This week, we are excited to share a Letter from THL Assistant Captain, Brianna Goldberg!
Dear me at 13:
There you are, cowering in the change room at the local skating rink. On the metal benches that pull at your skin-tone leggings, you’re fighting for breath under the lingering cloud of hockey player musk and trying to keep your eyes fixed on your skates. You pull the laces tighter, tighter— possibly too tight.
There is a haze of adolescent girlie chatter billowing around you. Much of it is catty. All of it is dumb. And it’s dizzying and confusing and you can’t quite keep up with what the Skating Girls are talking about.
It’s understandable. They’re all part of the “precision” (read: synchronized) skating team, and you are not. So you’ve missed out on the in-jokes and nick-names they came up with last weekend when they went to a competition and stayed overnight in the motel in glorious Nowheresville.
In a town like the one you’re from, being on this team gives them serious social currency. All the hairsprayed mothers and daughters with their matching sequined sweatshirts get a certain buzz from being a part of a competitive group like that. Though they would never say so out loud, they believe it’s incredibly prestigious. They believe it’s incredibly important. They believe you weren’t good enough to be part of it.
But you know that you never even tried out. You never even wanted to. You were too busy drawing cartoons, and playing softball, and building forts in the backyard with the girl from two doors down.
And so when you show up to skating lessons, in your kinda old and ill-fitting spandex outfits (…Lord help me…), the girls really like to kick their in-group chatter up a notch. Really go out of their way to remind you that you’re not part of something that is really super tops. That you are so not on the team.
As you sit there, wanting both to be part of their clique and at the same time to be left alone, and they go out of their way to laugh louder than when you’re not there, to look like they’re having more fun than when you’re not there…
Do not let them make you feel small. Different. Weird. Like something about you is wrong.
Because, honey, years later, you will be the one with a master’s degree, a great job, and a great man. You will travel the world, reporting on and learning from the most amazing cultures and people. Most nights you’ll phone your amazing parents who have never once doubted you and you’ll tell them all about your journeys. You will be challenged. You will be loved. You will be happy.
All that because you have grown to appreciate that you are a strong and independent individual– not just one of the girls in the synchronized skating line: Powerful in numbers, lost when alone.
And the Skating Girls? Some day they’ll have to leave the precision team. (Sadly, no one can wear sequined spandex forever… shouldn’t anyway…)
And once they’re no longer part of that skate-clad army, rumours about their dropping out of college, melting into breakdowns, struggling to cope with life in your hometown… those stories will be volleyed back and forth around the grocery stores and shopping malls of that old town of yours, perpetuating the icky and never-ending gossip game. One you were tenacious (or uninterested?) enough to walk away from, mid-set.
So stay strong there, as you pull those skate laces tighter.
Some day it’s you who will escape into a great adventure.
And they will have their memories of staying overnight in the Nowheresville Motel.