You are not my self-healing mat. I am not an Exacto knife, sharp and always knowing the way through. I apparently need to be more soft, less Great-Wall-of China, burning arrow hurling b----. A bit less on defense all the time.
Is it my fault? Was I like this on my first birthday, in that 1985 McDonald’s play ground, shoving my little sailor-outfit way to the teeter-tooter with a particular monster’s image on it? Did Emile skin his knee because of me? Was Caroline crying because I got cake first? When I think about it, of course, I can’t remember. Thought I've heard some stories, and I know my family history and I almost see the need I've inherited. Protect yourself, from men especially. That is a long story for another day. Back to today...
But I do remember plenty of days of playing defense: First in some Fauquier Country Parks and Rec outfield on the Purple People Eaters softball team. Then when Daddy Dave was the coach of our first County League soccer team. Then on the Fauquier Magic, I was the tallest & strongest, the stopper with a reputation (or so I believed). I was the “biggest” is what they used to say. These days that’s portioned out to mean big hair, big feet, big dreams of a softer, sweeter steffi.
Then in high school oH, the gLory daYs, when I was the leader of the field hockey pack, a graduating senior squad with 11 women, aLL sTrong and TouGh. And I was most certainly not the toughest of them all (insert photo of Ashley Sides, Liz Edrington, or Alex “Big Bopper” Skoglund). However, I was certainly the individual who centered and focused our squad. I was their “Rock,” their Protector and Defender. Not that I chose that role, I just naturally slid into it. I was a freshman when I joined to Varsity squad, to watch Stacey Svitako like a hawk and BE like her. She was strong and soft. She was swift and mighty. She was the perfect balance. But I was still me after that season.
Let’s make what could be a LONG story short: I eventually ended up being a leader among the fabulous women of my year. We were strong together, but individually, I was their Great Defender. I was their “Rock” and I was the one who was the last line of defense. So this role is a role I know well, and naturally knew how to be successful at. It has been a long time coming, now, relearning this story of self, trying not to always operate from that place. Trying to remember this life is not about scoring goals or protecting a goal. Trying to remember, everyday, day in and day out that I am not the sculpture made of rocks I once had displayed in my locker, made for me by some teammates. Not a joke.
So you, you aren’t my self-healing mat that I slice into with my Exacto knife. But you understand, that’s something I’m learning. I don’t come from a life that has sculpted me to be that way. I come from the defense squad; I’m the captain and the MVP of that team. But I love you, and for the sake of you and I, I am throwing in the towel, disarming, rising above the analogy of me versus you. Taking flight into the existence that is beyond what I know, incorporating who I am and where I came from, but changing my posture to a softer, sweeter, Steffi.