Monday, June 16, 2014

Waking Up From the Nightmare

I feel like some backstory is required before I get into why my post is titled waking up from the nightmare. 
I started playing volleyball in the sixth grade. As soon as I stepped foot on the court my heart lit up. Something inside of me awakened and I knew that on the court was where I belonged.
After my sophomore year of high school and playing on JV, my parents made the sacrifices necessary for me to play club ball. They made it clear to me that I would eat, drink and sleep volleyball. That was an easy bargain for me since I loved it so much. 
I have to be honest, club volleyball is what truly has my heart. Politics came into play WAY too much in high school ball, and while they were still somewhat present in club, because let's be honest, politics are everywhere... It was a minimal presence compared to high school. I loved how much club coaches would work with you, either by building up your mental toughness or pushing you so hard that you felt like you were gonna puke. I honestly miss that. 
I made some amazing friends playing club. 
Carly...two words. Sumo. Wrestling.
Carly was the bestest friend a girl could ask for. We went to the same high school and were blessed to be on the same club team. It was tough that she was a year older than me and she graduated before I did. But I was blessed to form that friendship. With playing club, we knew the amazing players that we were and it was just frustrating that we couldn't bring that back to the high school court. I'm not saying we were the best by any means. But I am saying we were seldom given opportunities to show it. 
The picture lowest to the left cracks me up. I'm not sure my dad realized when he was taking the picture, he was capturing the moment that my coach Michelle was telling me "JJ! Move your a$$!" Michelle lit a huge fire in me. I knew she believed in me, and not only that, that I was worth believing in. She was the one who taught me mental toughness. She taught me that no matter what was happening in my life I can leave that outside of the gym and as soon as I walked through those doors it was just me, the ball, the court and my team. Before each practice and game I would wipe my shoes off on the matts outside the door. I bet to others it would just look like I was wiping the dirt off my shoes, but I wasn't. I was leaving everything outside and focusing in on my passion. The game. 
Outside of the gym, I'd be "Jumbo Jessica", too fat, too slow, whatever. (Which might I add ticks me off because looking at my pictures I wasn't fat! Stupid d-bags for telling me I was, and stupid me for believing them...sorry, I'm STILL frustrated about that). 
In the gym I was at my best. On the court was my safe zone. I once had a coach tell me, "If you don't serve me aces, you don't play." I'm grateful to Michelle for teaching me mental toughness so that I could do what I did best, which actually was to serve aces. You could tell me where to serve the ball and I could get it there easily. I also LOVE digging. But not weenie digs. We're talking the digs that were a result of a serious hit from an amazing hitter from the opposite team, or the kinds of digs where you actually had to dive for the ball. But all in all serving was my specialty.
So this is where my post title comes in. 
It has been at least 7 years since I played volleyball. The last time I played, my big time volleyball crush Mac Wilson showed up. I was dying. He was sooooo hot. Seriously. I had served an ace and said sorry to him, I have no idea why I said sorry. It's what I do when I'm uncomfortable and his response was, "What are you sorry for? Serving aces?" Swoon. 
Anyways, so It's been 7 years. I've gained a lot of weight in those years due to having kids, depression, emotional eating and turning to food to make me feel better. Every so often, about twice a month. I'd have a dream that I'm back on the court, playing the game that I so deeply love, except I'm at the weight I am now. I can't move fast enough to get the ball. And worse than that, I try to serve and either can't get it over the net, swing with all my might and it doesn't go anywhere, or my toss is bad. I literally wake up with my heart racing in a cold sweat like I would if I was having a nightmare. Which to me, I was.
On Saturday one of my girls at work found a volleyball under her bed and brought it outside. Once I got my hands on it, I kid you not, my heart started to beat faster, either with excitement or nerves. 
I started to toss it in the air like I would for a serve. The first couple tosses were ugly. But then, it clicked and my tosses were back to normal. I tried to serve. It was awesome! It would've totally cleared the net if there was one up. And it was powerful. It wasn't near as powerful as they used to be. But that's why we practice. 
My heart skipped a beat. I'm sure I was smiling ear to ear. I proved the nightmare wrong. I could still do it. I'm waaaaayyyyyy slower than I was before. But when I lose the weight that's making me that out! 
Now I just gotta find me a team. :) 
This experience helped me to realize that yes I am a lot bigger than I used to be. But I still have the heart of an athlete. I still have the same abilities and I'm much more capable than I realize. It's time to wake up. JJ is still in there. She always has been. And she's back. And I LOVE it. 
I loved these quotes. The one on the left just speaks to me. I am competing against the me I am now to get to where I want to be. And I like a healthy competition. 
My work will be doing a 5K soon so I'm starting the C25K program. I'll have to walk a lot. I know it WILL hurt. But I also know that it will be worth it.


  1. Love it! This is just the best. I feel like I'm reading about my twin sister and I. Two girls who had a passion for volleyball in high school and never really got much of an opportunity unless it was doing club. Those were the days and I miss them! Thanks for writing this!!

  2. I am so proud of you. I cannot wait to see you succeed! Miss you!

  3. You go girl!!! How awesome to still have that fire!!

  4. I loved getting to know this side of you Jessica! Thank you for sharing your touching story. YOU CAN DO IT! XO

  5. I don't think I ever got to know this side of you. The love of the game is something we have in common and for me it's not just that i'm out of shape but finding the time while working hard to provide for my family. You have inspired me to push harder and to find the balance I need to do the things I need to do and what I want to do for me. Thanks, Jess.