Monday, February 2, 2009

family: its all we got.

I remember each state we lived in as a family, by various events or circumstances that taught me something (and I still live by those very lessons to this day).

Alaska was a bright time. a clear, fresh time of sheer adventure and mischief. My favorite thing in the world was pillaging our neighbors strawberry garden in the summer, and following moose-tracks into the frozen white wilderness in the winter.
I had two (count em) two best friends. Marli and Sandra (those names became like one name in my sentences, like "I'm going to marliansandras! ) They were the daughters of a vietnamese princess (or so i was told) who moved to alaska and lived across the street. They had one older brother named benjamin, who lived his life to torture me (i couldn't find my bike for an entire winter, because ben hid it so deep in the snow. I didn't see my bike until well into spring.)

Marliansandra were my bestests, and I could always count on them to have the most extravagant adventures with. And maybe it was because their mom still had a thick vietnamese accent, and slurped noodles with chopsticks, but going to their house always seemed exotic. We were able to eat sugar cereals (the ones that came in individual size boxes, and didn't even need a bowl! you just opened the little box, and poured the milk right in. I have never seen such luxury in all my days.)
I attribute much of my love of culture and ethnicity to marliansandra, and even benjamin, who always ended up apologizing for his misdoings.

Cody Wyoming. I remember pulling up to our house for the first time ("the parsonage") and repeating the phrase "ihatewyoming.ihatewyoming.ihatewyoming" over and over. Maybe it was because of the skeletol landscape, or the small town miles from real civilization, or maybe it was because my little soul knew of things to come. maybe my words cursed our time in that barren place, but all i know is, wyoming holds a place in my heart, a place reserved for things that have been horrendously hard, but have taught me alot, and given me hope for life and people and love and beauty.

Wyoming was windy. And our house, situated between a valley and a large hill acted like a punching bag for all that crazy wind. maybe we were in a wind funnel, or maybe it was Gods breath trying to blow us away from the things he knew were going to break us.

I couldn't sleep. I just knew our house was going to blow over, and we would all die awful, windy deaths. I had visions of the house caving in, and each member of my family blowing away into that barren wasteland that is Wyoming, never to be seen again. I told my mom this fear. my poor mom, trying to homeschool all three girls, while trying to remain afloat spiritually in a place where christ is stifled. I told my poor tired mom how i thought we were all going to be swept away from each other into the black windy night, and our house would be seen rolling through the fields. and this was my moms reply:

"Candyce, do you see those cows" (we were passing one of a billion fields full of livestock)
"yes" i said.
"well, have you ever seen one of them blow over?"
"exactly. if the cows don't blow away from all this wind, neither will our house, and neither will you. but, if you see a cow blown over, tell me, cause then we got something to worry about."

And at that moment, my fear was gone. and that wonderful beautiful logic that only a child would understand. it truly soothed me. and our house never blew away, and neither did I. Thanks mom.

And then there's Auburn. When I think of Auburn california, I immediately conjure images of sunshine, pools, and punk rock shows. Auburn is where I first began to realize i was a total loser (Thank you christian school) and totally cool at the same time. I attended a christian jr. high school my 6th grade year, and that was the year i developed an extreme dislike for mean christian girls. they were out to get me, and to this day, i have no idea why. But at church, I was a rock star. My two older sisters we in a punk rock band, and that made me awesome in my circle of friends. there was even talk about me and a few of the older boys forming a band of our own...

It really was like living two seperate lives. At school, my only friend was a japanese exchange student, i ALWAYS got chosen last for sports, and my teacher told me in front of the whole class, that I should be better, simply because I was a pastors daughter. But church saved me (socially, that is). To this day, I am extremely OK with being a loser, because I know there are always people who enjoy me, and think i am great.

And then Sisters Oregon. Sisters was a small, dysfunctional town. But at the time, the "hangar" (an actual empty airplane hangar, the meeting place of the towns one youth group) was totally happening. My sister and I (the oldest was in SoCal for college) thought maybe we found our niche. Everyone seemed so alive, and ready to praise the Lord! at least, at the hangar they did. My freshman year, I started attending public school for the first time. There are so many myths in the homeschool community, and the most popular at the time was that public school was, quite literally, from the devil. The stories of drugs, and sex and teenagers not going to church all loomed on my horizon that first day. But, despite the stories, I ended up liking my time in public school. It was in public school I learned that i can, in fact, be friends with non-christians (they were nicer most of the time anyway) and that i have a very real dislike for drama (not the class, i loved drama class) but actual ridiculous teenage drama.

The summer of my junior year, my parents moved us to Homer, Alaska. It was a potential job opportunity for my dad, and so to check it out, we lived there for an entire summer.
It was amazing. The fishing, the hiking, making new friends, being able to breathe again, outdoor adventures... it was all coming back. I still look back on that summer as one of the best summer so my life. and it got me ready for Portland.

As a family, we heard from God that we were not supposed to live in homer, or sisters, but instead head to Portland. and we did.

It was in Portland that I attended my 3rd and final high school, where I skipped my own graduation, had about 30 different jobs, learned to love the rain, lived in apartments, and started to see God like he really is.
It was living in Portland that I started to have a real thirst for truth and experience. Portland was like a time set aside for me, to process that which had already gone on in my short life. And in that time, I decided a few things:

1. I am done with phonies.

2. I know God is bigger than what I have previously been told or shown.

3. I need Christ/adventure

And to this day, I live by that. I wish so much that I could recount every story, every church, home, pet and adopted brother we had throughout the strannigan life. I wish i could describe in detail, every person who ever taught me something, whether they did it meanly, or in kindness. There are so many old stories, but my oldest, most secret story happened when i was so young. I was probably around 4, but it remains with me to this day.

I dont even remember where we lived at the time (presumably Citrus Heights, cause thats where i was born) and I dont remember being with the whole family. I am sure there were there, i just dont remember them there. I remember being with my mom, and we were at an amusement park, most likely sea world or something similar. I was always the kind of kid to wander off, not on purpose but because when something catches my attention, i need to see it closely, to figure it out. well, I wandered off, and the picture in my mind is grey and it looks like it is turning to dusk with menacing clouds in the sky.

There was a ball pit for tired mothers to take their little kids to, where the kids can just play their hearts out and the moms can relax. I was at the ball pit, but it wasn't a normal ball pit. it was shaped like a huge, sad whale. like monstro from penocchio. I remember coming out of the ball pit, and realizing I had not told my mom I was going to be in there. It was just me, and the gigantic sad whale looming over me. At that moment, I just knew I was alone. My mom was gone. My family no where to be seen. I was going to have to take care of myself, and I was terrified.

Looking back, its not such a scary memory. but i remember the feeling of utter lonliness. like i would never have help again in my entire life. like i was truly going to have to live this life alone. just me and the whale. I had already planned to stay buried under all those colorful balls for the night, when out of no-where, my mom scooped me up, and said "there you are!" Oh sweet relief! How close I felt to being alone!

My mom assured me (not in words necessarily) that I was never alone. even if she had never found me, and I lived the rest of my days in that whaley ball pit, I still was not alone. Christ is with me, like he is with you.
Its the story of my life. From Wyoming, to Auburn, from Sisters to Portland, I have never been alone. I have the most incredible family of all time, and we have been through hell and back together, and even on top of that, we have Christ.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sarah the dinosaur (the one with three horns)

Sometimes I look back, I and I fool myself into believing that I was a normal child. And then I remember Sarah.

Growing up, I remember being frusterated alot, and not ever really knowing why. Numerous people in my life describe me as someone who "does not view the world around her like other people do." which, essentially means that i process things far differently than most, and which also includes how i deal with situations/problems/circumstances.
As an angsty child, my favorite movie was Land Before Time. A heroic tale of baby dinosaurs who colaborate together to overcome terrible circumstances and find the good land, full of delicious tree-stars and waterfalls, and where they will find their families that they were seperated from during some large earth quakes, or something. It was a story of hope, friendship and perserverance. Of all the baby dinosaurs, there was pee-tree (ter-oh-dac-tile) ducky (something with a bill) spike (the kind with spikes) little-foot (plee-see-oh-sor-us) and the best, Sarah (the one with three horns).
Oh man, i related with sarah. chubby, angsty, misunderstood, and devilishly clever. Sarah would stomp around, spouting her opinions, bossing the other baby dinosaurs around, and they listened! Sarah was strong and independent, but secretly, Sarah was sad. she wasn't really mean! it was all a mask, to hide her vulnerability. and i loved sarah.
so, i became sarah. I am not sure the exact length of time, but for a good long while, i refused to walk upright, refused to eat anthything but tree-stars (lettuce) and head butted everything within reach (including my sunday school teachers bottom, which was uncomfortably squishy, which should have been punishment enough, but i still got sent to the corner for 10 minutes anyway.)
Oh those were the days. Sarah gave me an excuse to be sassy. she gave me an excuse to be angry (she was misunderstood, after all) But sarah was not happy. I dont know when it happened exactly, but sarah dissappeared.
I am no sure why or how, but after awhile, I was bored of sarah. Come to think of it, i probably just got tired of being confined by one single character in a dinosaur movie. I am far more complex than that, but to this day, whether I am in africa, india, america or Azerbaijan, sometimes I get the notion that i am alot like a bossy, clever, independant yet sercretly vulnerable, baby dinosaur named sarah.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

pinball or pop-corn.

I remember stepping off the airplane and into a whole new world.

It was the Anchorage airport, and there were giant stuffed grizzly bears in the hallways that stood towering above you as you walked to get get your luggage. It was so unlike anything I had ever known.

My first impression of it all was that it was freezing. It was late at night and when we finally stepped outside I was shocked. The cold was startling and bone-chilling, and it took my breath away. I can't say that you ever get used to that kind of cold.

It was all very overwhelming; we were all in uncharted territory. I didn't know what to expect, I just knew this was my new home. I didn't question it - we had prayed about it as a family - and this is what we were supposed to do. But that didn't ease my sense of terror as I stood in the dark and in the cold that night. I was really, truly scared.

We were picked up from the airport in a limosine. I don't believe I'd ever ridden in a limo before, let alone get picked up from the airport in one. One of the elder's wives was there to greet us and she was wearing fur. A large, brown fluffy fur coat. It was so decadent and strangely mesmerizing, I wanted to touch the coat or hug her just to see if it was as soft as it looked.

We said our hello's and made our introductions to the few church folk that came out to greet us that night. This part is all fuzzy to me. I just remember there were people and they were happy and I was ready to crawl into a warm bed.

The limo delivered us to our apartment. Well, it wasn't OUR apartment, but it was the apartment we would be staying at temporarily. The place belonged to a woman in the church and she was out of town for a while, so she graciously let us stay while we looked for a place of our own. We were glorified house-sitters, I suppose.

Looking back, I doubt the apartment was anything all. But to me, it was all new and glorious. It was two stories with new carpet and everything seemed so pristine. And...they had a pinball machine! The pinball machine was rigged so that you could keep recycling the same quarters over and over again - so essentially, it was all the free pinball you could play. I always felt conflicted about playing pinball, however, because the machine itself was somewhat crude. There were strippers on poles (in bikinis) that would spin around the pole whenever you shot the pinball into some special hole. I hated the strippers and really felt like I should not be allowed to play such a great game on such an awful machine. It was such a conflict for me! In the end, I think my sense of entertainment won out and I just played a lot of ping pong.

But in the back of my head I always felt strangely guilty. I knew I shouldn't be having fun on such a machine.

But mostly, I always questioned the lady who owned the apartment. Did she care that a pastor and his wife and 3 daughters were going to live in her apartment and see her dirty pinball machine? Didn't it bother her? Why didn't she hide it?

I have no idea if she ever felt weird about her pinball machine and its encounters with three young pastors daughters. Honestly, she probably didn't give it a second thought. And to tell you the truth, the game probably wasn't all that raunchy. But I was eight and we'd just moved to the wilderness and that pinball machine was a great distraction. It was either pinball or calling "POP-CORN" for the time which got really boring after 5 times or so. I mean, really, how many times can one call and hear a recording tell you what time it is? Its really not that interesting.

And such were my first days in Anchorage, Alaska.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

milk and coke.

when we were kids, we used to drink milk and coke and thought it was the coolest thing. lindsay justified it by saying that it tasted like a watered-down milkshake, but secretly we all knew better. it tasted like milky coke, which still kindof tasted like coke, which tasted like sugar, which tasted wonderful. we would make it in large plastic cups, and drink it until our stomaches hurt. in all of my memories of drinking milk and coke, i never remember my parents involvement. i don't think they knew that we did it, but i think candyce came up with the idea and then i told lindsay that this was how everybody drank it in the south.
looking back, milk and coke seriously does not taste good but we didn't know enough back then and now we do.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

the promised land.

There is really no graceful way to transition from an awkward home-schooled Junior High girl to a private-schooled social butterfly High School Queen. I have no idea how I pulled it off, honestly.

I showed up in Auburn, California, without a clue. I'd recently given up broom skirts and cowboy boots and was trying to embrace the California fashions. It was the early nineties, so baggy black jeans, white t shirts, and a flannel tied around my waist seemed to work nicely. Unfortunately for me, the only white T Shirts I had were ones I had inherited from various church retreats and camps; each complete with some scripture reference and tacky modernized "fish" symbol. It was bad, but I didn't know any better.

We moved to Auburn for small and struggling church. My dad was to take over and work his magic; he was good at bringing life into small, sad churches.

While we looked for a place to rent, we stayed with a family from the church. They were the Ralston family, and they were very very wealthy. There was plenty of room for us- and they were thrilled to take us in. I hadn't experienced such luxury in a long time. They had a dog! And a pool! And 4 wheelers! And guitars! And boats! And a DODGE VIPER. We took to them instantly; our families just clicked. They showered us with love and attention, and we welcomed their generosity with open arms. It was a far cry from the emotional wasteland of Cody, Wyoming. I believed we'd reached the Promised Land.

The had one son, Josh, who was a year younger than I. Josh and I bonded over our love for the movie, Forrest Gump, and Josh did the BEST Jenny impression I'd ever heard. We watched that movie every night for two weeks straight and we loved it more with each viewing. Josh and I got along royally, and I think he was the main conduit in my de-Wyomingification. He, too, wore white church T Shirts with fish emblems. We were like peas and carrots, me and Josh.

The time came for the Ralston family vacation. Apparently the Ralstons were known for their decadent vacations and every year Josh was allowed to bring one friend. For years, it had been the same friend. Josh would always bring his childhood best friend, Amber. But this year, he changed his mind. Amber was old news, and apparently I was the new best friend. Josh picked me! I was going to Disneyland with the Ralstons!

We loaded up their large RV and took an extended trip to the Magic Kingdom in Anaheim, CA. We stayed in the Disneyland Hotel, had breakfast with the "stars", and had 3 day passes to the park. They paid for absolutely EVERYTHING, including souvenirs, snacks, and embroidered Mickey hats. I was in heaven.

Vicki, the mom, was a woman who liked to shop. She drug me into all the expensive Disney boutiques and made me watch her try on jewelry, hats, and other trinkets. Nothing really caught her eye until she saw THAT necklace. The small, silver, sparkly diamond necklace in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head. She was in love, she had to have it. And, it just goes without saying that she needed the matching earrings as well. I don't recall the exact price of the Mickey jewels, though I do know it was more than I was comfortable with. I didn't understand this way of life.

All was well in our Disney paradise until that evening. We heard a shriek from the RV bathroom. "JOSH! LINDSAY! WHERE IS MY NECKLACE???" I didn't know Vicki well at the time, but this sounded bad. "OHMYGOSHHHHHH WHERE IS MY NECKLACE? JOSH! AHHHHH! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH IT? I LEFT IT RIGHT HERE! FIND IT! RIGHT NOW!". What followed was a frantic search for the missing Mickey necklace. We were on our hands and knees, we were nervous, we were scared. We had to find that necklace. Every minute that passed without the necklace, she became more infuriated. She stood in the corner of the RV and lorded over us with arms crossed, acrylic nails tapping impatiently, and a scowl that was permanently etched into her chubby cheeks.

I was at my wit's end. We searched high and low for an hour, with no sign of the Mickey head. Just then, a quiet voice came from the back of the RV.

"Oh, well here it is. In my pocket all along."

And that was it. No apology was ever given, no sympathy for our fruitless efforts. She simply put on the necklace and went about her day.

I, however, did not recover so easily. I had seen a side of that woman that I'd never seen before. She was angry, she was mean, and I lived in fear of her. But, like it or not, she was in my life. In fact, she was in my life a lot more than I bargained for the next couple years. She was my youth pastor.

That was not the last time I heard an outburst from Vicki; there were many more. They were always unwarranted, and most of the time unexpected. She was a miserable woman who was hell-bent on ruining my life. And I will admit that for 2 years, she did a pretty damn good job at that. Disneyland was simply the beginning. This was not the promised land I'd envisioned. It was a whole new wasteland, it just had a different face. The wasteland of Auburn, California, was sneakier and more subtle. It just took awhile to figure out how ugly it really was.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


i remember the day we drove four hours in our dodge caravan that smelled of old tuna sandwiches stuffed into crevices to get to billings montanta, the closest mecca of civilization to wyoming and home of our first experiences with costco. man, we loved costco. we would always beg my dad to get one of those huge orange flat carts to push around so we could ride in style while keeping an eye out for the next old sample lady to ambush. but we always got the normal carts for normal families and got our boring old groceries in bulky bulk to last us the next several months until we could get to billings again.
this trip, however, was was near the beginning of our stay in wyoming, and dad was about to make good on his end of the bargain. in order to pry us away from our beloved solar-heated house in the midst of the sierra nevada mountains (home to the best trees in the world for making forts), he had told us that he would buy us a trampoline. a real one, not a baby one.
that sold us completely, and we once again begin packing our belongings.
at costco, surrounded by cardboard boxes and concrete walls, we saw our bribe hanging high on the wall: it was so big you could have sleepovers on it and it was so shiny and black you could jump as high as the tree tops.
we were giddy with excitement, and the trip back to cody had never felt as long. as soon as we got home we bullied my dad into putting it up right away, which turned out to be an ordeal of metal pipes and springs that could severely pinched fingers if handled incorrectly. candyce and i backed slyly away and just watched expectantly as lindsay and dad grunted and pulled and pushed our dream into a reality.
we were officially rich: we had a trampoline.
from that day on for the next 18 months we were on that trampoline whenever we could be. we gloried in our new status of luxury and endless entertainment, and our isolation didn't feel as claustrophobic anymore. now we just had more time to jump on the trampoline.
cody was the windiest place i had ever been in my short life, and for the first few weeks we lived there it was hard for all of us to sleep at night. it always sounded so angry outside, and it felt that way too. as a result of the wind, we learned that we had to chain our trampoline to the ground in order for it not to be blown away, and we learned that wind is the best thing in the world to help you fly away.
when it got really windy outside, where you could hear it whistling around the corners of your house and saw the long brown grass flattened first one way and then another, you knew it was time to go outside and jump. we would start at on end of the trampoline, launch ourselves straight up in the air, and find ourselves at the opposite end of the trampoline by the time we came down. we were flying, we were really flying. we just had to be careful that we didn't fly off to far, because the wind didn't make the ground any less hard, and it didn't feel very magical to get dirt ground into your knees.
we did have sleepovers on the trampoline, and we would wake up in the middle of the night to find everyone crammed together in the middle of the trampoline, and all night long you would try to get back out to the edge but in your sleep you just rolled back into the center, back to where your sisters were, and eventually you stopped fighting it and fell asleep with your face smashed into someones arm or knee.
we never got exceptionally good at doing tricks on the trampoline, except for maybe lindsay. lindsay could actually do flips and candyce and i would crouch on the edge of the trampoline, watching wide-eyed as she tried to "land it" on her feet. i was terrible at flips and such because i had such a terror of feeling my neck crunch underneath me that i could never bring myself to fully flip. i would land on my back and sigh, knowing deep in my heart that i would never fully flip around, and knowing that it was okay. candcye was never very interested in performing acrobatic feats, and instead she created elaborate games of make-believe that all took place on the trampoline, and candyce and i (lindsay could never be bothered to participate in anything that wasn't a contest) would bounce around on all fours pretending we were ponies looking for our moms or foxes that needed to get out of the jungle or dolphins that had just met and were going to be best friends.
sometimes we would just bounce up and down and look at the few trees around and see how far our eyes could make it, but they never saw much more than long brown grass and barbed wire fences. we created contests for ourselves that involved singing as loud and as good as we could while bouncing so high that we flew. we recreated our facorite commercials or funny parts of movies, cracking each other up with our impersonations. my very favorite one to do, the one that brought the house down with my sisters, was my impersonation of a foster's commercial. in my best, most outlandish australian accent, i would scream out: "FOSTERS--IT'S AUSTRALIAN FOR BEER!" and we would collapse on the trampoline, laughing at how ridiculous australian people sound.
i think my parents thought that the trampoline would be a good way to get us excited about another transition in our life, and that it would be a good source of exercise for us.
really, it was our place to go and hang out with each other, to escape the loneliness of being new in an ugly and dry place, a place where the wind became friendly and the possibilities seemed endless. we were pioneer children, or pioneer ponies, our faces straight into wind, our chins lifted high, we were flying over the wildness of it all.
in all of our family pictures from this period, our hair always looks long and bedraggled.
we were forever being windblown, and we loved it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunflower Yellow.

I fancied myself to be a gymnast. It was 7th grade and it seemed like the right thing to do. There wasn't much else to do in Wyoming, so my sisters and I threw ourselves into various and random sporting events; namely Tae Kwon Do and Gymnastics.

It wasn't that I was particularly bad at gymnastics, it was simply a matter of size. I wasn't built like the Ross girls. They were strangely petite and they could hurdle their bodies over bars and through the air in ways that I could never dream of.

However, I made a valiant attempt to be a good gymnast. I tried very hard and I trained a lot. I made it all the way to Advanced Level 2, which was the second highest level one could reach at the Cody School of Gymnastics. I competed in a few meets, which was exciting because I got to create my own floor routine, complete with music. I stayed true to my awkward Evangelical junior high self, and chose Michael W. Smith's "Ashland" as my floor routine jam.

My coach was absolutely crazy. She was extremely overweight, with short hair and a loud raspy voice. To this day, I don't know how she actually coached us because she could hardly move. She would wear baggy shorts and you could see her legs, which were always covered with weird sores or blotches. My parents told me later that they thought she had AIDS. I have no idea if this is actually true.

One day, coach decided that the Advanced 2 girls were too advanced for the large crash pad that would cushion our falls when we were practicing the Vault. Instead of the usual crash pad, she put down a thin mat and challenged us to a contest. It was a contest to see who could get the most height on a Straddle Vault. I'm terribly competitive and knew that this was a challenge that I was willing to accept. I ran at that vault with all of my might, I hit that springboard with force and determination...and I got a LOT of air on that beautiful vault.

There was just one problem: I got cocky. I dropped my legs sooner than I should have, and my right toe grazed the top of the vault. This one movement was enough to send my body flying forward and before I knew it I was heading face-first into the mat. I did what any normal person would do - I threw my arms out in a desperate attempt to save myself.

I did, indeed, save my face. My left arm, however, was quite another story.

I heard the cracking and the popping and I didn't have to look down to know what damage had been done. My left arm was burning and the whole world was a blur. They called my dad, he needed to take me to the hospital. I had broken my arm, and I'd broken it badly. Looking and my limp and deformed arm on that mat was sickening. It was twisted in ways that I didn't think that arms or bones could go. I waited on that mat for what felt like an eternity. Later, I found out that my dad had been mowing the lawn and decided he needed a shower before he took me to the ER.

Driving up to the ER, I remember thinking to myself that speed bumps in an ER parking lot are a terrible idea. WIth every bump that we hit, my arm throbbed. I hated the hospital for those speed bumps.

The next 12-24 hours were some of the more miserable hours in my life. The X-Rays were excruciating; really, it just seems cruel to make someone move their broken bones that much without any pain killers. I'd broken my arm in 4 places. They put me under and tried to set my arm to no avail. I was going to need surgery. Apparently I was in surgery for a long time - they put 2 metal plates and 8 screws in my arm that night.

I woke up in a strange hospital room with a broken TV. A lady from our church stopped by to visit and told me that her Grandmother had died earlier that week in the very same room. I had poor veins, apparently, and the nurses kept moving my IV. They finally settled on the top of my right hand, and neglected to check on me for a number of hours after doing so. The needle wasn't actually in my vein and proceeded to fill my right hand with the pain killers that were supposed to be flooding my system and bringing me sweet, sweet relief. I got no such relief; instead, I was rewarded with a horrible burning sensation in my hand every hour when the pain killers were dispersed through the malfunctioning IV. By the next morning my hand was huge and swollen and black and blue.

My cast was enormous. I was in a big "sunflower" phase of life, so I chose yellow for the color. They didn't tell me that the yellow that had was an obnoxious neon yellow, as opposed the buttery sunflower yellow I had envisioned. I looked like a big fat neon dork and I hated it. This neon cast would be my prison for the next two months.

That broken arm ruined my summer, plain and simple. There was no swimming with the girls in the pool at the Dude Ranch. There was no barrel racing or horse back riding.

And...there was no more gymnastics.
I quit.
I think deep in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wasn't cut out to be a gymnast. The broken arm gave me my perfect out. I quit the Cody School of Gymnastics that day and never looked back.