Saturday, December 1, 2007

Post Swimming Career Depression

(Found this document, I wrote this about 2 years ago.)

Without swimming, I feel lazy at all times. I once swam twice a day, for 2-3 hours each time. I would also lift weights, run, and do massive amounts of dryland. I would get exhausted beyond human realms. I would be too tired to eat, too tired to sleep, if you can even imagine that. I would get so anxious and excited for swim meets that my stomach would tie in a knot, and completely quit the digestive process. If I ate too close to the meet I could feel the food just sitting there, like a weight in my stomach. And if I swam hard enough, then it would bulge, only to make me feel nauseous.

The pain I felt at the end if a 3 day or longer meet is indescribable, but so satisfying. Imagine the most excruciating growing pains (that is, if you had them) and put them in your hips, shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Put a Charlie horse in your abdominals, calves and traps, then, on top of that extreme exhaustion, and that’s the end of the meet. Not to mention the mental depletion of all thoughts, emotions and happiness. No matter how well I preformed, I went straight into what I have named, Post Meet Depression. Once again, with the depression I could not eat or sleep, but back to training anyways.

The constant stress swimming caused in my life never phased me. It was the other stressors that pissed me off, family, boyfriend, school, the simpler, less invasive ones. Swimming was what I lived to do, the others just got in the way, so if they caused any kind of stress I hated them. If I was stressed about swimming, then that was fine, in fact preferable. The constant challenge I got to face myself with everyday made it worth doing.

Swimming made me believe I was better than anyone I came in contact with. I knew I was in better shape, I knew I was stronger mentally, as well as physically. But now, without it, that confidence is gone. I am no longer in incredible shape. I can now sleep full nights. I can savor my food; it’s no longer a duty that must be performed to sustain life and good levels of energy. I can’t do 10 pull-ups or 50 push-ups. My hips have become equal in size to my shoulders. I have become better at tennis. I am making money, and have time to spend with my boyfriend, as well as to catch up on things I’ve put off for years. My hair is growing in places on my head that used to be worn away from cap usage, and my skin is virtually flawless. But the satisfaction I get from all of these things does not even match a week of swimming. What is the most frustrating is that it would be impossible to justify swimming anymore. I have no world-class talent. I must move on to the next phase of my life, and work toward the lucrative career I have in mind. But I must admit it’s much harder to find motivation for something, when you’ve been so passionate about something else.

The strange thing is, I don’t feel any depression, or regret. It’s a bit of a hopeless situation I am in, but my nature is to be curious and excited about the future. I look forward to challenging myself in Med-school. I hope time is all I need, so I can forget all of these horrible, wonderful feelings swimming gave me. Soon, all I did in high school and college will be a distant memory. When I talk of how I used to swim, I will be one of those people I always got annoyed with. You used to swim? Good for you, you obviously couldn’t take it, I’m swimming now. I get to say I went to the Olympic Trials, and competed in the NCAA’s and won conference, as well as an event at conference. I get to say I held multiple records at Indiana University. These things will just have to tide me over. Soon the emotion of uselessness that plagues me now will subside, and I will become the overly confident, know-it all shrink, everyone expects me to be, but for now, I am normal. Weird, huh?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Just Because I'm From Kansas City...

After senior year of high school, I left my beloved town of Kansas City, Missouri to attend school and swim at Indiana University. Previous to this big move, I had traveled quite a bit. I had been to 27 of the 50 states by the time graduation rolled around (I know this for a fact because I found a list of all the states I had visited in the back of my spiral notebook from Mrs. Hernon's Algebra class.) I mention this not to boast -because unlike most people my age, I have yet to leave the continent of North America- but to make it clear that IU was not my first out-of-town experience.

On one of my first days in Bloomington, the whole team got together to meet. We did the usual 'sit in a circle and introduce yourself, say where you're from, mention 2 interesting things about yourself, and list the events you swim' thing. This went off without a hitch, until it became my turn, "Hi, my name's Erin Smith, I'm from Kansas City..." Then the uproar. "Kansas City!? I've never met anyone from Kansas before!" "Do you live on a farm?" "Wow, how far is that?" "They have a swim team?" I was blown away. Umm, hello, Kansas City is in Missouri, and I don't think there are even farms within Kansas City limits. Does Bloomington, IN have a swim team, because if so, KC sure as hell does too. I had no idea that living in a city that had another state's name in it was such a baffling situation. After pointing out that I couldn't believe Kansas City was so intriging when we had a girl from Denmark sitting directly across from me,
I continued to explain about where I came from, and thought I did a pretty thorough job of clearing things up, until...Catch Phrase.

Much later in the year, February, in fact, we found ourselves again in the big circle. We were playing the game Catch Phrase. We had been playing for a while, when the Danish girl, Tina, got the game piece in her hand. Her clue was: "Smitty's (me) dad works on one of these..." "A farm" someone calls out without even one moment of hesitation. Tina hits the button and passes the game piece on, indicating a correct answer. I first shake my head in disapproval and disappointment. "Um, guys! My dad does not work on a farm! I thought I cleared this up months ago?" At this point the game has stopped and everyone is just laughing. I think it's a lost cause.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shitty's Summer

So, while gazing thru old emails I came across this one from Summer 2003:

I'd like to talk about the more interesting issue at family's grand total for losses this Summer (in the monitary value) is over 10,000 big ones!

So, I get a call from my mom one morning in July, only to find out Nora's car was stolen from out the driveway. It's a bright purple Mitsubishi Galant, the we've been cursing since the day it was brought home by my (hopefully, heavily drugged while she was purchasing the ugly POS) mother. It runs fine, you'd just have to see it to understand. I mean, I'm not sure about you guys, but I think leaving a set of spare keys in the center compartment of an unlocked car is not a good idea...I mean correct me if I'm wrong.

A few weeks later, I got the even more unfortunate news, and that was that the car had been returned in fine form, only missing, perhaps the most valuable part of it, the stereo and speakers.

Next, the same sister, Nora, is on vacation with my brothers in Minnesota. Her car gets broken into, again, and all 600 of her CD's are stolen. Timothy's Game Cube, and a few games were part of the bounty as well. Needless to say this cuts their vacation short, she comes home. The very next day she goes to the gym, and her purse gets stolen. Along with the purse was $500 cash, the face to her new CD player, and her cell phone.

So after all of this, we all think it's safe to assume are troubles are over. Well, at Nationals, my mom gets a call from her mom, and my great aunt (who was 90) died. Expected, but sad all the same. We drive to New York, thinking now our troubles have really ended. And then, a cop pulls us over and to give a woman from Missouri, a $250 ticket for answering her cell phone while the hell were we supposed to know not to do that! Really, I did not even know at that point that places had out-lawed cell phone usage in a motor vehicle! Ass. And to top it all off, all the hotels were full, so we stayed in one of those nasty motels they use in horror flicks. (Soap left in the shower from the tenents before, pubic hair, holey sheets, and I swear there was blood on the wall.)

Finally, I am home in Kansas City, safely, and sure it's over. So, yesterday, the phone rings at 8:00 am. My dad has just called to inform us that his car, which was parked in the lot at his shop, as it is everyday of every year, has been completely totalled. It was smashed up against the building by some crazy driver.

I guess, as of today, it's all over...that's the "Smith Zoo" for ya.

P.S. I left out a few things, like Leah's bracelet from Tiffany's got stolen out of her purse; my cousin, married for one year is getting a divorce, and my mom got a parking ticket while in Maryland. But don't worry, nothing has happened to my brothers because they're such lazy bums they never left the house.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

5th Grade Freelance Poetry


When I go to a friend's house
it's so much fun.
I get away from my brother
who is so dumb.
I have fun with my friends
we play many different games.
Sometimes I spend the night
and we talk about fame.
Being with your friends is fun,
I enjoy it when I can.
You should have fun too,
But not with an old man.
(Just as an FYI, there was the word "stupid" with an arrow pointing to particular lines.)


Pillows can be soft
Some can be hard
All kinds of people use them
Including retards
Some pillows are big
Some are small
You see them on beds
On display at the mall
You put covers on your pillows
You should change them often
As I said pillows are everywhere
There is even one in your coffin

First, A Question.

Is it the responsibility of the parent or the child to get rid of old things?

I have decided it only makes sense that the parent do it as the child outgrows old toys. Each item has slightly less sentimental value to the parent, therefore, it would be easier to part with the item. As I look through my boxes I get a flood of feelings, images and thoughts with every single item I uncover. Then, I naturally think, "If I throw this out, I will lose this particular set of memories because the only thing that triggered them was this item, and this item only." So, back it goes in the box. Slowly, I may find an item or two that trigger only a minor response, or one that I retrieve regularly on my own; yes, another one for the garage sale box!

You will be happy to know I have reduced my load from the original 11 large rubbermaid bins and cardboard boxes to 10 and 3/4's.