by Jennifer Sey
Late afternoon, Sunday, and the blues are setting in. It is inescapable, this Sunday blue. It starts descending just a few hours after I wake each and every Sunday. I enjoy the morning hours, read the newspaper, have coffee with my husband, breakfast with my kids. And then, like a fog closing in, heavy and murky, the angsty ugh of Sunday envelops me.
I have no reason to feel this way. I like my job. I admire the people I work with. I'm not fearful of any of the projects on the docket, in fact, I tackle each one with gusto, a challenge to be met with fervent mojo. Each challenge broken down into a series of doable steps, no single step overwhelming in and of itself. I laugh often at work, because I get to work with friends. It is not like entering a tunnel of doom, my workday. I spend quality time with my family each evening. Dinner, reading, perhaps a movie. And yet, the blues persist.
It started when I was young. As a child, I was a very serious gymnast. The worst of the blues began when I moved away from home at 14. Each weekend I'd go home to see my parents and brother and then, on Sunday evening my mom would drive me the two hours up the Pennsylvania turnpike to my home away from home. I usually hid my tears when she left me there because I didn't want her to see my sadness. She would have stuffed me in the car and taken me with her back to New Jersey. And I didn't want that. I wanted to train in this nationally recognized facility. Despite my Sunday blue.
This “home” where she left me - a room in a coach's house - was not comfortable. There was no dinner time chatter, sibling banter or bickering. There wasn't much food. It was cold, heat a luxury not indulged except on the very coldest Allentown winter nights. Mostly the dread came because I missed my family during the hard weeks of training. And the work was grueling, filled with physical pain and fear of injury. Current injuries were to be endured during practices. My coaches were not empathetic to physical pain. I trained with both ankles taped into near casts, done and redone many times during a workout. Each time the tape loosened due to a rough landing, another layer was added. I gobbled advils like candy to stave off the excruciating throbbing of unhealed fractures. There was screaming, insults hurled by hard driving coaches. We were yelled at for falling off the beam, gaining a half pound.