This post brought to you by Cue Times Billiard News. Cue Times is the only billiard publication to ask permission to reproduce my articles in their publication. All the others just ripped my sh#t off without asking. Because of their support, I am encouraged (guilted?) to write posts that are slightly more insightful than usual. Without them, this blog would have devolved into a repository for cat image macros and random recipes.
Disclaimer: Due to holiday frazzlement, this story/post/visit-to-the-heart-of-darkness will be broken up into parts. You may not actually gain any insight from this story/post/visit-to-the-heart-of-darkness — the insight gained could very well be all mine, and I’m not in the habit of sharing.
…continued from yesterday (“gaining weight, part 5”)…
Press and zoom back to where we were, in bar, with me asking for weight…
…and hearing that name brought back the old fear and refreshed the pain I had been dragged through.
I thought about how much I had fought, first to prove I was not a nutcase because I took a bus to a tournament, then to prove my worth as a player, then to live with my persecution, and finally for my life. The psychological trauma and the physical damage to my body was nothing more than a game to everyone else and I was nothing more than a ball to be kicked for their amusement. A long-forgotten reflex stirred and I felt myself preparing to argue.
I was always losing ground in this fight. It was tug-of-war against the world — they pulled on one side and I dug in my heels on the other and resisted. I was forever pulling knowing I could not win…
“Kwik-E-Mart?” I heard myself say, smooth as can be. “Oh, she beats me every time. I can’t win. Go ahead — ask anyone.”
…so I let go.
The Player abruptly stopped hitting balls and looked at me. Then he looked around the room. Some people traded glances. Some looked like they were slightly confused. I stood very still, my face absolutely neutral. There were people there who would have been too glad to knock my action, but no one negated my claim. The Player considered for a moment, then made a counteroffer. I made another counteroffer. He agreed.
As I put my cue together, I reflected that I was taking a gamble on a gamble. I gambled that the pool community had gone on so long telling me I was a sh#t player compared to Kwik-E-Mart that no one actually knew how I played. All they had heard or been told was that I was a terrible player with no stroke and no heart. I might not know how I played — but, neither did they.
I won hill-hill.
The Player was so surprised at the outcome he made an appointment on the spot to play the same game in a few days at a different location. He told me to bring plenty of cash. We would play until someone was busted.
Life was so good, and it could only get better…
the more you know
I used that line for two more years before it lost its effectiveness in getting me weight.
Today, Kwik-E-Mart is an excellent player. She has access to more resources and funding than I do. I would not be able to beat her playing pool without weight (four games on the wire to seven). C’est la vie. The world turns on.
I usually name the people who truly piss me off on this blog but Kwik-E-Mart has a pseudonym for a few reasons:
- As far as I know, she has never treated anyone else badly. I believe I was the wrong person, with the wrong personality, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
- Every cloud has a stainless steel lining. Kwik-E-Mart made me who I am today. She threw me in the fire and made me fireproof.
- She introduced me to “polite” social warfare. I was not aware of this kind of mean-girl faux-modesty passive-aggressive subversive giggling-geisha secret-guerrilla cupcake-grenade bullsh#t before — but, boy oh boy, do I know about it now.
- She once started a blog. She told me to start a blog so she could link hers to mine. I didn’t want to. I said no one would want to read about our boring lives. She insisted. She said I didn’t have to write anything, she just wanted to have more readers (or the appearance of more readers?). So I did. And here is my blog.
You now have a more complete idea of where my Don’t-Give-A-F#ckery and intolerance for idiocy comes from. It’s been noted that I am extremely guarded and I don’t make friends easily. Now you know why.
I do not seek validation from others because doing so puts my self-worth and happiness under the control of others and sometimes, those others are assholic morons. The one thing that truly got hammered through my thick skull after this ordeal was:
You can’t make people like you and it’s okay if they don’t.
People come and go throughout your life, but one thing is certain: you’ll always have to live with you. If you’re cool with who you are, you’ll have less reason to be unhappy.
Giving up the need for validation is a difficult thing, especially for women pool players. Women face a lot of pressure from society and mass media to be the prettiest, the most popular, the thinnest, the curviest, etc. As women pool players, we face additional pressure to be all that and we must possess world-championship-level billiard skills as well. I mean, do we give a sh#t about who’s the hottest male pool player (okay, there aren’t very many)? Not really. We just give a sh#t how the dudes play.
I’m not playing for your approval or to your standards. I don’t care if you like me or not. If you piss me off, trust me, I will let you know. (However, if I like you enough and you still need my kidney, I’ll gift wrap it for you — and maybe cook you something tasty.) Tailoring my image or actions to suit someone else’s idea of how I should be is not an option.
I know it’s trite, but: be yourself. I had to go to the edge of sanity and mortality to understand the value of that advice but, hopefully, you will not.
|The permanent link to all posts in this series|
|That dude that came up to me at the tournament and dissed me in front of my friend? I knocked him out of a men’s pro qualifier. He didn’t come into the pool room (where he practically lived) for so long people started to get worried. When he returned, he initially refused to gamble citing that since he lost to a girl, he must not be able to play worth a sh#t. Warm fuzzies and happy holidays.|