I haven’t written in awhile and have to admit that a lot has happened since my last entry. I would say however, that the biggest change over the course of the past few months has been my perspective of Roller Derby. Just as the game is ‘ever evolving’ so is my relationship with it. In previous entries (if you go back a year or two) there was definitely a sense of excitement and infatuation for an ‘alternative’ game and sub-culture that I feel has shifted greatly as the sport has continued to progress.
At first I wanted to completely immerse myself in this newfound community. Why? Because I, like many others (but not all of you) who have discovered and joined this “rebellious” and still seemingly “underground” athletic movement, was running away from something.
As the years have passed I have had the opportunity to hide behind a persona, re-create myself and my story. How many people have that chance to do that?
At the time I felt like this was something that I needed to do. However, after being a member of this community for almost four years, I have actually felt like the real me has kind of bubbled up to the surface and I’m learning to be “okay” with that.
Truth is, I am ridiculously shy. Very very shy. I don’t even like talking on the phone or ordering food in a restaurant (this may be borderline something else, but I’ll stick with “shy”). Previous to derby, this trait tended to get me classified as rude or standoffish or worse, and I hated feeling judged in that way. And so, when I joined up with a bunch of strangers to start a league, this was one of the first “defects” about myself that I felt I could finally disguise. I decided I would transform from lame introvert to some sort of ‘mysterious’, restrained character with a hardened glare. It worked okay for awhile, but honestly, I started to realize that I do really like people…and hugs…and laughing…and being a goof…and so it seems now that the self-possessed mask of mystery is wearing thin.
Also, around the time I started skating, I decided to come out to family and friends. It wasn’t the most favorite time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad I did it and I am also so blessed with amazing people who love me unconditionally, so that was great….however, the hardest part was actually accepting myself and how I fit in to the life I had created.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that my love for Roller Derby has shifted to a passion and respect for a competitive sport, whereas before I feel as though I looked at it as a hiding place.
I have been able to reconnect with a part of myself that I had buried away and realized that it’s okay if I’m not some kind of superhero. I don’t need a mask anymore to find my strength.
True emancipation began by slowly accepting who I am, by admitting all of my flaws and quirks, and being bad ass enough to be willing to work on them.
I want to share this chapter now.
Many of you may just be starting your own journey, or maybe you are at the end of it, or perhaps you wrote a completely different book. I just wanted to share how I have begun to find my own sense of purpose and belonging. A couple of really close friends of mine once said “you do a lot of work on your outside, but you also have to do a lot of work on your inside”. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true.
Having goals and creating ways to get there has become my new existence. It is about connecting the mind and body. No matter what your goals are (emotional, physical or mental growth), we all should have something to strive for, and then take ownership of how we plan to make it happen.
If you have questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer, or you can message me on Facebook on my page at EP Fitness ’52.