Thursday, July 17, 2008

A complicated love affair

I have felt very blessed over the past six years to be able to do this sport for a living and to be so enthusiastic about my career. I know that not everyone feels that about his or her “job.” Luckily for me, my career and my passion have been one and the same and even though the road has not been smooth or trouble-free, it has most certainly been a blessing. It was something I wanted to do and devoted all of my time and energy into becoming better. Making money was never the goal, but obviously one needs to sustain their ability to put food in their mouth and a roof over their head. Moneymaking is also an indicator of the level of talent you have achieved and a benchmark of your success. I know that I haven’t come close to ever achieving the level of success I think I’m capable of, but I still have found contentment that I have had the ability to be out there doing what I want to do and having it provide for me, however meager it may be.

I have also traveled the world. This, in and of itself, is an added benefit far beyond the dollars that show up on my tax forms at years end. Most years I spend about 3 months in a different country every couple of days. Sure, most of the time is not spent in tourist fashion but how many stamps would my passport have without it? Mexico, perhaps. And maybe a Caribbean island or two. I needed additional pages added to my passport after just a few years in this sport. There is definitely an appreciation for the opportunities that I have been given and I know that being an athlete has opened doors I never would have thought to knock at.

All of this to say that right now I feel very conflicted about just where I am at with my love affair. It is no secret that I have come to a crossroads in regards to my career. And I have been trying to let my thoughts and feelings about everything come about in an honest way and not be rash in my decision-making or get too caught up in the emotions of the present without considering how I will really feel later on in life. But the harsh reality I am facing right now, is that however much I still on some level truly love being able to do this and might miss it after this hole in my heart has had time to heal a bit, is that sometimes love just aint enough.

When you do something because you love it and also because it’s your job, you have the best of both worlds. But if you just love it but you don’t make money doing it, then all you have is a glorified hobby. And hobbies don’t pay bills. And treating this sport as a hobby will never get you to where you want to be. I’ve been over in Europe for a little over a week now and I really am trying to enjoy it for what it’s worth. I’m not competing that well but I knew that it was a gamble to think I’d be truly able to run 100 meters efficiently anyway. So I’ve tried not to let it bother me and just enjoy the time for what it is. But I’ll be back in a couple of weeks and I’ll have to deal with the facts. Running slow doesn’t make you any money and not having money isn’t really an option. Imagine if you went to work for months and months and did your absolute best and got no paycheck at the end of it all. It would be difficult to justify staying at that particular establishment, even if you wanted to.

On some level this decision is about what I want to do, but in practical terms it is also simply about what I can do. You might get away with living off of top ramen when you’re 19, but when you’re 29 it’s not so glamorous anymore. So while I sit here and give thought to what it is I really want, I also am facing actual circumstances that weigh heavily on the decision making process. I don’t really know if I’m completely ready to fall out of love with this life or to feel in my heart that I am 100% ready to walk away with no regrets, but sometimes you are at the receiving end of a heartbreak and there just isn’t much you can do about it except to accept it. For right now I am just going to do my best to enjoy my time in Europe and if that means jogging a sub-par 100 meters every couple of days so that I can be afforded that luxury, then so be it.


EJ said...

PLEASE STOP doing this to yourself! That voice inside is WRONG! You are talented. You ar e in a talent slump that affects hundreds of athletes every 4 years. Not making a national team is very devastating. I know from a personal experience. Keep the glass Half FULL. This is yur only cahance to get past the Olympics and into the post-season of track. I know you can avenge yourself in that season. Just put up some good numbers so the promos will invite you to the Post Olympic fests. There, we can seek and destry the Olympians and even some medalists! Keep the faith in Brianna's track legs. For some reason we continue to and won't stop.

Brianna said...

thank you for your comment and encouragement BUT this is a bit more than a talent slump. i know the difference. this ain't it unfortunately. my strength levels and ability to sustain anything over 60 meters is not there. regardless, i wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

Impossible Dream

The impossible dream is an untouchable dream
For those too foolish to try.
The greatest temptations, are wasted sensations
When pushed to the back of the mind

We'll all end up at the stream of dreams
The river that keeps us from where we wish to roam.
The foolish man will slowly turn and walk away
While the wise man looks for a stepping stone.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Glenn,
Usually most written words don’t affect me emotionally right away (on meditating on important words, later it can be different). Except, of course, the words of love my kids will scribble on a hastily remembered card for Ol’ Dad. And I always cry.
But your words here really, really moved me. Maybe because, in completely different circumstances, we all face difficult “crossroads” in life, some very, very hard to deal with. Some that you know will re-direct your life forever. It is something to read how well you capsulated the conflicting feelings of decisions we’d rather not make under such a situation. You moved me girl (in an appropriate manner, lol) and that doesn’t much happen beyond something out of Somalia or Sudan (or even Compton; us and our pitiful national lack of conscience) these days. Because you have expressed many of my own feelings, yes about different upsetting things and situations, but that same “no good choice here” feelings that don’t provide an obvious, clear direction.
I wish I could offer some great, helpful insight, but alas, it’s never that simple. The platitudes you find on bumper stickers (or worse, from the minds of “great people”) never really apply much. You can only go over all the +’s and –‘s, total them up and make your best guess. Because that’s all it will be, a decent educated guess; you never really know fully how it will turn out. It always sounds so much easier when we read of “great” athletes/sportspersons who retire at “the top of my game” (Kenny Roberts, Michael Schumacher or Lance Armstrong come to mind), but really, those accounts of life apply to so few people they hardly count. Most of us end up making hard choices by forced circumstances, with options we aren’t all that thrilled by.
I really appreciated your very adult recognition of the crossroads you face; so many people spend life trying to avoid direct confrontation with such things, even continuing to ‘dream the dream’ long after it’s fully dead. I even copy/pasted your words for future reflection, because you so succinctly summed up our feelings, even if the particulars are different.
The only thing I can maybe add, in very small measure, is this tiny piece from a few years farther down the road of life; many things in life you can never go back to, the situation is passed, especially in athletics/sports. Time/age ends that chance after a short while. You will probably never get another change Ms. Glenn. Be really sure you are prepared to never look back and be willing to give your all to a different course, if that’s what you choose. It’s awful in life to look back and think ‘if I’d just…’ because you chose not to continue (or even start for some people). At 45 what will really matter to you? Only you can answer that, and happiness is a tough, elusive thing anyway.
One other thing; run well while you’re at it. Nothing clouds the decision-making process like half-hearted efforts. So while ‘on tour’, give it your all. It might help you focus the decision some. If you just can’t, maybe you’ve already made your decision.
Do what I do, go for a good 15 mile run and think about it, lol!

Anonymous said...

man are you going through it! when you think you have done all that you can do when you have looked in the mirror of the depths of your soul and the reflection tells you that you are satisfied then it is easy to walk away with your head held high. If not then all of what you have to do is more. More sacrifice more hardship more pain--a fleeting moment compared to the rest of your life fulfilled. I'm not saying to keep going or 4 more years 4 more years-you know what i am asking you--is there a voice in your spirit calling you--do you hear it--do you feel it--what is it asking you to do?- What does it want you to do?--the hardest thing in life to do is to get out of our own way let the manisfestation of the divine being that you are shine on through--you are the answer and you have always been that!
joep. in d.c.-sometimes vegas!-let me know when you are ready for your kobe. Ciao!

anonymousnupe said...

You're kinda cute and moderately sexy. Ever thought about modeling? Whatever you do, don't end up on a reality show on BET. You'd proly hurt a "Hell Date" midget if he jumped out on you.

BRUDERM said...

Come home. Live your life.


Anonymous said...


just enjoy every minute you have in competing and extract any bit of fun you can find in it.

can we get some Europe pics?


@ nupe: have you seen the pics on her website....O M G. they make me thank the good Lord that I am a man...hell, I'd probably saying the same if i was a female..LOL

brit_brat said...

How about you come home and babysit my kids! I'll pay you $5 a day. How's that sound?

anonymousnupe said...

Yep. I was just kidding about the modeling, Big Oscar. She's already got that on lock.

Brianna said...

anonymous(s)...while i do acknowledge that those are great sentiments and i haven't yet said which way my mind is made up, can we at least agree that real life doesn't always work that way? my thought process is simply realistic and it's easy for someone else to continue to say KEEP TRYING and DON'T EVER GIVE UP but i ain't the type of gal to be homeless on foodstamps. sorry.

and no, i can't be a model. do you notice that the only modeling i do is because i'm an athlete???

Eb the Celeb said...

Nupe always comes around to makes us laugh when we are down..

I say follow your heart... just like in a real love affair we all know when its over... even if we dont want to let it go... we all know when it is time to move on... even if we do hold on a little longer after we know... That doesnt hurt anything... so just follow your heart.

Anonymous said...

Take lots of pictures in Europe.
Enjoy your vacation. Soak in every cheer of the crowd that you can because it gets very quiet afterwards. Walk proud, and strong because you have earned it! Most of all, have fun, and go out happy and with a huge ass smile on your face.

Then come home, find a good man with money and have kids. They will be very proud of mommy Brianna.

Might I suggest you take up some form of writing as your next path in life? You seem to have a way with words which capture peoples attention.

As far as Brit_Brats offer.....I will give you $10 a day to baby sit. Too bad I don't have kids. Guess you will just have to hang out with me! :)


babyrndeb said...

I linked to your blog off of Jasmine's...what a heart felt statement you made here. We've been following you as I have a daughter who is a long distance runner for Biola...we totally feel for you and wish you the best in life!
Why don't you come coach at Biola -they need some help with the track team since our coach is more of a long distance guy (good for my daughter - not good for jumpers so much).
I'll be keeping you in my prayers.

anonymousnupe said...

What do you mean, "No,I can't be a model"?! Of course you can't if you've already convinced yourself that you can't. What kinda defeatist garbage is that? I'm surprised to "hear" a sentiment even come outta your mouth. "I can't"!? I should punch you dead in your eye for saying some (good thing I don't curse or there'd be an expletive inserted right here, dammit) like that! Your girls oughta smack the hell outta you for capitulating to such foolishness. The devil is a what? A LIAR!!!

You just pissed me off with that one. And I don't piss off easily. "I can't." Wait a minute. Lemme double check the url for this blog to make sure I'm not trippin'. Hello. Is this thing on? Did a black world-class female athlete just utter this idiocy: "I can't."?

anonymousnupe said...

Interesting article:

Brianna said...

I have no idea why that statement struck a chord. How about...I don't really want to be a model?! Modeling isn't something I strive to do or even try to be good at. Any work that I have ever been paid for was because I was Brianna -- the athlete. I'm 5'6" on a good day...just whose runway would I walk down? It's ok to know sometimes that you aren't cut out for something. I also will never have a recording contract and I used to want to be singer. But guess what -- I CAN'T sing! And there is no beating around that bush.

anonymousnupe said...

Oh. That's different. Never mind then. The difference between that at your recording contract comparison is that you've actually been paid to model already, so you're at least something of a commodity (even if it is driven by your on-field exploits, you've at least tasted modeling and have experience at it). And I actually did not envision you as a runway model, but maybe like a butt model, or abs model, or foot model, or something along those lines, shorty.


brit_brat said...

a butt model! HAHAHAHAHAHA
don't expect that check to be big.