I’ll admit, my self image is not great. I had no “reason” to really have any faith in myself, I was capable but not independent enough, healthy but not fit enough or thin enough, I was bright but not smart enough. I came to the conclusion that I was not enough and I didn’t really like myself. And I was ok with that, though it didn’t really make me feel better about it.
It’s not something that is yelled at your face like “hey you! Yeah your garbage and no one likes you!” It comes in drips, where the tiniest thing can make your day bad to worse, and you truly feel like you can’t cope. I never gave much thought of trying new things, half expecting to be bad and quite before it gets too difficult, but a good friend of mine dragged me to a roller derby taster session.
I will add, I was freaking terrified! A quick look at a few games on YouTube and you are filled with excitement, but also gut wrenching fear. It looks awesome! They look powerful! And I am most definitely not that!!!
I still put on the skates that day, and I still slowly shuffled around, and with a few goes of skating about I could feel the speed, each stride adding to the strength of the force, you feel like a goddamn god up there as the speed picks up and your hair is flowing and the legs are pushing harder and harder!
Then I fell.
And I was ready to tap out and call it quits, I had embarrassed myself, my life is over, time to pack and move to a new country with a new identity. I was readying to either be yelled at, made fun off, or patronised. But I wasn’t.
“You ok? Did you fall on your knees”
“Uhh yeah, I think so”
“Great! just makes sure you don’t land to heavily on them, come on pull yourself up”
It was really the smallest gesture, but it meant so much to me. And sure enough, I got back up, and skated. I fell again and again, tumbling, sliding, but I always got up. And that was ok, that was part of training.
And just like I got up, I went back, again and again. There was no expectation, no time frame or deadline or scrutiny, if I could not do something, that’s ok, try again.
I have truly made some amazing friends in my time there, all who I am proud to be with in a team. The sense of community and bond, but also the self reflection and improvement, I had never felt anything like it.
I have had the best sessions, and definitely my worse, but they have always been there to help, and always happy to see me grow.
I have come to learn a lot, mostly about myself, yes I may not have all the strengths, but that’s ok, a few tumbles, couple bruises and a sore body doesn’t hurt anyone, we are all growing and learning. And that’s ok.
I am proud to be a roller derby player, and so proud to be part of the MKRD.