Even if the answer might be simple, the details are often egregious.
It occurred to me just last Friday, as I found myself in the middle of the dance floor at the album release party for Dr. Alicia Gwynn’s debut album, I AM.
Listening to 'No Place I’d Rather Be,' and relating to each and every lyric, gave me a sense of inner peace that many seek, but few find. And I wondered, how did I get here? How did I get this happy after everything that happened back there –– against all odds?
The last year and a half has been an unexpected thrill ride for me since walking away from the one thing most people would assume to be the most important thing in my life –– something I worked so hard to achieve. A year and a half ago, I walked away from the WNBA and no one could have anticipated it.
Since then, I have grown and changed, and frankly...I am better, because I left.
I have sacrificed a level of comfortable fame, and a rather decent amount of money –– albeit far from the equivalent to my male counterparts. Most of all, however, I sacrificed an identity that other people held in such high regard.
Just before making the decision to retire from basketball at age 29, I'd come to the realization that I was playing the game for everyone else. And that was the most troubling aspect of it all. I'd lost myself in the midst of it all and allowed my personal interests to come second to the world's.
Soon after retiring, I was met with another realization. I'd signed my life away to a tradition that so erroneously devalues women –– and it had come at a price. For me, walking away from the WNBA reestablished my worth as a woman, an athlete, and a professional. And I knew I'd have to start my life over again, but that didn't frighten me. I was up for the challenge.
Today, there is nothing I miss about that time in my life, though I am grateful to have had it. Everyday, I played the game of basketball as though it was my last. I didn’t abuse my talent and natural abilities, and enjoyed every moment of the competition so thoroughly that there is no room for regret.
And this is my message to a younger generation of women with dreams of accomplishing what I have. Letting go is never easy, and I wouldn’t suggest it unless one has the conviction that must come with sacrifice. The process doesn't happen overnight. It is a steady movement, forward into clarity, and an exploration of who you would like to become. During this process, you may discover your true passion and finally get in touch with your inherent purpose.
This brings me to this part of my journey, and where you meet me, at the new and improved CandiceWiggins.com.
In this place, I can share my thoughts and opinions, as can you. Here, I am given a freedom I have never known, a freedom that allows me to display who I am off the court and away from the trappings of professional sports. Here, I can show you all aspects of my life and the transformation that brought me this far. Here, I speak for myself after years of having others speak for me.
As my mentor, Dr. Alicia Gwynn has so graciously shared her life with the world through her music, I am now ready to share my life in much the same way. Here, I leave proof of a life well lived, and one with endless possibilities.