It's been a while since I've picked up a piece of guard equipment, done a chassé, any kind of leap or even thought about watching any of my old performances. I spent eight and a half years pouring my heart out into winter guard performances with my high school team, with my college team, and with two other independent teams. Many people saw the struggles I faced week by week, month by month and practice by practice.
I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Flashback to a fifteen-year-old eighth grader spinning to Apple Bottom Jeans by T-Pain, trying not to look super awkward when the captains ask her to thrust her hips back and forth in an adult-like fashion. What the heck is she thinking?
Which is what I said to myself because that girl was me. I auditioned for the high school color guard team because my older brother was on the drumline and I made friends with a few of the people that he knew and their younger siblings. Somehow I figured it would be a good idea to do such a thing in high school and not think about the jokes that would get thrown out at me from the rest of the school.
Fast forward eight years later. I'm in a world-class winter guard competing against guards I only see once a year at Winter Guard International Championships. Nervous pooping all day long, waiting for this performance, not knowing if we can pull off one more show with all the hell we've been through all season. So many practices, so much traveling and drama, some laughter, A LOT of exhaustion and questioning myself wondering if I should've just sat out this season. But there I was in the middle of the floor speaking to people through my movements.
After this amazing opportunity, I decided to step down from performing and take a season off. I never thought that I would have the heart to tell myself to quit doing winter guard. No matter how many times I wished it was over throughout my eight seasons,I would do it all again just for the true joy it gave me to have a successful show.
Now, contrary to what some people think, sometimes you have to stop doing what you love in order to get your life back on track, and that's exactly what I'm doing. Now that I'm done with marching season and I'm done doing winter guard for a little while, I can focus on getting the kind of career I want and setting myself up for success. Sometimes I just wish there were three of me. One could work part-time at Smoothie King like I do, one could just spin and perform ALL THE TIME (which means I'd be freaking amazing), and one could job search and prepare for her future.
Unfortunately, what happens when you stop doing what you love are all the things you don't think will happen, like the following: procrastination, laziness, falling to sleep earlier every night, working all day, forgetting to shower, not shaving your legs for days on end because you wear pants to work and that's all you ever do anyways, avoiding all signs of responsibility and of course my favorite, avoiding job searching because you aren't getting any results.
Looks like I have some rough Saturday's up ahead where I'll either attend some competitions to support my friends and regret not spinning this year, or I'll miss some shows and still regret not spinning this year. But honestly, sometimes you just have to make tough decisions and I know that after this season is over, I will be a better person for taking some time off and getting my life together.
Doing what you love can be hard sometimes. But not doing it is even harder.