Hi there, chickpeas! I haven’t written in a bit, because I’ve been putting most of my physical and emotional energy into roller derby lately. I have been in the process of finishing up my rookie training leading up to my first league scrimmage and official “graduation” out of the farm program, and it has been a little draining. This sport really is an emotional roller coaster ride. It is so complex, and requires learning a lot in a short amount of time. It’s easy to get frustrated and start feeling inadequate when you just can’t seem to put together all the bits and pieces of alllll of the skills you’ve been learning. Add in the complex rule set and the clusterfuck that is actually bouting, and you’ve got a recipe for a freakout. I was kind of down in the dumps about the whole derby situation for a couple weeks, questioning if I even wanted to continue. I felt like I just didn’t have the passion and emotional investment that the other girls seemed to have. But I had put in so much time (and money) thus far, that I felt like I really had to give it a real chance. I hadn’t even played in a bout yet!
So I decided to get excited about derby again, even if I had to fake it at first. It may sound obvious, or silly, but after years of dealing with depression and underachieving, I have to actually remind myself to do stuff like enjoy things and try. I realized that I could choose to LET. GO. of my feelings of personal failure and start over at the next practice. I had been beating myself up for not being aggressive enough and not “going for it” at league practices. I had been letting my fear of looking stupid or messing up prevent me from trying. I made an effort to constantly remind myself to be aggressive and keep pushing, and in the short amount of time since I gave myself this assignment, I have noticed results. Once I decided to not care about looking stupid, I also enjoyed myself a lot more. I could’t believe what a big difference forcing myself to walk into the rink in a good mood made. Maybe I had actually been taking this too seriously before.
I needed to remember why I wanted to do this in the first place. I decided that I was drawn to derby because I knew it could help me become the person I wanted to be: stronger, more aggressive, more assertive, tougher. Someone who could look fear in the eye and keep skating towards it.
You see, derby is about reinventing yourself. You get to choose a new name and persona that reflects who you want to be, not just who you are. You can pick something that makes you feel like a superhero, and if you survive in derby long enough to hear your name called at your first bout, you kind of are a superhero.
So Rockabillie Jean was born last week and had her first scrimmage Tuesday night. She fell on her ass a lot, almost lost a knee pad mid-jam, and had a pretty impressive back block (oops), but she kept going, scored some points, booty blocked a little, and had a pretty great time despite not generally knowing what the hell was going on. I know I will probably have more periods of doubt and frustration, but I can’t quit now! Wish me luck – our league draft is next Saturday.