Off to Europe.. this time towards a goal
Sometimes it (the love) can elude you, and then the challenge becomes... finding it again.
My passion has always been football, from my early days as a young girl growing up in Wagga Wagga.
My journey has been a little blurred by a battle I-ve grappled with for a long time and only recently felt some comfort in sharing beyond my family and support network.
What a fortnight: soaking up all things grand final in sports success starved Canberra and then beating arch rivals Brisbane Roar to be crowned W-League champions; the publication of my tell all article in the Canberra Times; to then leave the country so soon - no wonder my body has switched on the first of its natural defensive mechanisms - a bout of tonsillitis!
The further downside of being sick made the packing process and farewells to friends and family a little more painful than usual. While I was trying my best to bask in the glory of the warm sunshine, the pounding of my head and the painful act of swallowing wasn-t really allowing for those ‘being in the moment- type occasions.
I touched down in Germany last week. I have spent the best part of this time sleeping off my sore throat which had a field day getting worse whilst suspended high above the earth. All this aside let me share something quite ironic with you. I want to take you back to this exact month of February… four years ago...
I had packed up my belongings and saved enough cash to fuel my European adventure, I was off to explore the world, travelling for the first time without boots! What I hadn-t realised at the time though, I was running away, attempting to rid myself of a problem controlling my mind.
I was battling an eating disorder and the answer for me was to quit football and leave, to run. The easiest decision was to keep on moving, of course I had a great time, but the reality was my mind was still there, the issues I faced as an athlete regularly slapped me in the face, it hurt. My thought patterns were that ingrained there was no turning back, well at least not on my own.
Eight months later I made the decision to return to Australia and get some help. I was slowly accepting the tough road ahead but also to my surprise, I felt a certain passion rekindling for the game I fondly loved.
I have packed my belongings and set off for another European adventure, with my boots!
I have been back playing for the past 2 and a half years and my passion for the game is still building.
In order to continue my growth as a footballer, a person, a female, taking myself overseas and playing pro was something I wanted to do.
Although I feel more vulnerable and exposed, I don-t feel weaker. Although I am in an unfamiliar place and know next to no-one, I don-t feel lost. This time it is different. I am not running. I am paving my own way in a much healthier mindset.
We all have our challenges... Heres a small sprinkle of mine...
The past four years
I have sought help in relation to my eating disorder and found a great connection with a psychologist in Canberra, Sally Hughson. My sessions with her have been confronting, liberating, painful, and difficult.
This ‘ride- has helped my mind make sense of why I think a certain way. I have sought clarity with the thoughts in my head and quite honestly have never felt so strong. Dealing with this eating disorder was once a very isolating condition but, having opened up to my family and friends.
I have gained an inner strength and no longer ashamed with, or embarrassed by, my condition. Sally has certainly helped the process. Just last week i agreed to an interview with the Canberra Times, a tell-all piece of journalism raising the awareness of the condition.
In no way do I have the answers, and I certainly didn-t want the article to make out as if I did. Although I am stronger, I still have a long way to go. I can say confidently that the thoughts aren-t as powerful and don-t crop up as much. If properly treated, I have been assured that one day they won-t even be there. I very much look forward to the day.
I believe it is fair to say the love of the round ball games varies from person to person; the constant however, is the passion we all share. There can be no way to express the feeling when your passion is first recognised, it is often indescribable.
When exploring your passion, you gain inspiration from many different sources. People you encounter, written inspiration, famous speeches, setbacks, success - the highs and lows all play their part. Sometimes it can elude you, and the challenge is, finding it again.
My most treasured piece of written inspiration I came across when I was just a 12 year old and I still reflect upon today...
“Somewhere behind the athlete you-ve become... the hours of practice, the coaches who have guided you, the family & friends who have stood by you, the fans who have supported you...
Is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back, PLAY FOR HER!”
At times we can be that consumed by our pursuits we forget why we first set out to achieve. This little poem for me is a reminder as to why I do what I do. Or at least what first ignited the spark inside my soul. There is something in this world that can make you fill up with desire and longing.