it wasn’t like a light went out. or a light sparkled in the sky for her. it was like everything alive she became a piece of. everything moving around me had a speck of her in it. courtney and i had a close relationship as cousins go. in high school we moved into her house so she became like a sister to me; incidentally right between my younger sister Jen and i age-wise. i remember all the things she was into that i was not. she was so worldly and doing things i hadn’t even heard of yet. she always towered over me and with her long blonde hair, much like my sisters, she was also sort of a mystery to me. i remember her socks–it seemed to be the cool thing in arizona to pull those tall tube socks straight up to your knees. coming from massachusetts i just didn’t understand. it was so hot, why would you want the extra fabric on your legs?
we used to rollerblade on the smooth sidewalks and unsalted/pebbled roads to the gas station and buy pints of ben & jerrys ice cream. we’d sit right there outside the gas station and eat the entire thing. courtney always seemed carefree although i knew there was a complex girl underneath. i caught glimpses here and there of how she managed her perception of control of her life and the pain she felt.
and after we moved back across the country i heard through the family channels of her ventures and use of heroin. i don’t feel the need to paint a picture of the perfect human being that courtney was. because i want to remember her for exactly who she was–at least through my eyes. none of us are without our issues. and she was fantastic–her experiences made her that way. despite her struggle with who she was (maybe?), with drugs, with cutting…a few years back i remember her sharing with me her story. of how she hit rock bottom homeless in alaska and had gotten clean; the struggle and the decision she made every single day from then on to stay straight. she made a really hard decision to move to the-middle-of-nowhere missouri, where drugs were much harder to come by. there she started a family of her own, marrying this sweet, really down-to-earth guy, josh.
the last several years she’s been there for me when i’ve needed her; helping me make some hard choices of my own. more recently when my sister got into a motorcycle accident five months ago, courtney flew to arizona and was a huge support to me in facing the driver of the motorcycle, who was heavily intoxicated, when i decided to find out from him what happened.
courtneys accident eerily mirrored that of my sisters; i think it was easy to get caught up in the “she’ll be ok” mentality after my sister survived odds not in her favor. when i first heard she was air lifted i don’t think i truly believed it; i didn’t believe her accident could have possibly been similar to my sisters–both passengers in the vehicle; both without safety gear; both with intoxicated drivers; both with a traumatic brain injury, neck fractures, etc. i guess maybe i didn’t believe it because such a small family as ours experiencing that level of accident didn’t seem possible.
i think back to hearing my aunt (courtneys mum) talking about how much she wanted children and telling me the story of adopting baby courtney. i can’t possibly imagine or understand what my aunt and uncle are going through right now. but i can say that i feel courtney all around me. her young life has come to close tonight but her spirit lives on–i saw it on the beach this afternoon as i gathered all the energy, love, metta, and prayers worldwide and sent them directly to her. when i opened my eyes an hour later i saw this big poodle bounding down the beach in such happiness and saw that speck of courtney in that dog. she is lived on by her daughters and her husband, and she is lived on through everything that moves in front of me.
i pulled back the shower curtain and turned the water on all the way, letting the cold water fill up a 5 gallon bucket we used to flush our toilet. we were in a “stage 1 drought” which basically meant we had to be careful so that in x amount of years ahead we weren’t without…hahah, as if that was a graspable concept to people. it certainly wasn’t to me. but as i turned the water down a tad from boiling hot and stepped in, i started enjoying every second of it…because soon, i would be taking cold bucket showers. time was creeping up like a red sox fastball; every day seemed to have filled up with “stuff” to do/stuff to take care of. my partner and i were moving to africa. haha, it sounds so simple, like, “hey, we’re moving across town” when you write it in a blog…but wow! we are stoked and crazy busy. so much to do and so many things to cherish.
after i left my warm yummy shower where i didn’t have to worry about dirty washwater touching my newly squeaked body or if there was a creepy crawly on my towel, i dried off and turned on the fan to get rid of the steam. all these little pleasures; all these privileges. soon i would be without; i would be living as most of the world does. i am excited. i am not nervous but maybe that will come. what scares me most is thinking about all the nastiness my body (especially intestines) will have to go through. my body has always been a rock. i rarely get sick, any issues are usually somewhat self induced (poor diet, etc.), and so now i’m terrified of malaria carrying mosques, poop chillaxin water, and all the other wonderful things that my very white (and incidentally dry) body will face. i am no stranger to food poisoning and so i imagine the nights (days 😦 ) spent on the concrete cylinder outside kicking away spiders with a bucket in front of me too….oh geezum.
well on that note, i think i’ll go to bed but want to wrap up with the original intent of this post which was me trying to appreciate all the niceties i have, i own, and i have the privilege to do without thinking about. my warm bed right now doesn’t have a mosquito net around it meaning nighttime pees will be very easy, and my clothes are soft from being dried in a machine with a dryer sheet. to top it off i have a lovely sailor jerry on the rox next to me…the ice cubes were made in a machine from clean water that i didn’t have to chlorinate or boil for 10 minutes (although the city of santa cruz most likely did some of the chlorinating for me).
wow! they come out when i’m under pressure. it’s like i forget everything i’ve been taught! all we did is try (as jammer) to get through two blockers and i felt all anxious…why?? and then at one point i took a digger and grabbed the girl next to me! why?? that’s like the first rule, don’t bring anyone else down–fall small! ahhhh. i need to figure out how to break these reactive habits! at one point i had to slow down and dragged my toe stop!! ahhhhhh. that’s like asking for a broken ankle and probably leg too. i also forgot my derby stance so i was a freaking leaning tower of piza as a target–oh wait, i’m 5’2 but you get my meaning.
geezum, lots of exclamation points and ahhhhs in this post but it’s really frustrating. i feel like i’m working on something and doing well but it’s because i’m not being pushed or under pressure. maybe my name should be pressure cooker after all…
okay, i’m going to post an update after i got skating this afternoon with a rad derby guru who is going to force me to challenge myself!
so there comes a time (i’m completely assuming here) when you stop counting how many times you’ve fallen. at first, i was like, oooh yesss didn’t fall today. because that translates to “i didn’t hurt my tailbone again today” or even “i didn’t break anything today” since we already have like 4 or 5 people out due to injury. anyway, at some point in the past week or so, i just stopped counting…like, i don’t even notice anymore. i assume this is a normal phenomenon. as long as you don’t fall really badly to remember, you kind of block it out. or all the falls just mush in together.
tonight in bootcamp i fell twice in a pace line–once i was able to fall to the side and get up fast and jump back in with only two girls passing me. the other time i feel like i freakin took the whole line out! i could see girls that were behind me go way to the outside to avoid me and the other two girls who fell at the same time–and i don’t even know if i did it! i just wrecked and probably brought at least one of them down with me accidentally! sigh. i guess i just gotta keep practicing. and no, i didn’t fall only twice today–i lost count.
okay, not all of them. but i did it. i caught a whiff and couldn’t handle it. so in went my wrist guards and elbow pads…into a cold wash and a low/tumble after. funny, i took them out and although i didn’t catch any hint of dank, i did get a big noseful of the deodorant i’ve been using on my arms prior to putting on the pads. which, i might add, is exactly how they smelled (prior to the random queff (sp?) of nastiness i got for like a second) before i washed them. soooo, what this little experiment tells me is that washing them may or may not have done anything hahaha. i guess at the very least they have some of the salt rinsed out…maybe i should keep doing it. people have mentioned that they can start deteriorating the padding but if you wash it on cold and dry it on fluff then shouldn’t it be fine?
all thoughts on this dank matter are highly encouraged. spanks.
wow. there’s so much to learn. even tooling around in a parking lot tonight was hard–had to rack my brain and think about what to practice. and of course my brain already blocked out all the things i didn’t want to practice because i’m not very good at them and/or they scare me. like…jumping from side to side–i’m much better at turning backwards to go to the side haha. AND i have to trust the process, that learning the stuff i’m not good at (vs. the stuff i’m naturally better at) will be helpful in a bout. and i know it will be. it’s just my own mental blockage when thinking about how much i have to learn!
i went to a scrimmage last week and holy crap! little did they know that when another bootcamper and i were leaving we were like “peace out forever!” no, just kidding. but damn. do i have it in me? some of the others keep saying i’m doing great but it’s just a supportive sport like that–which is one of the best things about it!
anyway, i guess i’ll just keep trying and keep skating. i have them on right now actually, rolling around under the table 🙂