I am proud of myself.
Eight weeks ago I started a journey I knew was way beyond my ability and because of that, it terrified me. I have never taken on a physical challenge like this and it was completely un-chartered territory.
I’m used to doing things I’m good at. This time, however, I put myself directly in the middle of my uncomfort zone, taking on something I knew, initially, I’d suck at. But there’s something about purposefully making yourself uneasy when you know something else greater waits for you on the other side. It builds character – and this time in a way I’ve never experienced. It created an internal sense of confidence which, step-by-step, made my world get bigger, better.
There were times I wanted out. I wanted to quit. I was anxious. I was fearful to the point of hating what I was doing and not knowing why I was continuing to do it. I felt like I didn’t belong and that I was in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. I felt like crap about myself for not performing well. I was mean to myself. Many times, I fell into the dark abyss of comparing my lacking ability to the better performance of others. There were times I was nearly throwing up during practice. There were times I was throwing up hours before practice. But, despite my doubts and pain, I continued on. Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate.
Then I started to hear a common thread emerge. I was reading a score of other fresh meat blogs. I was talking with my own (better performing) nugget compadres. And this thing I was feeling, the shadow side of my experience, was being echoed across the ethers. At first it confounded me to hear it coming from the mouths of those I deeply admire. From those who were inches away from making their endurance requirement of 25 laps in five minutes. From those who had beautiful crossovers. From those who skated wobble-free from the very first night of boot camp.
And then, within the cacophony of this newborn requiem, I recognized it. What I’ve rightly named as Nugget Syndrome: Whereby one’s sense of self confidence and self-esteem is rocked to the core by a new-found obsession which finds itself flying above the rooftops on a towering pedestal. The vastness between reality and the obsession is so great that only a psychic tantrum such as Nugget Syndrome can provide the fuel necessary to propel one’s self forward with enough vigor to reach toward the sky. Maybe van Gogh’s ear wasn’t simply the end of the line, yet the rocket juice he needed to reach a higher plane.
Once I realized this affliction, and its commonness, I got over myself in a big way. On the heels of Viva Violence, our team captain, telling me to STFU after an engulfing whine, I dropped the Syndrome in exchange for getting closer to my destiny. Don’t get me wrong, it served me well, as I imagine it does many others after the starting gun fires. But with all relationships, there comes a time to part ways and move forward with strength. I’m glad I recognized my moment when I did instead of choosing to get stuck with a partnership that had shot its wad. We all know those are only castles burning.
I chose to celebrate my accomplishments and pay homage from where I came. It doesn’t matter how small or big they are in comparison to others. They are mine. And they have given me entrée to a sense of self-respect I have not known before. I leave these eight weeks behind and open my arms to the next phase of my derby life. I will continue working toward passing my assessments and becoming a full-fledged, bouting member of our team.
Touching the stars, or even grasping for them, isn’t easy business or for the faint of heart. It’s a job for crazies, Amazons, warriors and badasses – like me.
Note to Self: When the DJ calls out Couples Skate, do not go for what you imagine to be a romantic glide around the rink with husband when said husband is even more of a rookie than you are – unless falling in a heap ontop of each other is part of the plan. Make no mistake, falling rookie husbands on skates go in the same category as drowning people. They *will* take you down in order to preserve themselves.
These quotes were taken from a recent Huffington Post article. Love them!
“Unemployed? Fat? A lawyer? Rich housewife? Who cares? We all smell the same at the end of practice. It’s a “no judgment zone” where everyone can let their freak flag fly.”
~ Blonde Phantom, 47, Providence Roller Derby
“I never want to be that woman who lets fear keep her from doing new things or the things she really wants to do. I tell people “It’s not a tragedy to die doing what you love to do. The tragedy is dying never having done what you always wanted to do.”
~ Vi Suvius, 50, Ventura County Derby Darlins
“There will be nursing homes filled with cranky old women who don’t want to be babied and will hip check anyone trying to force them to do something.”
~ Patti Wackin, 40, Kansas City Roller Warriors
“Derby gives women a place where they belong, especially women who don’t fit in anywhere else. I have always been a take-charge kind of woman and usually felt like a fish out of water in traditional woman’s groups, but I have always felt accepted for myself among derby women.”
~ Batterin’ Gram, 56, Minnesota Roller Girls
“My opponents don’t care how old I am, and I don’t care how old they are. If I’m a blocker, I’m gonna hit you. If I’m a jammer, I’m gonna fight my way through the pack to score on you.”
~ Kona Krusher, 49, Fort Wayne Derby Girls
“I wonder, with so many thousands of women across the world playing this sport now, how will this change the fabric of society down the road? I can’t wait to find out. This is so tangibly and dramatically different from any other phase of the women’s movement so far”
~ Cat O’Mighty, 51, Central Mass Roller Derby
“I wish I’d had roller derby in my 20s, rather than step aerobics.”
~ Stone Cold Jane Austen, 43, CoMo Derby Dames
“Seriously, there is no finer feeling than sweeping some girl off her skates with a solid hipcheck. Sounds crazy, but I love getting hit, too, short of being carried off the track. The day Madame Magenta knocked me flying into the inside oval, I was thrilled for her. ‘Nice hit, grasshopper!’”
~ Flash Hottie, 55, Windy City Rollers
“You don’t become a rollergirl, really, you realize that you are one already.”
~ Ginger Snap, Gotham Girls Roller Derby
I’m totally falling in love with my Betties. I admit, this might be Stockholm Syndrome setting in, but it doesn’t really matter. Every single one of these girls has an amazingly quick wit and they all like to play rough. I think I’ve found my tribe. No withering violets here. Thank God. I get so tired of feeling choked out by the ethos of political correctness and everyone being so nice all the time.
The Betties play such a good game of “You’re so Fat,” it makes normal “Your Mama” jokes look like toddler time. One of the milder examples from the other night – Dita to another Bettie: “You left your bra at my house so I’ve been using as a bag for my bowling balls.” =) But Miss One-Liner Dita has a depth of character simmering beneath the surface that some might miss unless they looked more closely. She’s funny as hell and the girlfriend you want to sit in the back of the class with, but know that whatever hasn’t killed her has made her stronger.
MAK, at the last Bettie bout of the season, got so pissed at the refs she led the crowd in an un-rhyming chant that only she could pull off, bringing people to their feet and shouting along to, “Get your dick out of her ass and read the fucking RU-LE book. Get your dick out of her ass and read the fucking RU-LE book.” 100% derby. There is a Bettie Code to keep games family-friendly, but shit slips out now and then. MAK is incredibly sharp, doesn’t miss a beat and what you see is what you get. No apologies. ♥
Viva – She looks like everything Gwen Stefani strives to be with the most beautiful face and fullest red lips. Humble and sweet with a FIERCE competitor inside and amazeballs of steal. She’s tiny and gets knocked around but is incredibly tough. Pair that with the fact she’s a doctoral candidate at UCSB in mechanical engineering. Quantum computing time travel shit. She’s my baby Einstein. ♥
Lem – All Betties, I’m learning, specialize in the concept of paradox. Lem is another fierce competitor but also has the soul of a baby kitten. Lem will be the one helping your great-grandmother across the street and bringing cookies when you’re down (albeit with an ulterior motive to get just a little more homemade matzo ball soup out of someone’s mom), while simultaneously fending off body checks with the ability to only spill a drop or two of coffee. She jokes about herself being like an awkward baby giraffe, but truth be told she’s a fluid example of grace rolled into beauty — mind, body and soul.
Kiki is a powerhouse, through and through, and looks like Gina Gershon only with a beautiful mane of red hair. My guess – she is one of the most loyal of friends you’ll ever meet. She stands for zero bullshit and is a multi-tasker extraordinaire. She is an amazing architect (literally) and runs her own business. She keeps her vulnerabilities close to her chest but has these incredible eyes that can’t hide her depth.
Stay tuned for more! Coming up in Girl Crush, Part Two – Roxie, Deuce, Booty, Danger, Vino, Loc & Hiss!
This evening marked the first night I’ve been at an indoor roller rink since I was 16. And another milestone for me tonight: skating in a large crowd. Even though it may not seem like a big deal – skating when you’re a rookie, surrounded by people, is not easy. It’s fucking nerve-wracking. Especially when I see a five-year-old who looks like he’s on skates for the first time cut me off and me, knowing full-well there’s not a thing I can do to prevent a crash disaster at my current skill level. “Live long and prosper, dude,” was seriously the only thought going through my mind.
But as the sk8 Gods would have it, tragedy was avoided several times throughout the night and it felt gooooood to be back in a roller rink with music pumping. Next time I bring the glitter lip gloss.
We ran into Miss Hiss and Kitten. It was comforting to see some familiar faces and know at least two people weren’t going to laugh (outwardly) at me for being the *only* person in full combat gear.
I still had trouble skating right at the beginning from the rush of adrenaline/fear. But that thankfully faded after a little bit. Getting over that, and adjusting to the dizzy factor strobe lighting can cause, I did okay.
Here are some video highlights. Drum roll please . . . . . . . . this is the first official video of me skating – ever. Video wasn’t the trend de rigeur when I was a teenager, so here’s history in the making. =)