I woke up this morning and my first thought was, "Today I will start writing blog posts again. Right after I pee."
I've been away from writing for over a year now and I told myself that it was time to get over this creative block. Like many other unfortunate things that have happened over the past year, I blame COVID. The whole scenario was so unbelievable at first. I mean, in all of your days, did you ever consider that you would be experiencing a worldwide pandemic? Of course not. This stuff only happens to other people or
on the big screen. Like many others, I was scared. Even considering that this might be the end of the world. So, I hunkered down and did what I was told to do. I only bought the allotted amount of toilet paper when I could find it, wore my mask in public, and sheltered in place. And although I did not believe I'd had any adverse effects to the lockdown, perhaps there was a small part of me that realized the abnormality of the situation and said in my head, "This doesn't feel good. It's almost 2 pm. Let's have a drink."
The increase in my alcohol consumption should have been a tell-tale sign that something was amiss. But most times drinking was was fun and stress-free and paired so comfortingly with all the pasta, chicken wings, homemade bread, and desserts that seemed to find their way into our weekly meal plan. I even tried to convince myself that a glass of red wine a day was good because it purportedly helped to lower cholesterol which has been a goal of mine for years. I thought that two glasses of wine was acceptable because my husband sometimes poured his glass after I'd finished my first and I didn't want him to drink alone. I told myself that three glasses were the right amount to get my creative juices flowing and words of eloquent phrasing would just pour out of me. I mean, Ernest Hemingway found prose in a bottle, maybe I could too? (I hoped.) Finally, I easily convinced myself to have the fourth glass. By this time, the bottle was empty and I had urges of napping on the floor. Literally drinking myself under the writing-table.
I heard that Taylor Swift wrote and produced two whole albums during the chaos of 2020. Margaret Atwood published another book of poems. And the Desert X AlUla art installations went up in Saudi Arabia without a hitch. Some people thrived and used the new-found time on their hands to create, inform and move people. I couldn't do it. I couldn't find the productivity button last year to simply write a re-telling of a story I'd heard. I struggled to put fingers to keyboard for a long time even well after the time that tennis became socially acceptable again. But my cholesterol levels are probably healthier than theirs.
So, why the sudden turn around today? It's probably because my teams are headed to USTA State Championships again! I have very fond memories of our tournament run in 2018. The days were hot and blistering - filled with grueling but exciting matches. But the nights were all about laughing, singing, and dancing with my teammates and sister teams. (We shared the same coach.)
One night we found ourselves gathered around tables in the hotel's dining area. We decided to play a little game called, "Tell Me Something About Yourself That Hardly Anyone Knows." Ah yes. There's nothing more titillating than learning about someone's nitty-gritty. And that night, we heard some doozies! Like the one about H who told us that her real first name is "America" and her parents partied with likes of Woodstock concert performers of 1969. I don't know how old she is but it made me think...was she actually conceived under a warm blanket on a cold night near the Catskills? And then there was the one H ( a different H) told us about a time during her vacation in Florida when her next-door hotel neighbor mistook her and her husband's "intimate time" as a session of jump-roping in the middle of the night!
I was sitting next to my friend, M, who whispered to me that she could not think of anything about herself that was as interesting as what everyone else was sharing. I was having my own struggle trying to think of something about myself. Was it difficult because I'm such an open book and my friends know most things about me already? Or is my life so dull and boring that I couldn't think of a single thing to contribute to the game? Or was I freezing up because I was being put on the spot? Or am I actually so unwilling to share details of my life for fear of feeling vulnerable and judged because the thought of putting myself on display in front of a group of "acquaintances" makes me feel naked and alone and longing to be back in my mother's womb? (Wow....how's that for sharing?!) I'm going to say it was because my life is boring.
Going counter-clockwise around the circle, "M" would be up to tell her story before me, so we decided we would just make up a tidbit she could offer but something so outrageous that it would give us all a big laugh. We tossed around a few ideas making ourselves hysterical in the process and concocted a great story for her to tell then clanked our beer cans together in agreement.
"Ok. Who's next?" I asked with enthusiasm, acting as if I was the game show host who didn't have a dull life. "M, whatcha got?"
She placed her beer gently on the table and said, "I was a lesbian in college."
Gasps. Hands quickly covered mouths and eyes grew wide. They believed her and were dumb-struck. We all know M as a proud mom married to her male husband of decades who helped her make their babies. Sexual experimentation?! This was good stuff! M played it well explaining that it was one of those things that "just happened." My ill-timed sitcom spit-take, forcing me to spew a mouthful of Mich Ultra over my shoulder broke the silence but unfortunately only helped to punctuate the moment that M was sharing an unbelievable secret with us. She looked at me and said, "That doesn't help!" And to the group, she said, "Belinda and I just made that up because we couldn't think of anything interesting to say!"
Everyone laughed and acknowledged that it was a joke. Admitting that they'd been fooled and fooled good! But I often wonder...do they still wonder? So, to be clear and because I still feel like I owe it to my friend that the truth be told...
M was NOT a lesbian in college.
Off to State we go! I hope you'll continue to follow my blog as my team has another go at the championship and I have another try, however inconsistent I am with entering my posts, at passing on the stories I hear from ladies who tennis.
Here's to tennis in 2021!