BY JOE JACQUEZ
Reno, NV – “Ego satis sum.”
You will find this Latin phrase etched onto Shannon Sellens’ right shoulder, a phrase that she has consistently recalled at different points in her life on and off the lanes.
In English, the phrase means "I am enough," which is something Sellens has had to learn amid life’s peaks and valleys.
“There are going to be tough times; you are going to run through some challenges in your life, but if you can just stay positive enough to say, ‘You know what? You’re going to make it out on the other side,’ and just remember who you are, I think that’s important,” Sellens says.
Figuring out who she is became particularly important when, a couple of years ago, someone told her something that shook her.
A friend told Sellens they thought she was "very negative."
Sellens was taken aback.
"I never had that opinion of myself," Sellens said. "I'm very laser focused, especially when I bowl, so I think I come across in a very different way when I bowl than when I speak to someone one on one."
The former collegiate bowling standout at Wichita State said she can be negative with herself just because she puts a lot of pressure on herself to bowl well, like almost any athlete would, but she never considered that to be how she was perceived by other people.
Which compelled Sellens to do a lot of self-reflection.
"I think you have to self-reflect in a lot of ways to be a better person," Sellens said. "I am a big believer in therapy, I'm not going to lie. I think everybody should go do it."
After her stepdad Bill passed away in 2007, Sellens talked to a friend who recommended a therapist. She said she didn't realize it at the time, but she told her therapist during the first session something that would shape her recovery.
"I am so tired of being angry at the world," Sellens told her therapist while struggling to hold back tears. "I was always so angry. There were other things that happened in my life that just compounded it, and I think the first session I had with my therapist, I just balled. I said I just need to release this. I am so good at holding things in, not letting it out."
For Sellens, all she needed was that moment to release everything that had built up inside of her.
It was in this moment that Sellens realized how valuable therapy was, and she continued to see her therapist for many years after that.
Even after she moved to Long Island from her native Kansas City in April of 2013 to take over as the regional sales manager for the company she worked for at the time, Sellens still called her and had phone sessions.
It was after her move to New York that she was told she can come off as negative, which made the criticism sting all the more.
"I really thought I was kind of past that," Sellens said. "But I think relationship pressures and things that have happened since I moved to New York … I really had to take a step back and think, 'Are these things really affecting me? And clearly they are if other people are seeing me that way.'
She decided to create a new habit and every day she would post a positive or inspirational quote on her Instagram profile. There, you’ll find inspirational or thought-provoking aphorisms from the likes of Deepak Chopra, Arthur Ashe, Crypto Seneca, and Sellens herself, among others.
One of her most recent posts seems borne of her therapy experience and the criticism that initiated it: “Self-love is not about thinking you’re perfect. It’s about knowing that you’re good enough even if you aren’t perfect.”
Sellens, who hovered near the top of the leaderboard during Friday’s match-play rounds in the 2021 PWBA Tour Championship, says that applies as much to bowling as it does to life.
“I don’t have to cash in every tournament. I know that I’m not going to be perfect every time. I’m going to make mistakes. But I’m still good enough,” she says.
Each year, Sellens also picks a different hashtag.
The first hashtag was #makeitcount, then it was #keeppushing. Now, it is #neversettle.
Tattooed onto her right shoulder is another phrase: "Keep moving forward."
"It's something that I've kind of really taken to heart in the last couple of years," Sellens said. "You can't dwell on the past; you have to be always looking forward."
Sellens gets messages from people that love her posts, and it means the world to her.
"People see my stuff, and they are like, ‘Thank you so much; I needed that today," Sellens said.
Making that kind of difference in the lives of others is something she cherishes as much as any accomplishment on the lanes.
With a final round of match play set to get underway Saturday in the 2021 PWBA Tour Championship, and with Sellens currently occupying the last spot on Sunday's TV finals at 5 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network, a big accomplishment on the lanes may well be on her horizon.
But no matter how things shake out for Shannon Sellens this weekend, whether she wins or falls short, makes the show or goes home knowing how close she came, there will be one thought on her mind: "I am enough."