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Mallory's advice to LW3 contributed pretty directly to my beginning to come out. <3
"I picked up rugby in college though, for five basic reasons:
1. As a self-identified (and helpfully identified by my peers) small Asian female nerd, no one would expect me to do this and this delighted my contrarian side.
2. Rugby is not big in the US, so hopefully the playing field would be a little more level than if I decided to try, say, club soccer or lacrosse.
3. I am not afraid of being hit–I have not ever been in a fight–but I wanted to see if I could pick myself up from being knocked down.
4. I wanted to see if I could knock other people down. Why? See reason 1.
5. Maybe secretly it was what I was always meant to do, and I would have fame and stardom forever."
I'm not tallish, largeish, and white, but otherwise, that was it, and my favorite part of the experience was probably this effect: "It also kicked off this current phase of my life where I’ve gone from being 'that nerdy girl who reads a lot of books' to 'Hieu reads a lot of books and does, like, sports or something.'"
I was a couple years past rugby when I first read this, but I'd been itching for a new sport, and reading this piece and the comment thread made me feel brave enough to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, despite being super intimidated. I didn't stick with it long because I moved, but it was such a great experience! Now, a couple years later, I'm thinking I'd like to try powerlifting. Thanks so much for sharing this piece at The Toast!
Also, I'm really grateful for this specific paragraph. This is great advice for all kinds of life changes, aesthetic and otherwise:
"It may be wise to avoid talking about your decision on social media—you will inevitably get someone who doesn’t understand the concept of bodily autonomy, and will try to make you feel bad for daring to cut your hair. Surround yourself instead with pictures of beautiful, sassy, short hair. Fantasize about taking two minutes to wash it. Dream of the day when you will no longer get your hair caught on earrings. Bliss."
Some favorite excerpts; these lines:
"Even when a thing isn’t on purpose, often you can trace its source. This wasn’t like that. What little I know about the accident explains only why it shouldn’t have happened, not why it did."
and these two paragraphs:
"In an absence of higher powers, there are still ways find order, and even answers, from the world itself. The shreds and scraps of what we know have a way of finding one another, lining up in such a way so that, at a squint, something like continuity comes bleeding through. Here is a cause, here an effect. This is foreshadowing, this aftermath. And then something comes along, and all the plot points hovering near it fly apart in a scatter, and you remember—or discover for the first time—that an event is only whatever happens. It isn’t causal or personal, isn’t a lesson or a sign. It doesn’t mean anything at all.
"For a long time after she died, I returned to Samantha’s email constantly, with the kind of diligent, almost resigned obsession I usually reserve for Facebook stalking people I’ve slept with. The more I read Samantha’s message, the more it seemed like there was some kind of prophecy in it, some kind of warning I was supposed to understand. I turned to encyclopedias of dream symbols. (Lots of entries for “calf,” not so many for “pelting small bags of carrots.”) I felt like I was sliding my hand along a wall in the dark over and over, feeling for a switch. I didn’t think Samantha’s message was funny anymore. I thought that it was vital."
"My life in Toronto went on. I got older than Samantha had been." (Isn't that a strange moment?)
Thank you for sharing this piece here. I expect I'll keep returning to it.