What's Your Label?

An introspective glance into the mind of a washed-up D1 athlete.

Photo: Unsplash

All-American.

Captain.

D1.

Rugby Player.


Party Girl.

icuddy (feel free to follow me on IG).

Wild.

Little Sister.


Honor Student.

Academic.

Tutor.

Teachers Pet.


Mental Health Advocate.

Roommate.

Friend.

Designated Driver.


While I don't love the idea of labels, I do believe that we all have words that suit us. Those words don't carry equal weight, but they are just SOME of the labels I've been associated with over the last four years.


More than anything, the athlete-related words went far beyond labels, they became my identity. I was known as the 'rugby player' on campus. People that I didn't know, who didn't know me, would pass me by in the dining hall or in the hallway and bring up some rugby-related story they saw me in.


05.01.21: aka the day of the school-wide senior athlete banquet at Sacred Heart.


We had a ceremony that morning for all of the coaches, trainers, and seniors on every sport team at school. The purpose was to recognize individual excellence, with eight awards for both men and women. So everyone there (maybe 100?) was being considered for the same eight awards. I ended up winning two of the female awards. To put it simply, that doesn't happen. Everyone was shocked and impressed, including myself.


Later that day I was pumping gas at my favorite station in Bport when some guy pulled in across the parking lot and walked over to me.

"Double awards girl!" He smiled, as he fist bumped me.

My point is, I've gotten used to so many labels revolving around rugby and my life as an athlete. To now be done, washed up (as they say), feels unreal. Mentally, I was ready to report for pre-season this month, as I have for the last three Augusts.


To say I'm having an identity crisis would be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's also not completely inaccurate.


You have to understand, I was heavy on the, 'Hi I'm Izzy, I play D1 rugby' and even though I've graduated, it's hard to just flip a switch and not mention it. I mean, I still find myself bringing up rugby now.


The other day I was at a grad party, and when I met someone new I paused at my introduction, not knowing what to share.


Even something as simple as my name was confusing in the moment.


Anyone who went to high school or grew up with me calls me 'Isabel' or 'Cuddy' and nothing else. My nickname was really discovered during rugby, and when I arrived at Sacred Heart I chose to only go by 'Izzy.' Now, I work full-time and have continued to choose Izzy. I don't present it as a nickname anymore, it's simply my name. Me.


So, at the grad party with my old high school friends, I told the new people I met that my name was Izzy, even though I knew that no one there would be calling me that.


The reality is that I've had two completely different identities over the last eight years.


Isabel from Cheshire.

2017: Freshman year of high school... god bless glow-ups

Isabel from Cheshire was an awkward girl who was riddled with anxiety.


She had a lot of acquaintances, but only had a few friends she saw outside of school. She never really went to parties, got drunk, or did any of the other things people her age were doing.


Truthfully, there wasn't anything head-turn worthy or extraordinary about her. She led an extremely calm, boring life. In every aspect, she was simply... average.


vs.


Izzy from Sacred Heart.

2021: Senior spring- I didn't know it then, but this was the end of my incredible metabolism

Izzy, aka icuddy, from Sacred Heart was a confident extrovert who lived by the motto 'work hard play harder.'


She was a carefree, hard working, go-getter who inspired excellence from those in her life.


She was a spontaneous 'yes' girl who believed in trying anything once. She liked to live life by putting her happiness and energy first.


She was hard (impossible) to overlook.


Now that both of those phases are over, it's my hope that post-college life finds me some new words...new pieces of identity. I know it's time for me to reinvent myself and continue growing in my current career.


That brings us to today.


Izzy at McCann.

2021: Graduation Day- The beginning of my traveling (RI, NY, AR, MIA, etc.)

Izzy at McCann is a new employee, excited to start her career.


She is trying to find her way, and during the transition she has lost a little bit of her confidence.


However, Izzy knows how to persist through adversity, and is working on getting her confidence back so she can execute her role with stunning excellence.


She has toned down a bit (not much) but is looking for more substantial relationships and friendships. The day she found adulthood and officially became washed up was the day she signed up for her 401K (last month).


Today, her current words are:


Sister.

Daughter.

Writer.

Assistant Account Executive.

Traveler.

Recent graduate.

Bartender.


{Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes now, I'm done speaking in third person.}


Who knows, maybe once I'm in-person for work (fingers crossed) I can add some new words...author, bridesmaid, girlfriend? After all, this is the time for me to explore life, chase anything that will bring me joy, and promote personal growth.


At the end of the day, the only words that matter are the ones you associate yourself with. If you don't like one of them, make a change.


If there's one thing I've come to realize since graduation it's that we determine our own labels. After all, ones future is determined by the individual, so why settle for labels and words that don't suit us?


It's like my list of current words...writer vs assistant account executive vs bartender. They all serve very different purposes in my life.


Who I am, the thing that brings me joy, it's simple -- a writer.

How I spend my days, learning and adapting to the business world -- an AAE.

What I do to make money -- bartend.

If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life, but who really loves their job? -Said by every faded adult ever.

How many people actually LOVE their jobs? 50%? 25%? 5%? Life is too damn short to be in the rather large percentage (I'm assuming) of adults who are miserable by day and indifferent by night.


Wake up every day and find joy in your daily life. Find things that excite and challenge you. Don't become complacent and turn 50 wondering a million 'what ifs.'

Photo: Unsplash

Therefore, I challenge you to do at least one thing every day that makes you happy. Make time for happiness.


Until next time --


xx

Izzy