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There is nothing quite like writing. I don’t mean posting something on Twitter, or shooting out a dozen emails. I mean writing. With a pen(cil). On paper. With your hands. In this day and age of technology, we have simplified so many things. You can pay your mortgage with the touch of a button. You can view concerts from across the globe live on your computer. We are always connected, ever able to get to anyone, anywhere in the world within 24 hours. But have we gone too far when after writing some ten lines on a notepad, my hand cramps from the weight of the pen I’m wielding? Granted, it’s a big ol’ heavy MontBlanc pen that I have had for years and probably shouldn’t be used for much more than signing away a billion dollar company, but still. And yes, I wrote that. I was sitting on a plane, day dreaming and doodling, when my heart suddenly sank at the realization of what I just wrote on that napkin.

The romance of writing is gone. Even to-do lists, a short love note, Hell, writing one’s flight information is available on our phones, tablets and computers. I wonder if children at school learn their QWERTY’s as quickly as their ABC’s. I remember the days hen I’d write a note to a friend, obsess over how I wrote my “a’s” or how I dotted my “I’s”, would fold the note into a shape, be it an envelope, a flower, or another bit of origami. Part of the thrill would lie in how my friends would respond. Would they be able to figure out how to refold the letter? What would she write? How would she write it?

There is emotion in how we write, whether in big, loops, or in a hurried fervor, hoping that our hands would be able to keep up with the speed in which our minds race. We wrote in script, we wrote in print, and sometimes we wrote in secret languages no one but the closest of friends understood or could possibly decrypt. We’d write in journals, in our textbooks, and we’d write on napkins, receipts, on anything that had a surface to scribble something on. But now? Now our hands cramp, our minds race at the speed of 100 words per minute, and we forget. We forget the importance of writing. Much of what we want to say comes off in how we write, and so we often give people only part of the story. Truly, the romance of the scripted word is dying. It’s time we brought it back to life. Snail mail needs to come back. Or else writing will fall by the way side much in the way word of mouth, the way stories used to be told throughout the generations before writing, had disappeared.

I am hereby rededicating myself to writing notes to people, as often as I can, when given the opportunity. Even if it’s to write my friend a note wishing her good luck in her next round, or to handwrite thank you notes. The world has become so digitized, we sometimes forget how important it is to take that extra minute to write a note, and three business days for the mail to arrive at the intended person’s hand.

It’s 2003. I am eighteen years old, fresh off what would later be called the Symetra Tour, and a full time rookie on the LPGA. I am carefree, I am  young, I am precocious. I am lucky to be playing a sport that I had fallen in love with, and was getting paid based on how well I played. The first LPGA event of the season is the 2003 Welch’s Fry Circle K in Tucson, AZ. My practice round included teeing it up with Dorothy Delasin, one of my heroes growing up in Northern California, and Cristie Kerr, who would later on prove to be one of, if not the strongest American player on the LPGA tour for a number of years.

Though there is a slew of new faces, I see a lot of faces I recognize. Obviously, Lorena Ochoa and Miriam Nagl, who graduated with me from the Futures Tour, along with a littering of players that made their way through Qualifying School. There are a few players that I knew through the Junior Golf Association of Northern California like Natalie Gulbis, who was in her second year on tour at 19, and someone I always admired for her kindness to strangers and her work ethic. One thing that has always stuck in my mind was when I saw her in the locker room on Tuesday, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and she looked over at me and smiled. I shuffled over and watched her in awe and said something massively dorky like “Wow. I can’t believe we are here together.” And with her iconic, dazzling smile, Nat looked at me and said “We really are living the dream, aren’t we?”

And then of course, there were the women I grew up watching on the television. Meg Mallon. Beth Daniel. Karrie Webb. Se Ri Pak, who is deemed a deity in the world of Korean golf. And of course, Annika Sorenstam, who was one of the first players to show mind boggling dominance in the modern era of golf. These were women I looked up to, women I idolized, and women I wanted to get to know. To humanize; so I would be able to treat them with the respect and reverence they deserve, but also so I would be able to maybe one day call them friend.

Throughout my first week on tour, I got to know many names. So many I was overwhelmed, but was in such a daze that before I knew it, it was Thursday. I was paired with Miriam Nagl, whom I had graduated with the year before, and Dina Amaccapane, a player that I had seen on TV many times before. Both Dina and I missed the first green, and when I saw her play a soft lob shot and stick the ball to five feet from the hole, I just assumed I could too. Mind you, I had never really played a shot like that before. I was very much of the ilk to play flop shots when I had a perfect lie, and needed to spin the ball. I never thought to play the ball away from the ground when I had room to work with, but I figured “she could, so why can’t I?” Twenty five feet later, my dad was scratching his head and muttering about why I ever tried playing that shot, I never use that shot. Miriam was on a similar line for her birdie putt, and when I watched her ball miss on the high side, I was able to use her read and sank my par putt.

The remainder of the next two days seemed to go into a blur, and before I knew it, I made my first cut, and was playing with Deb Richard, a lady with grace and patience and encouraging words for me. The crowd that had gathered on the first tee made me cry because Saturday was my nineteenth birthday, and I went on to shoot an easy 8-under 62. Come Sunday, I was in the final pairing with the Canadian legend Lorie Kane, and briefly held the lead with birdies on my first two holes. Lorie was a fierce competitor, and she taught me a lot about how to deal with fans, how to deal with a just-turned nineteen year old and her pop lugging her bag around. We were a duo that loved being able to be on that golf course, and were eager to learn more about the way tournament golf at it’s highest level could be played. Though neither of us won (Long ball Wendy Doolan ended up smoking the golf course and us) I left the course a much more aware young lady.

In the weeks after that, I got paired with Meg Mallon, with Beth Daniel, and with Annika Sorenstam. They told me tales of how the tour used to be, how lucky we all were to be where we were. We were not only walking the trail blazed for us by the work and love of the game Babe Zaharias, Mickey Wright, Louise Suggs, and the ten other founders of the LPGA had. No, not at all. We were also walking along, trowel in hand, and paving the way for the future. The women I grew up idolizing taught me to make sure to leave the LPGA and the game of golf in a better place than I entered.

Ten years and two victories later, I feel like there has been a change of the guards. I have seen the women I idolized retire, starting with Beth Daniel, and most recently in the legendary Grace Park, who epitomized her first name. Though I am only 28, I feel like I am beyond my years, in both wisdom (which is probably a load of cow patties) and in stress on my body, my mind, my soul. The organization that I came into has been through some extremely difficult times, has risen from the ashes and re-emerged, as a new product full of gorgeous, young Americans that are business saavy and can bomb the ball.

Though I have been struggling through some physical ailments, depression, and the recession we have all been feeling, I have renewed hope in the future of the LPGA. In the last two weeks I have played with the beautiful Sydnee Michaels, Lizette Salas, and Danielle Kang. They are all gorgeous, beat the crap out of the ball, and have great heads on their shoulders. The combined age of the last three winners is 59, which is the lowest recorded score in women’s golf. 59. Granted, the lovely Kiwi Lydia Ko is only 15, but the other two winners, So Yeon Ryu and Mika Miyazato are both 22. And somehow, six years is a massive difference. Who I was at 25 and who I am right now, I can’t even begin to explain it. I just know I need to get my butt into gear, lose as much weight as yards I want to gain off my driver, and go find Juan Ponce De Leon and find me that Fountain of Youth he is reputed to have found. I will be around until the LPGA is in a better place than when I was a rambunctious 18 year old, but when I do, I know the ladies into whose hands I shall be placing the shovel and trowel will be able to continue on the path paved for them.

“I prefer the mystic clouds of nostalgia to the real thing, to be honest.” –Robert Wyatt

To me, there are very few things that can evoke memories the way that music can. Sure, the smell of Colgate sends me straight back to the days when I was a child, learning to brush my teeth. Standing over the sink with my mother, her mouth merrily frothing like a rabid animal, as we laboriously scrubbed at the germs in our mouths with our toothbrushes. Or the sharp bite of perfectly pickled kimchi that brings me back to my childhood house, mom and dad both cooking dinner for the family. Mom, with love. Dad, with flavor, also known as salt. The warmly lit house, before the days of harsh halogen lights, but the warm yellow glow of 75 watt bulbs…
But I digress. Music. Just the letters placed together form more than just a word. To me, music is the ultimate form of art. You can feel the life of the song pulsating into your bloodstream like an IV. The instruments call to you, reach into your soul and tell you of things you have yet to discover. MUSIC.
And while I can go on and on about music today, and how it has evolved since I started to appreciate it (was not too long ago, in the grand scheme of things. My history on music goes from my reading about the lives as well as listening to classical artists like Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and the like, to several Elvis tunes, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, then leaps to the mid to late 80’s. Apologies to the decades I missed!!) I am choosing today to reminisce on the artists that influenced me as a youngster, in no particular order.
1. Gin Blossoms (Hey Jealousy, Until I Fall Away, Found Out About You)-This band I first heard when I was nine years old or so. Thanks to my mother, I had been mostly brought up on learning the lives of the classical artists, through illustrated books that depicted the lives of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and the like. The other music I came across was courtesy of my older sister, whom I would catch playing Vanilla Ice and working on her Running Man in the backyard, or MC Hammer. Hearing Hey Jealousy for the first time on the television took my breath away, because there was a yearning in the voice of Robin Wilson, the lead vocalist that I had never encountered before. I still feel that yearning, all these years later, and every time I hear that song, I’m nine again.
2. TLC (Baby-Baby-Baby, What About Your Friends, Red Light Special, No Scrubs)- Now, these sisters had something special. They got me jumping, dancing, and begging my parents to deck me out in fluorescent colors, wear scrunchies, do that whole loop your shirt under and over your collar, and though their careers were tragically cut too short with the passing of Left Eye (in my posse, I was Left Eye, so I was especially distraught over her passing while filming a documentary in Honduras), they released albums from when I was seven till sixteen. They were with me when I learned how to play golf, when I started junior high and high school, and those three beautiful women were like my friends. RIP, Left Eye.
3. Gravity Kills (the ENTIRE self titled album)-This band will always be one of my favorites. I was technically a tween when I went to my very first live musical shindig, and with my older siblings, we drove all the way to the Shoreline Amphitheater to partake in KAMP KOME. The summer of 1996 will always be a great one, because there I learned the joys and magic of moshing, I saw my sister crowd surf, and thanks to the wonderful bands there like Poe, 311, Dishwalla, and Gravity Kills, I learned that letting loose, screaming like a crazed lunatic, thrashing limbs everywhere, and music could really, and truly HELP people feel better in a physical way. I couldn’t do the Running Man to save my life (I think I can tread water somewhat nowadays), I couldn’t actually hold a tune, and I had no skills with instruments. My poor mother must have been so devastated when she found out that I had a tin ear and was (still am) essentially missing a knuckle and my stumps for fingers couldn’t glide across the piano the same way hers could. But I had MOSHING. And oh, how it changed me. I still haven’t been in a physical fight with another human being, but moshing had given me an outlet that I still use to this day. THANK YOU, KAMP KOME!!!!
4. Better Than Ezra (Good, Porcelain, In The Blood, Southern Girl)- In 1995, I was really getting into music. The mainstream bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam never really touched my soul the way they did most people. I liked bands that had voices that didn’t sound like they were doped up (which, sadly, I came to find was the exact case for Kurt Cobain, RIP) and though the band hasn’t reached the heights I imagined, I still listen to In The Blood, and am back in the sixth grade, where we were king. Mrs. Smith, Matt Rogers, Derek Hansen, Tiffany Combs. Hot summer days, where everyone seemed to have a birthday party, a pool party. But more than anything, Better Than Ezra remind me of the days when I first started playing golf, where my parents would drop off my siblings and me, and we would play 54 holes a day in the summer and learn tp hone in our skills. Those were the days…
5. Nine Inch Nails (too many songs to list, but Closer, Hurt, March of the Pigs, to name a few)- Trent Reznor. WOW. What a human being. While a lot of my friends were listening to Marilyn Manson (don’t ask, I don’t know why), Rob Zombie (again, no clue), my brother introduced me to some amazing musical groups and artists, like NIN, Deep Purple, Underworld (oh, how I wish Underworld were still together!!), and I was introduced to dark ambient, industrial metal, and a whole new world of music that was created in ways most bands didn’t. I learned about Shinjuku Filth, the entire score to the movie Strange Days filled me with wonder over what the next millennium would bring. Sadly, we don’t have chips in our brains, live like every day is the end of the world, or have access to the internet in our minds. Though I think our smart phones are pretty damned close, and I DO love to wear me some black leather boots and dramatic eye makeup!!! Because that’s just what you did when it was the end of the world!!!
I could truly go on for hours more about the things that bring me back, but these were some of my biggest influences when I was a (pre)teen. Leave a comment and let me know what songs bring you back to your childhood!!!

“Advice is the only commodity on the market where the supply always exceeds the demand.”  -Anonymous

So there I was. Sulking on the practice putting green at Evian Golf Club, trying to sort out what was going on with my stroke. I struck the ball adequately, but missed far too many putts in the first round. Missing putts while striking the ball well left me with a score of 73, ten shots behind the leader Stacy Lewis. Suffice to say I was rather despondent.

I was working on reading my putts better, especially with the left to right, downhill, touchy sliders heading toward le Lac Leman, or Lac Geneve, depending on which side of the lake you were on. After having been to the Evian for ten years, I thought that I had a pretty good indication on how much the lake would effect the speed of the putts. Plus I was working ferociously on my stroke, both at the golf course and in the hotel room, and finally felt comfortable with it again. Until teetime came. Then I was trying too hard. I made a few birdies, including an awesome birdie on the first hole, but could not convert the crucial par saving, momentum swinging putts I needed. I asked my caddy to let me be, to let me sort my putting on my own, mostly so I would be able to cry my frustrations out on my own. I am not the biggest fan of crying in front of others, and I hated the idea that I needed to cry, I needed to putt, and was going to have to combine the two together.

And there I was. Working on putts ranging from three to fifteen feet, with varying amounts of break, when up comes Andrew Dearden. He caddied for me in the past, and he is without question one of the finest caddies I have ever had the honor of working with. We spent the better part of nine months working together, and the better part of ten years becoming and staying friends. We can always laugh at things, he can always help me to focus or to get over a bad shot, and moreover, he knows what he’s doing because he truly cares. Not that other caddies I have had in the past didn’t care, but Andy and I have one of the best relationships of anyone on tour. He’s one of my best mates, and so between sniffles, he came over and started chatting. He said he saw me standing by myself (whereas most other years, I would be sitting with a crowd of folks having a few at the infamous Beer Garden next to the practice green) and we just talked. About everything. And anything. He mentioned he read my blog entry on my depression, and gave me a much needed slagging for having not talked to him about it, instead of the usual coddling I had been receiving from most of the people I came across. He told me how he didn’t understand what I was going through exactly, but he would always be there to provide a shoulder to lean on, an ear to jabber into, or a hand to smack some sense into me, if need be.

For those of you that have read my book, you know a bit about Andy. He’s from Manchester, England, has a foul , mouth that I love, and through his rough edges, is more loyal to his friends than anyone I have ever met. He has been there with me through thick and thin, and he has always known when I needed a joke or a hug. He is an unsung hero in my world, one who asks for nothing (though I do owe you that Scotty for wee Mark… Resend me the deets, por favor) but for the respect any human deserves.

Suffice to say, Andy’s chat had me from crying due to frustration to spewing tears of laughter in a matter of minutes, and my mind and soul felt cleansed again. Andy is such a wonderful man, and I am so damned lucky to have entered his small circle of friends. The next day, my stroke felt so much freer, with no burden of me “having to make the cut” or anything, that I managed to one putt my first seven holes enroute to a 67. I can’t recall the last time I shot 5 under. Most people probably can’t. And though a lot of it has to do with my diligence to work on my stroke after my poor round on Thursday, there is no question that Andy’s (mostly) kind words allowed me to release a little of what was still battling inside of me. And for that, I salute you, and I thank you Chief Dearden!

Below is an essay my friend, Jessica, wrote for her English class back in England. Please read this and think the next time you want to say something harsh about someone, be it for their looks, size, orientation, or for no apparent reason. This beautiful young lady is a free spirit, who has been there for me in some of my dark days. Jessica, you are a star, shining bright in this world, and I am grateful to have you in my life. May yours be a life full of joys, and I hope we stay friends forever. I am here for you always, day or night.

“For part of our English GCSE we had to devise a persuasive speech on any topic we wanted, then perform it to an audience; mine being my class. We were told the facts didn’t have to add up, as long as they seemed plausible- the main focus of the speech being on polishing up persuasive techniques and making it as compelling as possible. It turned out everyone did very well, and we were all pretty much in favour of every speech that came out. Unlike some of the other speeches though, all these facts are true. Because this is an area very close to my heart, I wanted to research it very thoroughly and bring up the raw facts. After all, what can be more compelling than the harsh truth? I wanted to shock people.. Make them realise that it does go on, and that with the growth of the Internet it’s only getting worse. I wanted people to look at this from a different perspective. Stand in someone else’s Converse for a change. And shake them right to the very core. Because in this matter, sugar coating is not what’s needed. The world needs to be taken by the shoulders and given a King-Kong-esque shaking. Otherwise they won’t wake up and see that something needs to change. If this affects one person. Saves one person’s life, or even from being given a wedgie one time.. Then I’ve made a difference. And that to me is better than sitting back and hoping someone else will do it for you. So I’m grabbing the bull by the horns, and along with millions of others, campaigning to eliminate bullying. Not necessarily make it against the law as I wrote in my speech (we had to create a steadfast case for something and this was a good option) as my good friend pointed out – illegalising it would open up a whole can of worms in terms of the extent of the bullying, what could be classified as bullying, the fact that even though bullying is a more than horrific ordeal it can make you stronger, some people don’t even realise what they’re saying and the impact it’s creating, and that it’s kind of wrong to lock up a six year old for breaking your toy train.. ” -Jessica

This is written in speech format, so if it sounds a little different to classic prose, that’s why.. And being told we could write about anything stunned me for a little while.. I was honestly lost. But then I thought. So many children, and hell, adults out there can’t speak or don’t have anyone to speak for themselves. And I’m being given an opportunity to do it for them. So I did.
There will always be that someone you would do anything for. Picture their face in your head; study it, and relish it, be it father, sister, or a friend; that face you’d climb Everest to make smile. But some are better than others at concealing things beneath their seemingly calm and collective veneer, and ever-present smile. Bodily scars are visible, etched on the skin for a given amount of time, but they soon fade away, with little evidence of their existence. Emotional scars are harder to find, and can be much more damaging. Unlike those of the physical variety, these make themselves scarce, but they are always there; not something you can patch up with some tape and an eye patch. They are there for life, irreversible, all-consuming, all-knowing; hidden to the naked eye with as little as a smile. The line between banter and bulling is one that is frequently crossed, but because it is so frequently crossed, it’s hard to judge when it’s been overstepped. This is why, especially in this school where corridors are rife with careless comments, it’s hard to pinpoint, and cork. But feelings are much harder to bottle up than champagne.
‘It’s this hollow feeling that starts at your heart. A stabbing pain takes over the hollowness and you cry in anguish. It’s nothing compared to the death of your grandfather. Because your best friend is around the same age as you. You don’t expect them to leave so young. The pain is like a rusty blade, piercing your heart repeatedly, over. And over. And over. Your mind goes through all the memories you’ve had since day one. The tears overwhelm your eyes and you cannot see. Your eyes sting with the pain. Crying over and over. This pain is so unbearable. You cannot breathe anymore… Is this how he felt? Finally, you can fly away like you always wanted, for you are in the arms of the angels now. I love you always.’
The words of Colleen Chavalier, writing a blog to break the news to the world of her best friend, Jamie Hubley’s suicide on Friday 14th October 2011. If anyone would listen. But they did. Jamie’s death made headlines around the world, and more and more teenage suicides are making the news. He was just 15 years old. His crime? Being unashamedly gay. Through this, the Trevor Project was created, which is a suicide prevention organisation for the LGBT community. But I believe more should be done, because campaigning and detentions aren’t enough. Do you really believe a time-wasting detention, bereft of any significance in the grand scheme of things will deter a bully from their next victim? You may think suicide is a bit far-fetched for the average bully victim, but in 2004 there were 4,599 teenage suicides, the overriding cause being Depression, due to self-hatred, thanks to bullying. And that’s only the reported ones, before people cottoned on to the idea of using social media on the internet to victimize and humiliate. If you sit down and think about it, we are all born differently; no two of us are exactly alike, so if we choose to live our lives or act differently, why does that make us a bad person, abused for simply being who we are? In 2007 the rate of teenage suicides increased to it’s highest jump in 15 years, with a 119% increase in the method of hanging and suffocation. That increase was in girls aged 10-14 years. Do you have any little sisters or friends? You just can’t imagine it. It rips you apart. And official reports state the LGBT community are 2-3 times as likely to attempt suicide. This is why Bullying needs to become an official crime and therefore illegal. PSE talks and trips to the Headmaster simply aren’t effective enough. Action needs to be taken now, before it becomes too late. But the extent to which some are abused goes beyond what is socially or morally acceptable. 14 year old Jamie Rodemeyer wrote on his blog “i always say how bullied i am but no one listens. What do I have to do so that people will listen to me?’’ Found by his parents, just hours after his death. After his wake, the bullies at his school were found chanting ‘we’re glad you’re dead’ and yelling hateful chants. Being bullied after death. When will you finally leave them alone? Is beyond the grave not far enough? You wanted them gone, and now they finally are yet you still persist to slur the names of boys and girls who just want to live their lives free from oppression and labels and just be themselves. Is being an individual, what we are all born, for none of us are truly the same, such an offense? The openly gay student posted a video on YouTube months before his death, when the bullying for a while slowed down, saying ‘it gets better’, quoting the foundation set up with the same name in response to the growing number of LGBT suicides, in which successful adults post videos to troubled teenagers assuring them that there is a huge amount of respect for them out there, and that people are listening, and there is hope. In the video he promised others bullied like him that things do improve, and that friends had a huge impact on him feeling secure and safe, leading parents and friends to believe his future was bright. . Unfortunately, though things did not get better for Jamey and he took his life 4 months after the video was posted after the culmination of years of merciless bullying online and playground taunts from peers.
Friendship and love though do help so much with cases of bullying; the knowledge that there are people out there who love you and accept you for who you are gets you through the day, and a lack of this is what leads to desperate measures like suicide which are taken purely because they want to feel loved, and that they do have a place in this world. Stepping out of your comfort zone to stand up or help another may do more than you know. But I am now, being given a chance to speak, so I will speak for those that aren’t given the chance to. For those that find themselves shouting, with no-one to hear. For those that were and still are being ignored, which is the ultimate killer. If we don’t step back and realise the consequences of our own actions, it may be too late. Don’t let that someone you love suffer what Jamie Hubley and Rodemeyer, and the thousands that took their own lives suffered. I will fight. So I can be broken. I will fly. So I can be shot down. And I will speak. So they can be heard.
It gets better. I promise.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A POST REGARDING MY BATTLE WITH DEPRESSION. THOUGHTS AND VIEWS HERE BELONG SOLELY TO ME, CHRISTINA KIM, AND NOT THOSE OF THE LPGA.

This post is the result of what started as a small nugget in my brain a few months ago. I was going through another bout of uncertainty, of unhappiness and I knew I needed to let go of some things. Little did I know just how therapeutic this process has been. I wrote this for myself, first and foremost. I thought that writing about what I faced the last two years would help me, but I had no idea just how much. That letting go I mentioned? My letting go and facing my issues has been a cleansing I never thought I would experience in a hundred years. To be blessed with having people in my life that have been there through it all with me, I have no words. Just my eternal gratitude and thanks.

Please understand no one is at fault here. I had a relatively normal upbringing, with parents and siblings that loved me almost too much, if that is possible. I learned life’s lessons in a wonderful environment, with love and encouragement, and had parents that worked their tails off to give my siblings and me the opportunity to achieve anything, with hard work and perseverance. They were, still are and always will be my biggest role models, and I am fortunate to have their love and guidance with me as I near REAL adulthood.

There are very few people who do what they love, and I am one of those lucky few. The opportunities I have been given by the LPGA is nothing short of everything I could have ever dreamt of. As a seventeen year old, standing at Futures Tour Q school, I was presented the opportunity to prove that I was good enough to play professionally, and both my family by blood, as well as family by the years I have spent playing on the LPGA have always had a shoulder to cry on, a kind word, and given me every opportunity to express myself and seek help. Without the LPGA, I wouldn’t have had the support of my nearest and dearest friends, of the opportunities to meet some of the world’s best doctors, or the fans I have come across that have been another huge help in my everyday struggles.

I never wrote this in hopes that someone in the media would pick up on a story. I understand I am under the microscope, but I feel it is so much more important that I share my experiences, from my own hands, with my own voice, than to worry about what sensationalist story someone in the media could potentially write in attempts to garner a story that simply isn’t there.

Secondly I chose to open up about this to let people know that depression is, but should not be looked upon as a taboo subject. The CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) estimates (as of March 2011) that 1 in 10 adults report depression. Think of what the number might be of adults who let their depression go unreported, unheard. It is a difficult subject to broach, but one that must be brought to the open. If by writing this, I am able to help even one soul seek help for what too many of us keep hidden in shame, my life’s work would be fulfilled. Because to live a life where one does not attempt to help others… What kind of life is that?

Lastly, please understand how difficult it was for me to write this. I seek no pity, need no comments or encouragement. I have a wonderful support system in the people I hold dear to my heart, and I know this battle is one I will be fighting for the rest of my life. Just please grant me the respect deemed anyone who writes a post, be it good, awful, or funny. We as human beings owe that to one another.

Depression. Thoughts of suicide. Irritability. The inability to smile.

No, this isn’t an advertisement for Prozac. This has been my life for the last two years. It’s scary to admit. That word, depression. That word often brings to mind an image of some white faced, overdramatic emo Goth girl with deep black eye makeup, blood red lips and a hatred for all of the adults in the world. Or else a listless blonde-her children wailing for attention in the background, a husband who works overtime far too often, with eyes rimmed with tears. However, a vibrant, effervescent, smiling-nay, laughing woman with a great career, (some) adoring fans, and the ability to play golf at a level most people only dream of does not come to mind. Yet, here we are. I don’t know when it started, or what caused this, but it has had me in its grips for the better part of two years. This is going to come out without much thought, so pardon me if the timeline skips around.

I guess one of the main catalysts to my feelings of worthlessness would be the decline of my golf game, though it’s hard to say which came first, or which affected the other more. It’s the whole chicken vs. the egg story. I play like crap, I feel bad. I feel like a@$, I play like $&!#. And the vicious cycle goes on. And on. And on. You get the gist of it. Back in 2010, I flew to Malaysia to play in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. I was so thrilled to be back in the Asia swing, and the reception we received was (and still is) among the best we get all year. We stayed at a beautiful resort, with incredible sights and amazing food. And I was so excited to play well. I, thinking I was being proactive, went to the spa to get a massage. Loosen up my muscles after a long day (and a half) of travel, and get back into tournament mode. Little did I know that massage would provide me with ailments that I am just now getting over. In the end, I got stretched and bent towards the end of the massage so deeply, I felt my spine give a yelp, and my L5-S1 got some form of a strain. I lost a club of yardage in the first week, another club lost within the next three weeks that followed. For the first time since I was 14, I couldn’t hit an 8 iron 145 on the fly. Even if I had a gun pointed to my head, I would not have been able to even sniff 140. I was lucky to get 130 yards out of it. Max. Even though I ended up limping into a top-10 in Malaysia, the seed of doubt had been laid in my brain.

I understand this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but try to imagine where I am coming from. Imagine that something you tried to do to help your body get prepared for your job, your career, essentially your life and livelihood, turns around and bites you in the bum. Your maximum skillset gets depleted by some 15-20%. That’s up to 1/5 of your strength, your intelligence, your vocabulary. It is pretty decimating. To this day I am still working on my numbers. Back then, my initial thought was swing longer, to create more lag, which will get distance back. Twenty months later, I was overswinging to the point that I made John Daly’s backswing look like a chip shot. By adding 80+ degrees to my swing (no joke), I had lost nearly all of my beloved ball striking capability. So, that being said, I lost speed, distance, AND direction?! What the Hell else did that leave me with? A lot of head scratching, head slamming (both mine and the clubs’) and lots of screaming “FORE”.

However, thanks to the works of Sean Foley and Kevin Smeltz, I have gotten my swing back into a much better place. However I have a long way to go yet, and with some patience, and some time, I think my swing will be back better than ever.

Suicide. People so freely use the term “I could kill myself”, and I am ready to admit I have used said term, or something like it, on many occasions. In all fairness, who hasn’t? When you get dumped, you wonder if offing yourself is worth it. Will the person who left you mourn the loss of you in their life? Would anyone care? You missed another cut. You want to end it, so that you don’t have to face the questions from your friends, family, media, Hell, even people on Twitter that don’t even know you. However, sometimes you are found grappling with a sudden, truly debilitating feeling. You feel lost, alone in a sea of people-people that truly don’t give a damn about you, some of whom actually relish in knowing you are suffering. You have no one to confide in, so you are left with this festering sensation, one that spreads throughout your body, your mind, into your very heart like some noxious poison, and you have no idea how to get the antidote. This feeling fell upon me for the first time in the beginning of 2011. I would be driving down a winding road, and suddenly feel the desire to wrench the steering wheel into an oncoming car, or over the railing, bracing myself against the free fall drop before the hunk of metal I’m driving (most likely a rental car) hits the ground, rolling over and over, until the car and I are a crumpled mess on the floor. The pain will be gone, the need to be “perfect” or “happy” will be no longer necessary. But something always kept me from doing it.

The time I call my one chance to actually end it came on an evening in April of 2011. I was playing the LET’s Euro Nations Cup with Brittany Lincicome, and I had my boyfriend, Duncan, caddying for me. Earlier in the day, after having suffered a bad day on the links, I was on the putting green, working on my six foot putts. I missed a number of them for par on the golf course, and I was so frustrated, I was in tears on the practice green. Like, a blubbering mess. A kid who got told no for the first time. Duncan tried his best to soothe me, though any other person would have run for the hills at the sight of me. I think at the time I had sprouted a third eye and must have looked as snotty as any four year old with a cold. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. The reason I even had six footers for par was because I couldn’t hit a green to save my life. My stats were down in nearly every department. My back was still on the fritz, and I was hitting it nowhere, but everywhere. I broke down (again) while on the range that afternoon, threw a fit, because the one thing I never had to worry about, my ball striking, had been running around on me. Every now and then moments of brilliance would pop up, but they were becoming more and more rare. I would catch a glimpse of the end of the rainbow, but never was able to actually see where that damned Leprechaun kept his pot of gold.

That evening, during a players’ party, held in a beautiful building overlooking the ocean, I went for a walk around. There was loud music, delicious food, wine and champagne flowed freely, and the inescapable sound of laughter. None of that appealed to me in the least. All I wanted was to be alone with my thoughts. I walked around the entire building, searching for some solitude, when I came across a corner overlooking the ocean that was not only unoccupied, but was also completely free of anything related to the party. I stood at the corner, gazing down at the Mediterranean, and leaned over. It was quiet, peaceful, and oh how I wanted to be a part of that silence! It was too easy, for me to just step over the wall of the building, as it was only waist high, and plummet two stories into the ocean. Though it seems I was born with two rather, robust, floatation devices already built in, I am about as hydro dynamically built as a rock. I am not what people would call a swimmer, and a leap into the depths of the Mediterranean would have surely been sufficient enough for me to drown. I was so close to leaping over the edge, but a flurry of nonstop phone calls from Duncan, as well as me having the keys to the car, were the only reasons I didn’t go. It wasn’t because I had some sort of “light at the end of the tunnel” BS thoughts. I knew at the time I had a wonderful life, with my golf game able to rise from the ashes, a wonderful man in my life who loves me for who I am, regardless of my looks or my golf game or how much money I have to my name, and the opportunity to travel to some of the most exotic places on Earth. But none of that mattered. Somehow, I was able to block it out, or maybe it wasn’t enough for me. All I could focus on were the negative thoughts that were dragging me down, as if I was already inhaling water into my lungs, getting pulled away from the surface of the ocean. In the end, a well placed phone call, and me being stupid enough to not pass the keys over to someone else, kept me from going overboard.

This may not seem like an actual attempt upon my life to you. People throughout time have been creative with ways they take their own lives. There are many easier ways to take one’s life. Of this I am aware of. But I do not like needles much, so depressing air into my body seemed rather painful and unpleasant. Going for the wrists? I’d probably cut the wrong way. Asphyxiation? I don’t know if I would have the ability to find a rope strong enough to hold my weight. All of these thoughts have occurred to me. The Mediterranean was my go-to at the time.

A couple of months later, as I was laying in bed at the Broadmoor Hotel during the week of the U.S. Women’s Open, I was suddenly seized by a feeling deeper than sadness. Of grief over the things that went through my life. I suddenly felt like I was back in Spain, and had taken the leap, and was flailing in cold black waters and I couldn’t reach the surface. By this point I knew I wasn’t going to attempt to take my life ever again, as it would be more hassle than anything else. When I die, I hope it is peaceful and police or cleaning crews aren’t required. But there I was, in this luxurious hotel room, a perfect bed, and I suddenly broke down. I must have been a sight to behold! Between sobs, I could hear Duncan asking me what was wrong, where was I hurting, what can he do for me. Crying hysterically, I think I managed to tell him about what happened in Spain, how he saved my life and he may have to yet again take part in that role. As the feeling subsided to the point I could breathe again, I realized something was not right. Take me long enough, I know. I dialed my doctor, and spoke with him at length about how I was feeling, what went through my head, and I regaled my incident from Spain. After hearing all of this, we discussed the possible physical and chemical changes to my body and brain. After listening to the doctor describe different receptors in the brain, the things our bodies as human secrete into our systems to help us survive, I was prescribed an antidepressant. A tiny little green pill (seriously, it’s the size of a grain of rice. Maybe not quite as thick, but it was tiny) was supposed to help my body to release seratonin? Seriously? I started to take it after missing the cut at the US Open, and within a few weeks I was having fewer and fewer really negative thoughts. I was able to smile more. To be a little happier. Things no longer felt as bleak as they once did, and apparently I started having some extremely vivid but strange dreams. Shown here is a drawing I made on my iPhone depicting one of the main characters from such a dream that I had the damnedest time explaining to Duncan. A big honking turtle with massive, goofy teeth? And a rhinoceros that was chasing people, but turned out to be two people in a rhino costume?! I think Duncan initially enjoyed my waking him up to tell him about the “strange dream I had last night”, but thirty nights later, I think the amusement  had been spent. He just wanted to sleep.

I ended up taking my little green pill for the better part of six months. After that time, I decided to talk to my doctor again. Life was not so bad, and I felt like I was a big enough girl that I could face the world without my rose colored glasses. I began to slowly wean off of it, and after a while, I was no longer taking it, and not having any crazy seratoninless days. My brain started to secrete it full blast on it’s own, and has not stopped, thankfully. I am still free from its reaches, and I don’t think I will need to take it again.

Now to the present. Even though I have had to date the worst year of my career, and it’s only July, I am cautiously optimistic. Harrowing as it has been to relive the last year and a half of my life, in doing so, I also feel more cleansed than I have in a very long time. Life is not so bad. In fact, it is grand. It’s the one thing we are sure of ever having. I know that I have a wonderful support system, with more people that care about me than I can think of. To those people, I am ever grateful. And to all of those who wish to see my demise, for you I am also grateful. Because without yin, where would one’s yang lie? I am learning to take the good days with the bad days. It is the ebb and flow of life, and as I used to always say, “Enjoy the Ride.” Because this is one for the record books. And as my career, my life, continue on, I will hold my head high and know that I had the strength to share what I have experienced with people, that I will be there for people if they need me, and I will have lived with purpose.

And I will be damned if I don’t go down without a fight. Preferably against a bear. Because aside from it being swift, I mean, come on, that would be epic.

Well, after having missed the cut at the US Women’s Open (and the week before that. And the week before that… Yes, that sentence applies to most weeks so far this season, I know) and taking a few days to myself in my room, with the lights off and minimal interaction with other humans, I woke up bright and early to go get back into the groove. Mentally I was refreshed, in an overall better mood, and excited to get back to playing some golf.
I headed out to Lake Nona to practice and play with my bears and Sutter, an aspiring tour golfer. He is beefcake with brains, and he might hit the ball further than anyone I have ever actually played golf with. Give em both a follow on twitter, why don’t ya?
Anyway, after getting warmed up on the range, it struck me how the three previous weeks on tour were HOTTER than it was in Orlando. (believe me when I say that. I usually complain about the heat here because it’s normally unbearable, but triple digits the last three weeks have immunized me to the effects of Orlando heat) Needless to say, I was quite pleased with that outcome, and thoroughly enjoyed having my brain cells working by the time I came up the 18th green. I was a bit rusty, no doubt, but quite pleased with how I was putting and swinging towards the end of the round. On a side note- I think I’ve fallen once again into the trap of the Sabertooth. My Scotty Cameron putter and I had not been on the best terms in the world the last few months, and I think going back to a face balanced putter was inevitable for me. As much as I love my Scotty, I think it’s best we part ways. Mind you, that being said in still taking her with me everywhere I go, juuuust in case the spell breaks and I come to my other senses.
After a rather lackluster round, including several birdies and a few bogeys, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and watch the start of the John Deere Classic. Incredible to think that last year, Steve Stricker shot 188 in three rounds. 188?! That would be two rounds of 63 and a 62 tossed in there. I would love to see the golf course myself, because it looks like a beautiful challenge through the tv, but must look like a walk in the park for Steve over there!! Insanity! That being said, I think we all felt the need to hit the range for a brief stint to try and Strickerize our games. I worked primarily on my 6-iron, as that club had given me a bit of a tough time earlier in the round, and once we became BFFs again, I figured I should spend some time with ol Sabertooth. We had a relatively productive day, and I have to admit… I have missed my Callaway insert. I think she’s here to stay, even if there are a few nicks and gnaw marks on the head. We all have scars, some visible, while some lie deeper than just skin deep. Seeing the results of some of the battles the putter has fought, be them with me or with the woes of travel (though I’m sure they’re mostly due to me…), brings a smile to my face. And I haven’t stood on a putting green with that sort of reaction in a long time, it seems. So even though I didn’t spend hours on the putting green, I got a good deal of mental and internal productivity done today, which I can merrily say happened for the first time in ages. It’s a good thing we finished when we did, because twenty minutes by car later, I came across thunder, lightning and lashing rains at my doorstep. But even this scene out my bedroom won’t put a damper on my day! I feel like I’ve truly started to come out of my funk. Smiles more readily form, thoughts aren’t immediately negative, and more importantly I feel good. It’s been a great day. And tomorrow can only get better.

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