Planning Project 1

I’ve mentioned a few times that I was never a writer, but really—I was NEVER a writer. It wasn’t until I could no longer find comfort in anything that I had the audacity to search for a new cathartic release. It was the release of honesty that made a difference, absolutely 100% no bullshit. My adjustment to college was interesting to say the least; at a time when everything in my environment was new the last thing I needed was a new mental illness but that was exactly what I got. Starting to write and come to terms with my clinical depression was the first step in a very long road to recovery. Once I was able to accept my biggest weakness on paper it was easier to deal with it and come to like myself again. When I write, it is to make sense of my past pains and my past struggles in the hopes that I might make it easier for someone else to come after me.

One of my favorite pieces of writing is a piece from an unexpected author, if you can even call him that.

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,

This poem published on The Player’s Tribune was an eye opening read, one that still brings a tear to my eye each and every time I read it. Kobe was never one to back down from a challenge, a player who could never surrender himself to his weaknesses. In fact, the release of this poem was the very first time he publicly accepted the fact he was no longer in the condition to continue the game of basketball. Up until this point, it didn’t matter what the experts said—he wouldn’t back down from a challenge and admit his short comings had gotten the best of him. The emotion and honesty he evokes in this piece is everything that I hope to convey as a writer, particularly when addressing my own personal hidden weakness, my depression. We all have the scars and the wrinkles of age that we wish others won’t see, but sooner or later the truth will always catch up with us.

One thought to “Planning Project 1”

  1. Kelly, I think it’s amazing that you were able to open up in your blog. I too get that weird, anxious feeling when I put the reality from within my own head into written words. It’s funny because I have no problem telling anyone about who I am or how I feel face-to-face, but the minute you ask me to write about it, I suddenly find myself inarticulate. I never would consider myself a writer, yet writing soothes my anxious thoughts.
    I genuinely do believe writing is a self-created venting session. It allows us to truly talk to ourself in a unique way because the words on the paper aren’t going anywhere. Like Kobe, the more you and I open up on paper and accept reality, the stronger we become in the long run despite any potential haters. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is perhaps our greatest strength because once you’re strong enough to write it out publicly, then no one in this world can take that right away or use it against you.

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