For What It's Worth

Disclaimer: If you are at all interested in seeing me as some flawless, angelic creature beyond reproach…If you have bestowed on me goddess like qualities that you would like to go unchallenged…don’t read this entry. It’s unflattering. A true, complicated, and ugly picture of yours truly. A literary full autopsy of Tianna.

 

You were warned.

 

Saturday, May 19th: 21.19pm Kingston, Jamaica

 

I looked up at the Jumbotron as the results populated on the screen.

 

Sixth place.

 

11.43

 

Damn it, again.

 

I had identified a major hiccup in my race strategy from Guadeloupe, and worked hard at fixing it the following week only to find an entirely new way to mess up my race plan when it was time to compete.

 

At least I didn’t make the same mistake twice right?

 

I guess.

 

Post race I sat in a plastic chair to put my sweats back on, packed my backpack, and began the walk to…

 

wherever.

 

Anywhere but there really.

 

But I was stopped because Chuck was already there, and maybe he recognized the state I was in but he forced me to stop walking, and to sit down.

 

So I did.

 

He asked just one question,

 

"What can I do for you?"

 

And I responded simply,

 

"Let me quit."

 

Late 2017... Stateside

 

Me: Any word on when Nike is going to resign me?

 

Doyle: They are definitely going to resign you, but they want to finalize some other things first.

 

Me: And any clue what the deal structure for me might look like?

 

Doyle: I’ll be honest with you, when I sent them my proposal the immediate response I got back was, “you’re kidding right?”

 

Me: Silence.

 

Doyle: They consider you just a jumper, your 100 hasn’t panned out as well as your jumping has, and of course your age.

 

Me: Got it. Well give me a call when there’s something to update me about.

 

I eventually got resigned.

 

For 35% of my previous year’s base salary.

 

I tell myself it’s not personal, it’s just business. My rational brain knows that’s the case.

 

BUT I took it personally.

 

I took ending the season being ranked THIRD in the Long Jump personal after being the female jumper with the most seven meter jumps that season, a national title, and a medal at World Champs. I was ranked lower than a person who didn’t have a longer jump than me that outdoor season AND didn’t get a medal at World Champs. 

 

I took it personally.

 

Long story short, I walked away from London in August quite proud of myself and my accomplishments…

 

and ended the year in November feeling defeated and discouraged.

 

I felt unrecognized, unacknowledged, and unvalidated for an almost impossible year by the people I so badly wanted it from.

 

It seemed none of them cared.

 

I had assumed those feats would have the same value to my sponsors, meet directors, my coach, as they did to me.

 

And it didn’t.

 

When I "left my old life" it wasn’t because I felt the grass would be greener on the other side. I left for a simple reason: because I deserved to have a healthy relationship. 

 

I figured that not having that toxic weight would free me and that almost immediately I would experience rainbows and butterflies and a universe that would say to me, “here kid, you’ve suffered long enough…” and gifts me a winning lottery ticket, a Nascar-like roster of sponsors, and most importantly consistently high performances on the track.

 

Fall 2018...Europe

 

And so I decided, ok maybe now that I’m not inundated with all of that negativity I can have my best season ever. So I threw myself back into training in the fall. I was spending more money than I could afford on following my coach and training group around. Justifying the cost by telling myself I was simply reinvesting in myself. That it would pay off as soon as I ran fast in my first meet. And that didn’t happen. Not even close.

 

Not fast, not sharp, not prepared. 

 

And I was so angry about it. To be honest, I’m probably still angry about it (I noticed I was grinding my teeth as I typed this).

 

Present Day...Stateside

 

A friend called me the other day, and told me that he feels like the whole Tianna breaking from the Tumbleweeds ordeal was in part because egos were bruised. 

 

I was furious about his statement at first. 

 

My immediate reaction was “wow…so someone can literally let me down, hurt my feelings, and I’m only disappointed or whatever because my ego was bruised? Like if I had an ego problem wouldn’t I have pulled rank a long time ago? So I don’t get to be mad or hurt without this being an ego issue?” And so on and so on.

 

Whatever.

 

But it ended up being kind of true though.

 

I am, in fact, crippled under the weight of self-pity.

 

Paralyzed by the reality that I can and will still be wronged and hurt.

 

Astonished by the realization that life outside of Avila in Tampa has the potential to be just as ugly and unfair.

 

I was literally looking at May 1st 2017 as my finish line…

 

Thinking...if I could just get there everything after that point would be fine, things would start working out for me, things would easily fall in line.

 

In other words, even going through all of that suffering…surviving, and learning hard lessons I wanted...

 

of all things…

 

some kind of trophy 

 

for my trouble.

 

And then...

 

no more troubles.

 

It reminds me of the time I came home from grade school asking for money for my A’s on my report card. 

 

My mother said, “why should I reward you for something you were SUPPOSED to do?”

 

This stopped me in my tracks, because it wasn’t like I only earned the A’s for the potential money I could make. I just expected that she would pay up because I got them.

 

But Moms was like, “uh no. I’m not setting that precedent.”

 

But somewhere along the line my brain changed. 

 

Thirteen years of professional track and field and endorsement contracts might make you start thinking of yourself and your value in terms of bonuses and reductions, meet confirmations, and invites. 

 

So I guess you can imagine how I allowed myself to begin to feel about myself when I’m making only 35% of what I did last year, and have (at the time I'm writing this) just three outdoor meet confirmations.

 

And so I’ve found myself carrying around all of the same anger, bitterness, and pity into what should be my new and free life.

 

No, everybody DOES NOT deserve a ribbon.

 

But… apparently you don’t always get a ribbon when you win either. 

 

Especially if your idea of victory isn’t the same as the person who hands the ribbons out.

 

I’m not entitled to sponsors, I should be grateful that I have a few.

 

I’m not entitled to stellar performances, but I should be grateful to be healthy and I freakin' love training.

 

I’m not entitled to be rich, but I should be grateful that I have just enough right now.

 

I have to change my brain again. And focus on what I do have rather than what I don't.

 

For what it’s worth.

 

 

Blogger's Note: As soon as I typed the last word of this entry my manager called, with four more meet confirmations. A shitty attitude really does hold you back. Go figure.