So a couple days ago, when I took a week off website stuff to be with family and recoup, I got this comment from some cranky guy:

“Lauren-

How do you expect this website to stay relevant if you only answer question ~once a week?!?  The website idea and layout are good but zero new content or effort is put in on your part. Is this how you go about every task you take on?

Jay Silver”

Even now, re-writing that final line makes me want to punch him. I got it at 10pm one night, while I was in New York with my sister for her graduation, and my first reaction was like, “Well that’s rude.  I’ll erase it in the morning; time for sleep.” In the dark 10×7 foot cave that is my sister’s Manhattan bedroom, I lay restlessly between my mom and sister on the queen bed, their sleeping sounds humming on either side like a beehive.  Potential responses to the comment ran through my mind, my pulse quickening with the emotion it generated.

As I fought for sleep, my exhaustion turned the hypothetical conversation into a repeating loop that refused to be silenced; eventually it ran its course and I was granted peace.  But I still woke up pissed off.  How could I let that get under my skin?  Was it just this comment or was it the sum of his comments?  This guy had tried to get under my skin before.  Was it that he changed his email address to a fake so he could hide behind the internet?  As I thought about it over coffee, I realized that none of those things really bothered me.  It was because there was a part of me that sympathized with his frustration.

I wish I could write every day, but sometimes its not possible.  And its not because I don’t have time.  I do.  Its because I don’t have the energy to spare.  And that is the part that is hard for people to comprehend, and the question that needed answering.

There are downsides to exposing yourself (beyond tickets from the police).  Being misunderstood is part of the human experience, and when you open yourself up to strangers that don’t know your backstory, it gets amplified.  That’s just part of the deal.  So I wrote a response to Mr. Silver, not to justify rudeness, but because he brought out a part of this “athlete lifestyle” that was worth sharing.

Dear Jay Silver,

Your second question isn’t even worth sneezing at, but your first question is a good one.  I love working on this website and helping people out.  But first and foremost I am a professional athlete and a wife/sister/daughter.  Being a professional athlete is a 24/7/365 job, a job that on some days wrings every last ounce of emotional energy from me like a dirty rag.  Anyone who writes introspectively knows that it, too, takes emotional energy.  The well of that energy source is only so deep, and on days when I know I’ll need it all for my primary goal of athletics, I don’t write.

This site has been a dream of mine since college.  Hundreds of torn-out pages from notebooks with scribbled ideas and interactive concepts have littered my desk for 7 years now.  But the energy required to do my sport has always taken precedence. If it hadn’t been for the 18 month injury that rocked my world, I never would have taken the time and risk, and this humble version of my ideas wouldn’t be here.  It will only get better with time.

There are many reasons professional athletes don’t often open their lives and share their daily story.  It’s hard to balance what to share, when to share it, and whether its worth it to make yourself vulnerable or not to public scrutiny.  But in the end, I feel there is a story to be told and questions to answer, and you’ll just have to trust that I’m doing my best.

Here’s what I recommend:  sign up for my email list on the top right column of this site.  Rather than checking the site blindly for updates, you’ll get an email when there is a new post.  Revolutionary, I know.

-Lauren