My old basketball net is beside the storage room at my grandparent’s house. It was given to me by my great-grandpa for Christmas when I was 5 years old. I won’t ever forget that Christmas because I remembered looking around at my cousins who were opening their pile of presents and thinking, ”they all got more presents than I did.” I would never complain though because my great-grandpa did so much for me the rest of the year anyway. He called me over while I was sitting among my cousins and took me into the garage. There was a box three times my size! It was my basketball goal with my very own WNBA basketball.
Until I was about 13 years old, basketball was my favorite sport to play. I enjoyed playing during PE at school because I practiced so much at home– I also towered all the other kids. During my last year of elementary school, the coach asked me to try out for the middle school team the following year when I was old enough. I suppose instead of pipe dreams you could call this ”hoop dreams”; it never happened.
I ended up switching from homeschool, to private school, back to homeschool. Then all the sudden, back to public school to finish high school. I considered trying out for the basketball team, but by then I was not athletic at all and barely functional for over fifty percent of the month. For the longest time, my mom would yell at me for being on drugs or stoic and lethargic. The truth was, I never could manage the way I felt while on my period and was anemic. The pain was so immense and the flow so overwhelming I would have to miss school at times. I also found out via my doctor that I am one of many women who also feel when I am ovulating–this would cause lightheadedness and nausea for sometimes two weeks, which would fade into my period symptoms. I was practically a zombie most of the month…every month.
I didn’t know the vocabulary to talk about what was going on at the time. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I was truly educated on what was happening. My mom only surface-explained why I was bleeding. She said nothing about the rest of the purpose of a menstrual cycle and yet forbade talk of it from the school. She remains against schools educating children about changes in their body because she thinks it should be learned from the parent. Well, she never did her part as a parent and I am thankful to doctors that tell it like it is. If I had been informed as a young woman that birth control could have eased my symptoms and weighing less would have helped, I could have changed a lot about my life.
In college, I made some friends and played intermural basketball. We lost Every. Single. Game. But it was so fun, I didn’t care. I exercised every day but still did not dare get on birth control because that was far to taboo for my mom to handle. And yet I wonder, ”would she have known if I did it anyway?” but I was too afraid to defy her in that way. Fast forward to age 25: my daughter is born and a miracle happened. Sure, childbirth is a miracle–but also, my hormones and menstrual cycle became far more balanced and almost completely painless. I’m not saying go have a baby to fix your period because what ACTUALLY happens to most women is they get worse. I was anticipating the ”getting worse” part, but it never happened.
Today I was cleaning the storage shed and passed by that old hoop that my great-grandfather gave to me for Christmas, 23 years ago. When I was younger I thought basketball would be my life, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I have a heart for education and the arts. I believe God has a plan and a path for everyone, and I am thankful for all the ways I’ve been redirected when my initial desires we’re not what He had in mind.
What I hope is taken away from my story is that a conservative Christian can be on birth control and not be a whore. The public school system can teach sexual education and it not mean the ”promotion of promiscuity and unmarried sex”. In fact, when I was in high school abstinence was still pushed. I realize some women may have never had a rough time in the menstrual department, but if you have and are on birth control to control it, there is no shame in that– I wish I had that option when I was younger. If we are truly loving and caring for one another, then we do not assume the worst first: that is, we don’t have the right to assume that giving a girl birth control will cause her to make poor choices. Medicine is not of the devil, but a creation of man through the Earth God gave us. What does it mean in 1 Corinthians when he says ”believes all things”? Surely it doesn’t mean to go around believing all that you hear. No, it means what the Amplified translation says: look for the best. Believe that the best will come.
“Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].”
1 CORINTHIANS 13:7 AMP