With college plans secured, I spent my time at Drill Team practice, Orchesis rehearsals, work, or my friends’ houses.
Life at home was heavy. My mom seemed to always be in bed or upset. No one really asked about what I was doing. I was trusted to be making wise decisions. Honestly, I was doing a good job. I wasn’t a big drinker, instead choosing to drive a lot so my friends could drink whatever they secured from their parent’s collections or local liquor stores that easily sold to minors. I also noticed that when I drank, I tended to get sad and cry. That didn’t feel good and I wanted to avoid that feeling as much as possible.
Our Drill Team was a well-known, award-winning team. Our coach was definitely intense. We practiced daily and part of our warm-up was to be in our kick line and do 500 straight kicks in a row and if anyone, I mean anyone, stopped smiling, she would stop us and we would have to start again. Some girls would put Vaseline on their teeth to keep the smile cemented. I loved to kick, and actually enjoyed this part of practice. But I noticed that some girls (our team was quite large) would break and run to vomit in the nearby bathroom. Some of the girls wouldn’t make it to the bathroom. There was no mercy from our coach and it felt like a lot of pressure for a State title. I found my days drifting through classes at school, going straight to practice (which was now becoming far from fun), going straight to work at the video store, and then home to a depressing house. It started to wear on me.
One day, I had enough. I decided to quit the Drill Team. At my high school, in 1988, this was unheard of. Being on Varsity Drill Team was a major accomplishment, a coveted position. Girls on the Freshman and JV teams worked hard with the hopes of making Varsity as a junior. I walked off and it felt like a great relief. Within the week, several more girls left the team. I became a bit of a hero and the other girls who quit thanked me for paving the way. I did feel bad for letting down my friends in leadership on the team. I also knew that if I didn’t quit something, I would soon break from the pressure building in my life.