good look at me. “Are you crying?”
Yes. “No.” I lied in a very unconvincing matter. When people asked me if I was crying, it only usually made things a lot worse. Nervously, I picked at the cheap $2.00 sparkly purple nail polish on my nails.
“Your eyes are red…are you sure?” She asked.
No. “Yeah.” I didn’t look up at her.
“Was it bars?” She whispered into my ear. I nodded, feeling the tears starting to build up in my eyes. “Fly aways?”
Yes and no. “Yeah.” I responded, not wanting to talk about my trust issues.
“It’s alright; fly aways are hard skills. It’s 99% letting go. Once you let go and trust us that we won’t drop you on your head-” HA! “-you’ll get it. You just need one good time, one good go-around for you to trust us and yourself that you’ll be fine.” Angela hugged me tightly, making the tears spring from my eyes. Right in front of everyone.
“Aww, sweetie, it’s alright. You know how many times Hailey came home crying because she couldn’t let go?” She asked, wiping away my tears. I shook my head but didn’t want to speak. “‘Mom, why can’t I just let go?’” She complained in a high-pitched tone, exactly like her daughter Hailey’s. “You just got to trust us.”
Trust… It was one of those impossible things. Something that no one could teach you. IT was something that was earned over time by hard work, dedication and friendship, three things my life was seriously lacking.
“And if doing back walkovers on the beam is what’s going to make you get back into that, ‘I can do this’, then go do back walkovers.” She said, patting me on the back gently. I choked on tears and then swallowed the growing amount of phlegm in the back of my throat.
“Can I-” I rasped, using my hands to gesture to the door heading out of the gym.
“Leave? Now?” She asked, cocking her head.
“No,” I coughed meekly, “Clean up?”
“Oh. Sure, sure,” She said, hugging me once more. “Go on, wash up-”
I was already gone, running as fast as I could right across the blue carpeted floor loaded with hundreds of springs and out the cold, metal doors. Tears poured down my face my the time I got them open and was out into the hallway.
I got to my locker and threw on my tennis shoes, wiping away tears so I could make it past the body builders and weight lifters. After pushing my way into the bathroom, I picked the available stall and sat on the porcelain eat, waiting for the other person to finish. Once the door shut and the footsteps disappeared, I fell to pieces on the bathroom floor.
I cried because I couldn’t get my stupid fly away. I cried because I couldn’t let go. I cried because I couldn’t trust Coach Amanda or Coach Katie enough, even though they were some of the only people I really considered comrades. I cried because I knew that, because of the recently stated fact, I didn’t really have any true-blue friends. I cried because of the stupid weather and because of practice being canceled and for being stupid and fat.
I looked down at my legs as I sat on the cold, tile bathroom floor. I swatted at my cellulite and cried some more because I was so fat. I cried for every petty girl thing I could think of.
Then I started hating myself. I hated my body shape, my ugly hands, my fat baby cheeks and crooked teeth. I cried because I had no friends and would amount to nothing. It didn’t stop there, though. There were so many stupid, ugly things about me. My teeth weren’t a pretty white, my skin was too light, my eyes lined in purple bags.
After a good, solid who-knows-how-long of crying over those stupid things, I sat there, head cradled in my hands with my eyes closed.
Rap-Rap-Rap. “Hey! Someone in there?” A voice, masculine, called from the other side of the door.
I cursed under my breath. “yeah!” I called out, waiting for the cart to roll on by until it disappeared into white noise. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t feel sorry for myself any longer. That I had to get up, clean up and get out of the bathroom.
I stood up, eyes burning from all the crying and legs numb and wobbly. I took a deep breath and ventured out of the stall and over to the sink and mirror. I looked into the mirror, at myself, my ratty, dirty blonde hair that never cooperated. My fatty, 105 pound body. The stupid black leotard that never fit right. I took a few cautious steps closer, gripping the sink tightly with my hands.
Again, I looked at myself. The first step, I thought, would be my eyes. They were red, swollen and blood-shot. The eyes, in my own personal opinion, were windows to the soul; AKA everyone’s way of seeing that I really wasn’t okay. If I wanted to pass for fine, I had to fix them.
I took a cold, damp paper towel and dabbed my face, careful not to wipe because it would irritate my skin even further, No improvement. A while of fruitless attempts at making myself took presentable went by with nothing to show for.
I sighed, gazing into the mirror. Last, I began trying a method I learned long ago, telling the truth. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It helped me realize that inside, I wasn’t perfect. That I was just like everyone else; an imperfect being that was prone to make mistakes. I wasn’t the only one, I would tell myself. That there were people worse off than me. That I should be grateful that there’s any fat at all on my bones.
“Hello.” I said, listening to the hoarseness of my own voice. I cleared the phlegm from my throat and tried again. “Hello. He-llo. Hey. Hey there, good lookin’.”
“Hello.” Better, much better, I thought. “My name is Alice. I…am…anorexic…sometimes bulimic…I’m fourteen, and admit I have a p-problem…” I sniffed, looking into the mirror. My hands were holding the sink so tightly that my knuckles turned white. Tears stung my eyes.
Rage bubbled up inside of me and I punched the paper towel dispenser with all of my might, thrusting it open. The cover fell to the floor with a loud, metallic thud. I threw the cover at the mirror, shattering it to pieces, three distinct and large protions left unscathed. I cursed aloud, saying every swear I knew, shouting it until I found myself with a piece of glass in my hand.
In that instant, I hated my hair. The color, the shape, texture, everything about it. I rolled the glass in my hand, examining it, before chopping tresses of hair off. After a while, blood started to appear when I grabbed chunks of hair to cut off. I looked at my palm, cut and bleeding. I dropped the glass immediately and crawled onto a clean, glass-free patch of tile and curled into a fetal position and sobbed, clutching my hand in shock and pain.
I was a mess.
After God-knows-how-long, I took some toilet paper and wrapped it around my wound and looked into the mirror. There was some, but not a lot of improvement. Taking my anger out usually resulted like this. I dabbed at my eyes again, this time with better results. I re-did my jagged hair into a pony, bobby-pinning back loose tresses. Smiling, I looked into the mirror once more, for the final time that evening.
“Hello. My name is Alice. I am fourteen years old. I am many things; anorexic, bulimic, emo, stupid, disrespectful, a mess, messed-up, mentally unstable, agnostic and possibly schizophrenic. And I’m okay with that.”
I sighed, frowning. My voice, my manner was convincing. But I couldn’t fool my heart. That, I guess, was something I would have to work on at another time. Time…
Rap-Rap-Rap. “Anyone in there?” The masculine voice called again.
I swung open the door, smiling brightly. “No, but someone was. But she’s gone now. Have a good night.” I said, brushing his shoulder as I flitted past, watching as he gaped at the bathroom. Heck, I would gape a t it too. It looked horrible.
Blood laid splattered on the tile. Glass lay upon the floor. The plastic cover tot eh paper towel dispenser sat in a sink where a mirror was shattered. Chunks of my hair littered the sink and yet I walked out with a smile. I turned on my heel, my smile fading as I looked at the clock. 8:20…
I gasped. 8:20?!?!?
I ran back, past the weightlifters and bodybuilders, the people in another gym doing Zumba and children who ran around the halls like it was a mad-house. As I worked my way into the gym, I pushed past a crowd of people and waved Angela down for a minute. She was half-way across the gym.
“Are you okay?” She mouthed, gesturing with her hands. I nodded, gave her a quick smile and ran out. I turned around and went into my locker, pulled up a pair of jeans and struggled to pull a T-shirt over my head and swung my bag over my shoulder, winter parka in my arms.
“Bye!” Coach Alex called as he left the gym.
“See ya,” I muttered quietly, waiting for him to turn into another gym and then bolted around the corner, up the stairs and into the main lobby that was buzzing with activities. I was nearly crying when I ran outside into the slush, looking up into the sky and watching the snow fall.
I clasped my hands together and started muttering a quiet prayer to myself.
“Oh, please God, please, have mercy, Forgive me for my sins. Do whatever it takes…just please…help me out here!” I called out. I looked out into the driveway for my dad’s beat-up old Subaru, which was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t parked, either. There was no sign of it.
Just as I had begun to smile, the loud, unmistakable sound of my dad’s punctured muffler came into hearing range. I swung my head to see him pulling into the driveway. I nearly jumped up and down as the car came to a stop. I ran through the mush and jumped in, slamming the door behind me.
“Sorry for being late, Alice. Just before I got onto the highway a snowplow pulled in front of me and I couldn’t get around it. It was going so damned slow-” He droned on, but I wasn’t listening anymore.
I looked out the window, watching the snow fall down gently, easing up and finally stopping. Oh, thank God dad got stuck behind that snow plow…
The snow got me thinking. What if the snow was a blessing in disguise? That the snowplow was meant to pull in front of my dad’s car and make him late so I could pull myself together just in the nick of time? Was there really a God watching out for me?
I bowed my head respectfully, smiling as I silently began a very long, very overdue apology.
Lord, thank you for listening. That you for watching over me. My name is Alice. I am anorexic, bulimic, crazy, screwed up, hare-brained, schizophrenic and no longer agnostic or atheist…thank you for that. Thank you for showing me that I have someone watching out for me. I know I have a lot to say, so let me start by saying God, I’m sorry…