Well it has been over a year since I began this blog and though I don’t have many entries, the ones that I have written reflect a lot of what I experienced in my first real season of roller derby.
From discovering the sport to where I am now, I have moved, started a new job, and met some truly incredible people. I am so happy with the life I have created for myself, however, due to some of the radical changes in the past year many have asked, and I have occasionally wondered, “Where do you think you’d be if you had never played Roller Derby”.
It’s interesting because there is a definite correlation between the time I joined this sport and all if the huge life changes I have undergone. Because of this, many people have attributed roller derby as being the reason why my life has somewhat “turned a page”.
I don’t agree with this.
My thought process is as follows:
Life is full of choices. Whether we see them as big (marriage, kids, careers) or small (chicken for dinner….or fish?), we have no idea how huge or small the impact on our lives these decisions will actually have.
We often like to believe that our lives are like one of those “choose your own endings” novels (loooooooved those Goosebumps books by the way), where, if you pick option A you will end up here, but if you choose option B, you’ll end up somewhere completely different…or dead. This concept leads us to imagine that no matter what option we chose, there is some parallel universe where another version of ourselves is off living a completely different life because we chose option C instead.
I don’t believe that.
This is it my friends. This is your life. There is no dry-run, or rehearsal, you have one shot to cram as much awesome into one lifetime as possible.
We can never know for certain which decisions in our lives are going to be the “big ones”. For example, a friend sets you up on a blind date. You put all this weight on to going or not going…like the fate of your life depends on this decision. You think, “if I don’t go I could be passing up on the love of my life, but if I do go, I could be traumatized forever by some sketchy looking individual who confesses to practicing their own version of taxidermy in their basement. I will never find love if I don’t embrace these types of opportunities, but if I do take the risk, I might be murdered by a crazy person”.
Then when dinner comes along you have to make the choice of chicken or fish. What importance does this have in the outcome of your life? Not much, so you flippantly chose chicken…which leads to Salmonellosis, hospitalization, AND the introduction to the doctor of your dreams…BAM! The chicken decision is actaully what led you to true and everlasting love.
When I made the choice to call up my best friend and say, “Hey, did you know there is Roller Derby happening in Chilliwack? Just so you know, we are doing this”. I definitely didn’t think it was a life changing decision. And I still do not think it is the reason my life has changed so much. Many more choices presented themselves following this event, and many more flippant or deeply considered decisions were made.
I really don’t believe there is any other version of how my life would have or should have played out. I made that choice to join Roller Derby because my heart SCREAMED, “DO THIS, DO THIS, YOU MUST DO THIS” and the events that followed were due to that continued willingness to listen to my heart.
You can’t say, “well if I didn’t make that call, order that gear, and go to that first recruitment I would have NEVER done this or that ”.
Who knows? If I hadn’t met up with Maul E. Mayhem that day to measure our feet, it doesn’t mean I never would have moved or quit my job or made new friends…it could have very well meant that I might have left work that day and been attacked by a family of rabid raccoons….or two months later hit by a bus full of rabid raccoons.
Nobody has a fucking clue what is going to happen next. Maybe I would have joined roller derby a year from now, or 5 years from now or, (GASP) never. Maybe I would have started competing in marathons or become an aggressive slo-pitch back catcher, or a competitive yogi.
The thing is… I have always been an extremely competitive and driven person. I have always played sports and enjoyed the pressure to perform and push myself to my limits. I have always wanted to express myself and swim against the current of the mainstream.
Roller derby hasn’t “changed me” or “made me” any different or better or worse. It is simply a thing that I do right now.
The new job, the new hometown, the new friends, the new love in my life….these are all things that transpired, not because of roller skates and elbow pads, but because I was ready to welcome them into my existence. I reached a point in my life, a fork in the road, in which I started making decisions for me.
I think we all give a lot more credit to Roller Derby than we do to ourselves. How many of you have claimed that “derby saved your soul”. I know I have. But people, WE have saved our OWN souls.
Joining a full contact sport, even though you have 3 kids at home, a full-time job, and 4 dogs, 3 cats and a rabbit…that’s alllllll you!
Dedicating hours upon hours of your precious and limited free time to be on a board of directors, or assist in training, or fundraising or merch design….that is YOU kicking ass and making sure your dream is successful and sustainable….that’s not Roller Derby.
Signing up for Yoga, or Kick-boxing, or finally getting that tattoo you always wanted, or piercing your nose, or dying your hair blue, or wearing a sleeveless top, or hot pants, or fishnets, or a cape and a tutu…. That is YOU deciding that what YOU want to do/wear/eat/live IS IMPORTANT.
Deciding to open your heart to amazing women and men that inspire you and challenge you and provide unending love and support and positivity in your life…. YOU found that.
So how about we stop wondering what we would have ever done if we had never decided to pull on a pair of roller skates, and start patting ourselves on the back for realizing that we are important, strong, independent and exceptional beings that deserve to be cheered for and supported and happy and healthy.
Live your life. Chase dreams. Never wonder. Just do. And enjoy.
That is my recipe for a very happy 2013.
Thank you Jeff Tichbourne for the topic suggestion.