Yesterday, I put on my lady business suit and black shoes and I went for a proper job interview. This week has been a flurry of activity. It was a bit of a shock because out of self preservation I began submitting my resume everywhere. When I returned home from my competive season this year I was broke. I careened in to the house literally on two wheels. It had been a long adventure. I had been virtually living in Europe training in my race boat for the last many seasons.
I must state that the process of doing this taught me many things. As a person coming from the US one knows that they are going to be on their own making the effort. There were many times this year that I knew that my path had been divinely marked simply because my resources were so limited that survival was a blessing. Then there was the element that I had come for the competition. Competing at a world championship with inadequate resource is a bit of an experience that one does not wish to repeat. It is something that requires a bit of processing. I had been using the susistanance amount the VA granted me for getting injured doing my job to try and fulfill a lifelong dream. It was a way to get some closure I guess for the things I had been through in my life.
During my process in an attempt to do something great I lost sight of many things and then nothing made sense. All I was able to do was survive and train. I had limited food. Paying coaches,water time etc even with the reduced cost and many negeotions made still left me in the hole financially every month. I had done all I could and that was it.
I made it out of the Catalan region of Spain which was quite beautiful on a bike I had acquired from a friend. My gear sits now in her storage shed.
On the ride out of Sort I saw the most beautiful scenery. With my small backpack filled with survival camping gear and a bit of food I began to ride out in the direction of Rota,Spain.
Sometimes, one just must think for a bit. Had I really proved anything? In the worlds eyes a champion must emerge that wins in order to justify such great effort and expense. I had seen reality and I knew that for the American athlete it took more than luck as it had in the past to compete at the level expected. The resources existed for no one and wouldn’t. That was the bottom line. It did not matter who ran the sport organization.
I wondered if this design was faulty as everyone assumed. I then began to contemplate my entire experience. I realized that America was designed to be diffrent for good reason. An athlete from the US I sent supposed to be an ambassador. The experience had indeed taught me this. I had learned how to negeoitate with people of other nations. I had made friends and built relationships. I had to just to have what I needed to race at all. America was not going to just decide to at the eleventh hour change it’s status quo and support the soldier because it was right.
I had done all I could to try and make the vets sport stipend programs function in a fashion that would make this possible. I received much resistance on this and it had not yet occoured.
It was not until I got home and looked on the wall in the room in my fathers home that I recalled a hard learned lesson from the past.
The photo featured was of an award I was given when I finished my training as a US Army parachutist. I had received the William Red king award for excellence. Not many people got this award. It meant I had done an outstanding job. I had gotten my parachutist badge pinned on by a general.
I also recall the day a captain asked me to remove the badge from my uniform. She did this because this was the only way she could think of to explain to me that after I got injured the Army would no longer permit me to jump. This was a very painful and sad day for me because I had worked quite hard and had hoped that maybe I would have the chance to have a carrear in the Army.
Our worst days never make sense to us until later. Between the Paratroopers Creed and the letter that the Army included in my personnel file stateing that I had recieved the award was my bib from worlds and the tassel I hung around my graduation robe from my master’s degree program.
This was hanging on the hook where a plaque had been. The plaque was the plaque that I had been handed by the company commander when the award was given. I gave this to the captain who asked me to remove my parachutist badge. It was sort of my way of trying to put it all behind me I guess.
The thing about this was yesterday this visual provided me with a lesson that allowed me to gain perspective on my present life situation. Because I had been able to let my carrear as a soldier go space was made for something else.
In the time that had passed since I let that life experience go I had traveled a great journey. My bib from the 2014 worlds and my tassel from my graduation robe were symbols of this journey.
Yesterday, was the day I saw reality. Sometimes the fairytale story of the champion gold meadle winner is one that can be told. Other times a diffrent story is one that one tells.
Today I got to experience another chapter as I walked into the office and interviewed for a professional job. This was truly real proof that my concept of transition through sport could actually function.
I had made it home. I was able to use a skill set I had been trained in to get a job. I had refined myself being an athlete to a level where I now had the capability from going from field duty soldier to a professional woman in the world.
This was it. So success does not always look like the model one desires, perfection may only be something that is made up to sell sporting goods. I knew that life was filled with imperfections that were far more valuable to me than the times things had been ideal.