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If Only The Shins Were Just A Band

So this past Thursday was a unique day in my practice history, because I just utterly

It’s not like I’ve never been frustrated before; this is derby, after all, and I am an irritable bastard. Frustration is part of the package. Usually, though, I get frustrated (almost universally with myself), and then I’m like

and then I get back to doing something. Anything. Even if it’s barely a thing at all, even if it’s sitting on the couch, even if it’s trying to massage my shins into submission and accidentally exploding a tube of Bengay on myself, I don’t give up: I change course.

Thursday, “changing course” meant “getting the fuck out of dodge and crying in the parking lot like a slapped schoolchild.”

Huh. I’ve been skating for nearly two years, but that’s never happened before. Why Thursday?

–Because since I got back on the track three weeks ago, I’ve had days where my shins did not act up at all, and I’ve had uncomfortable-but-work-through-able shin days, and I’ve had days where my shins were all  you are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today.

–Because that thing I just described? That has left me feeling bugshit crazy. Like, “GURL, we talked about this, you were gonna stop smokin that crack” crazy. That is not a fun way to feel, particularly when you are on roller skates around a bunch of other people and it feels like someone is trying to rip your shins apart from the inside.

–Because Morty was coaching, and I heart Morty, and I wanted to be all “look Morty look how hard I worked on getting better look I can cross over all the way around the track now LOOOOOOK,” because apparently I am a two-year-old who just wants someone I admire to be proud of me, but instead my shins went “YOU WILL NOT GO TO SPACE TODAY” and I fell way short of my best–or even mediocrest–performance.

–Because I feel like I should be a better skater by now, even when I’m at my best, and I was so miserably far from even that modest level. Ugh.

–Because I started dealing with this shin stuff in June and it’s January of THE NEXT YEAR and it’s still pwning my ass.


However, as my dad used to tell me when I had small-child meltdowns in public, “Nobody came here to hear you cry.” The real question here is, Now What? Certainly the least stressful option would be to quit derby, but that isn’t an option any more than robotic shins are an option (COME ON PEOPLE THIS IS THE FUTURE WHERE ARE MY ROBOTIC SHINS).

I think I’m going to put together a list of soothing things to focus on when the injury frustration gets to be too much. I may do this while on the couch at practice today. First item: there is no shame in watching practice instead of skating. No, really. There’s not. Stop hating yourself. (Anyone else having flashbacks to siblings grabbing your hand and smacking you upside the head with it while chanting, “Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself?” No? Okay. Just one of those grew-up-in-the-sticks Midwestern things, then.)

In conclusion,


8 responses to “If Only The Shins Were Just A Band

  1. Well, think about this the next time your shins are all, “heh heh heh you will not go to space today.” I like you. Also things about the fact that you’re awesome for even getting back on skates. Some would be injured and never skate again. You’re trying to continue this thing you love and that’s admirable. You’re an inspiration.

    • Jess! ⋅

      ❤ I like you, too. Thank you for the kind words. Sending warmth to you wherever you are, and, though you will surely tire of hearing it, I miss you.

  2. I was fairly certain something was wrong when you bugged out early, and I’m sorry that it went down like that. But you were amazing today (and dude, you CLEANED my WHEELS); and you are wonderfully inspiring because you and I have had many the conversation about taking stock, not letting the frustration be the end of motivation, and remembering above all that the only one we’re allowed to compare ourselves too are ourselves.

    Also, the whole YOU WILL NOT GO TO SPACE TODAY was the funniest thing I read all day, and I totally needed that. ❤

  3. Liz Argall ⋅

    Hugs lady. And tears are ok. You can totally cry like a warrior or cry because you feel safe enough to actually share and have that emotion and vulnerability.
    I know some folks say there’s no tears in roller derby, personally I say fuck that shit. Roller derby isn’t here to duplicate patriarchal norms of emotional expression. There’s no giving up in roller derby and there’s only hitting your limit for that moment and you have the heart of a fighter.

    • Jess! ⋅

      ❤ Roller derby: breaking up norms of expression one snot-producing rollergirl at a time. It's a privilege to be able to do so around safe people like you. Thank you.

  4. Alison

    I was sorry to see you leave practice, but I’ve also done the sobbing in the parking lot thing. We’ve got your back, no matter what and hopefully those robotic shins will be available before your next space mission.

    • Jess! ⋅

      Hey, sorry I skeddadled yesterday, the practice after us was starting and I wanted to get out before their coach got mad. I will bring everything for the skate/wheel/bearing cleaning. Do you have dishsoap around? If not, I can bring that too. If you’re hoping to put your own kit together, you’ll want some soft cloths, some 100% acetone nail polish remover, Speed Cream, dishsoap… a bearing cleaner is optional (I’ll bring mine, plus all the other stuff I mentioned). Thanks for having my back <3, and I'm sorry to hear that you've also had parking lot sobbing time. That sucks. Hugs, and if you wanna talk it out, I'll be in your living room drinking all your tea. I mean, listening. That one.

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