Not long ago, when looking for a way to contact my old basketball coach, I found an email address for an old high school acquaintance. I was surprised to find her on my old high school website where she teaches now. She and I had been in the same level in school all the way from junior high to high school. Although we were never good friends, we were always pleasant to each other. There were times I wanted to kill her though (even though she never knew it).
She was the type of person who was good at everything I wanted to be good at. Most of these things I wanted to do well were things that I was pretty good at doing, but that never seemed to be enough. When I went out for the volleyball team in 8th grade there she was, the star setter of the team. When I tried out for hurdles on the track team – there she was fast as lightning, and there I was eating her dust everyday at practice. So, I decided to try out for basketball hoping she wouldn’t be there. You guessed it … she was the star point guard.
Having already given up volleyball and hurdles, I refused to give up basketball. I stuck with it even though I was in her shadow all the way. I did my best and it was enough to stay on the varsity team, but I usually rode the bench. She, however, set school records and was team captain. Somehow none of my accomplishments meant anything because they always paled in comparison to hers.
Years later I heard a quote by Eleanore Roosevelt. It goes something like this: “No one can make you inferior without your consent.” All those years I was the one beating myself up about that fact that she was good at everything and that I sucked at! I had consented to feeling inferior.
I digress though. I meant to talk about the SHE of today.
So, having found her email address I sent a short email asking about our old basketball coach. She replied rather quickly giving me the info I wanted. She also told me a little of what her life is like these days, and asked about my life, work, and family. She had told me that she was married and had one son and one daughter. It was her perfect dream family.
I later replied with some answers to her questions including that I didn’t work, I was married and had seven kids. At the time I had a nephew living with us and explained this to her and then explained how we had adopted a girl and then I also had five of my own.
She replied with what amounted to this: “Wow, you have seven kids!!!! [gasp – I hope it’s not contagious!] That must keep you very busy. [Do you even have a life?!?] Well sorry this is so short – have to get back to work [but you wouldn’t know about that].” That was the last I heard from her.
Did I feel inferior to her again as in days of old??? No way. I realized that who I was (and wasn’t) was who I was happy to be. I had always wanted to be a mother. I was content to have “no life” away from home because home is where I love to be. For the first time in my life I felt I had it better than she did. I had it all!