I grew up in a family where we believe in one phrase-hard work. That’s all I knew. I was involved in sports at the early age of five, although I played all three sports: volleyball, basketball, and softball I fell in love with the neon yellow ball laced with 88 red stitches. As my journey through sports increased, so did the discipline for my craft. As a typical Type A personality I was obsessed with being the best person I could be. I spent many nights running, lifting, and practicing beyond the required times my coaches expected me to. I lived by the motto: “If I’m not practicing someone else will and when we meet she will beat me.” It was during those one-on-one sessions with myself, that I learned how to overcome failure. I had my craft so meticulously designed that I knew which set of drills I needed to implement depending on what area I was struggling with. Some people called me insane, but I was just crazy enough to sell out for my dream-to play with Team USA.
During my high school years I defied a lot of “YOU CANT’S!” Critics would downplay me making Varsity as a freshmen because my dad was a coach, or dismissed me getting hand written collegiate letters from top ranked D1 schools claiming my dad was e-mailing the coaches, and laughed at my full ride to Mississippi State University as an outfielder (another thing critics said that would never happen) they claimed that only pitchers received full rides, concluding that Mississippi State must not be very good. I learned through my critics to keep my success to myself, while they magnified my failures. I had plenty of reasons for joy accepting a full scholarship to Mississippi State University, earning the first ever back to back SEC Player of the Year Award, and All-American honors. During my Junior year I was faced with another “YOU CAN’T” when I was selected to try out of the Team USA in 2003. Critics said, “You will get selected, but no one ever makes it on the first try.” That summer, I defied another odd by making the team and helping with a win over Australia with a game winning homerun. After my senior year in college, I was drafted first round first pick to the Akron Racers out of Akron, Ohio. That first year I earned MVP of the league as well as batting champion, and did my first commercial. So what could be the problem right? What people did not realize is that at the height of my success, I buried my smiles and suffocated my joy to stay humble enough for those looking down on me; believing what they had told me all those years “YOU CAN’T!”
It wasn’t until the year 2007 when I unlaced my spikes for the last time, and zipped my bat bag up one final zip that my life slowly started to change. I entered into a world unfamiliar to me. A world where people didn’t always talk sports and they were worried about bills rather than homeruns. A place where a diamond was a shiny symbol of love on your left hand, and not a playing field to get dirty. I was lost and lacked the skills to cope beyond my sanctuary-the softball field. It was at that moment I realized that I could no longer mask my feelings through sports or fix my problems through softball drills. What did life look like beyond the softball field? I was about to answer my own question-PERSONALLY.
Shortly after my playing career was over I dated and eventually married the love of my life. It was a year of firsts: Shortly after marriage we moved, started a new job and went through some financial struggles. Just when I thought I was coming up for air, I was rushed to the ER with an intense abdominal pain, only to be told that I was pregnant. After many tests, it was determined that the pregnancy would result in a miscarriage. I was devastated, confused, and lost.
The one thing that I was able to do really well was deflect and detach. I did not like hurt, the burning in my heart; I tried my best to live above the pain. Two short months later, on a Friday afternoon I found out that I was pregnant again. That Friday was the worst and best day of my life. I was elated to find out I had an opportunity to bring life into this world, but it was also the day, when I realized that after eight short months of marriage we had come to the end of the road. Devastation did not come close to the pain that I felt. I was hurt to my soul. Trying to save face at my job and continue to be the coach that my girls needed was extremely tough. I remember walking down the hallways trying my best to push the lump down in my throat. I felt myself grasping for any “drill” that I could use to pick myself up, but even a game ending strike out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning could not touch the pain that engulfed my entire being.
I decided to move home to heal. Being home provided me the comfort and safety I needed in order to find myself again. Each year I found myself unmasking another layer of who I was meant to be. There were times I felt as though my progress was hindered or stalled, and while kicking and screaming, I allowed the Lord to change this Type A control freak into a humble, joyful mother who now has a platform to tell my story. You see, I had the tools the whole time, I was just using the wrong ones to fix my problem
I remember having very vivid dreams during my healing, but the one that sticks out the most is when I had a dream that I came home and my entire house was filled with brightly colored sticky notes. And on those sticky notes where all the positive things that I have ever wanted someone to say to me. I remember pulling up in the drive way and stepping out of the car falling to my knees. I did not know it at the time, but that particular dream was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
I knew that the Lord was preparing me for something beyond my coaching duties, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I remember my Aunt Pam saying to me, “God has a work for you.” So during Christmas break of 2013, I dedicated that time to get in Gods face and ask him what was it that I was suppose to be doing. And it came to me one afternoon while I was sitting at the kitchen table waiting on the green bean casserole to come out of the oven. I was painting my fingernails and feeling really “light” and joyful. It was at that moment that Lord said to me, “healing through color.”
I realized that through my healing journey the colors I wore were a symbol of my progression through my healing journey. While having a conversation with a friend, I was reminded that all those different color sticky notes was a foreshadowing of my platform to tell my story. Through color I healed! I was finally at a point where I could embrace joy authentically. That day I was wearing bright pink which symbolized my freedom in healing; thus the birth of RECOLORED.