2012: So I Guess We Are Not All Dead After All

Holy crap, it’s almost 2013! In celebration of not being dead yet, let’s take a peek over our collective shoulder at TPiaL in 2012:

–A year ago today, I had just come back from an ankle contusion. Busted the tissue up pretty bad while vacuuming when I lifted my foot and jammed the corner of a metal bedframe into the soft spot above the joint. Moral of the story: don’t vacuum!

–Last January, I couldn’t transition while in motion.

–By February, I could.

–In March, I struggled to feel like a “real” derby girl, whatever that is.

–In April, I fangirl’d. Note: I am now a fan of the Moto bearings. Quadzilla himself swapped out the derpy ones for a fresh pack, which worked admirably. ❤

–In May, I returned to PFM after months of session skating at rinks, and could finally do all of the drills. Slow learners: we learn real good-like. Eventually.

–In June, BACON.

–In July, I mused about derby wives.

–In August, I started to suspect that maybe something was, like, wrong with my body. Also, I got coated in expired Bengay. You know you jealous.

–In September, I found out that lots of things were definitely wrong with my body, and they would take a hot minute to sort out. FFFFFFFUUUU.

–In October, I scrimmaged anyway because I am a pathological optimist. Verdict: nope, still injured! Get yo’ ass to the outside, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200.

–In November, I derped around the Shire.

–In December, I done got hitched. We are having a GLITTERY FUCKING CEREMONY next month.

In general, I try to figure out what life is trying to teach me; the end of a year is a handy time for it. What did 2012 seem to be trying to teach me? Some possibilities:

1) You play the hand you’re dealt, not the hand you wish you’d been dealt. Yes, it would be awesome to not have effing janked-up femurs that are effing put in wrong and effing eff up every effing thing I try to do on skates (besides turning my feet out), but I do have them. The sooner I stop angsting and start sticking to SRS PT, the sooner I can get out on the track and stay there.

2) The derby community is just mind-blowingly supportive. From One World to Jet City’s BSL to PFM to Bacon to Fast Girl to random encounters at session skates, I have met so.many.people willing to teach and laugh and share derby wisdom. It’s humbling and it inspires me to contribute.

3) Re-reading my entries from the past year, I realized that I get sick a lot. It sucks. I hate it. There are a lot of reasons for it, but they all fall under the umbrella of “I suck at taking care of myself.” Seriously. If I were my own kid, DCFS would have locked my ass up long ago. I’m kind of over that. Goal for 2013: take good care of me… which sounds like my next post.

Your turn: tell me all ’bout your 2012. What do you think you were supposed to learn? What did you *actually* learn? Much love, peoples.

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Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Derptimes

Uh, so today, I skated a full practice for the first time since October.

Without pain.

Lucille Ball FTW.

We did a lot of plow stopping, which I ain’t got no aptitude for, but I’m improving. We also did a lot of stepping through worms, and I felt pretty confident about that. Oh, and heat-molding the front outside quarter of my right boot with my hair dryer appears to have worked, because while I could still feel the grumpy spot, it didn’t pwn me.

Yay!

None of today’s happiness would have happened without the help of my fabulous PT (JILL LET ME LOVE YOU), my fabulous derby wife, and my fabulous teammates. Yall believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and let me do off-skate shit at your practices, and let me skate around on the outside even though I was in your way during drills, and gave me generous and helpful recovery tips…

You the best, guise. Thank you.

‘Til Death Or A Trip To The Box Do Us Part

So I asked my fellow Shire-rocker, Laurie, if she wanted to be derby wives. I did so using this video, because Brak = baller.

She said “yes!”

:D!

Laurie is the cat’s pajamas. She’s smart, and funny, and hot, and has totally boss tattoos, and hits the snot out of people. She’s super encouraging, too. Back in May, when I was all “blee blee bloo bloo I’m too much of a loser to do Bacon, they’ll be all ‘damn she sucks,'” Laurie told me to STFU and sign up. Then she gave me a ride to and from every.single.practice and continued to do so after Bacon ended and I joined PFM. She’s given me a lift to nearly every practice I’ve been to since June. Sometimes, there are morale-building dance parties in the car.

we got the moooooooooves like jagger...

When I was debating whether or not to join PFM Core, Laurie convinced me that I could do it. When I was hoping to get in shape for December Rat tryouts, Laurie said she wanted the same thing and agreed to be workout buddies. When we each got injured and ended up in physical therapy, we dragged out our yoga mats and did our PT together. She introduced me to Groupon. I introduced her to white coffee. We suffered through a core yoga class. We spent hours at A Muddy Cup laughing and listening after dancing around like doofuses at Zumba every Tuesday. (See previous gif for visual aid, but add derp.)

As is probably obvious by now, I can’t imagine derby without Laurie. She rocks. I’m lucky. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish next.

Who Needs Logic When You Have Ibuprofen?

So there was scrimmage last Saturday. Thanks to an extraordinarily derped-out schedule, it was the first time I managed to meet up with PFM’s regular monthly Core group (I was at the Rainier scrimmage, but that was a different type thing). I love PFM, and I love scrimmaging, and a bunch of folks from Tilted were joining us, so I really, really wanted to Participate.

“But Jess,” you say, “that makes no sense! You barely wobbled your way through your last several practices. What made you think you’d be able to scrimmage regular-like?” To which, Dear Reader, I will politely request that you

Mmmkay? Mmmkay!

Unsurprisingly, I started out the afternoon bein’ sassy. I rested the whiny shins, stretched them, rolled them out and loved them up with Tiger Balm. When they acted up during warmups anyway, I was all

and kept skating. Even got through the worm, which felt not-awesome, but I Fricking Did It Anyway So There.

When the shaking got so bad that I couldn’t both hold myself up and keep pace, I skated around the outside. Have I mentioned that I hate that shit? I hate that shit. I hate it so. Hard.

Then, scrimmage. I jammed first. I love jamming, not because I have any aptitude for it whatsoever but because I am demented and get an alarming degree of satisfaction out of surviving things that I don’t expect to survive. This jam was fierce, yo. Everyone was at maximum energy, and every time I almost made it out, someone would be all

and send my ass sprawling.

My perception was that I got the crap beat out of me out there, an opinion which was validated slightly when I staggered back to the bench and Coach said, “You got the crap beat out of you out there! But you didn’t give up, and that’s what counts.” I might argue that it would count maybe a little tiny bit more if I could make an initial pass or something, but she was being supportive and I wasn’t about to turn that down.

I sat out the last few jams of our first 20 minute scrimmage because shins. One of the experienced Tilted folks talked me into staying geared up and playing in the second scrimmage, so I did, and I’m grateful. It was good to block, to be part of a wall, to communicate in an effort to help. Dear Cool Tilted Skater Who Made Time To Care About Me When You Totally Didn’t Have To:

Srsly.

That said, it was so incredibly frustrating to have moments of knowing what my team needed me to do without a single word being said, and to lack the physical ability–but not necessarily the skating ability (!)–to follow through on that understanding. I hate not being capable for my teammates. Ugh. My Denial Wall has finally crumbled, and guys, I… I’m Actually Injured. Like, something is wrong. I need help. To which my visceral response is, of course,

Yeah. But I’m going to get me to a physical therapist, and get this crap figured out, and come back stronger when it’s over. I was not an athlete before derby and I don’t really know how to be one, much less an injured/recovering one, but ain’t no way I’m gonna die without finding out.

No Crumpets

Yesterday evening, a few PFMers and I dropped in at a Rainier Roller Girls practice. I’d scrimmaged with them during our PFM/Rainier faceoff, but had never gone to one of their practices.

It was good times! Supportive ladies, lots of stretching/working out after warm-ups, and I got a chance to practice one-knee taps on my “less awesome” knee (verdict: still not awesome, but more awesome than it was!) When we partnered up for drills, I got paired with Orpheus, which was boss as hell; she’s a scary-good skater who actually likes to teach (WIN), and I dig her personality. Victory dance after breaking through a wall? Yes please!

During warm-ups, we were in a pace line (natch) doing Swedish miles. I kinda love to hate those things–or hate to love them–something. :p Anyway, when my turn came, my slow ass finally caught up to the pace line. I was huffing and puffing and generally feeling like my body was a poorly-riveted steampunk aeroship that was going to explode in a shower of plate metal and rusty bolts, and I noticed that the dude-I-suck-so-much-why-waste-my-time-pretending-I-will-ever-be-good-at-this thought litany started up, and then…

… then I had an epiphany. Just, boom, out of nowhere. And it went as follows: “Jess. You think ALL. DAY. All the time. And practice? It’s your chance to stop. It’s a gift, so for the love of God, stop thinking and skate.

And, holy-Christmas-miracle-Batman, I did.

Fast-forward to the jam-against-a-three-wall drill. I’m jamming. I’ve got Jammer Brain on, which means I know no fear (good) and fear no penalty (hurrrp less good but I’m working on it). I have one lap to get past this wall, and as we come out of Turn Four, I try to take the inside line. A blocker comes to push me out, and for once, my immediate reaction is not “oh crumpets out I go”, it is “OH HELL NAH”. I hip-check her without thinking about it, she falls, and I skate past the wall.

OMIGOD THAT HAPPENED. It did. It’s only one “hooray” and that’s only a beginning, but it comes after countless times of being stuck behind a wall with no idea of how to get out, of wiping myself out when I tried to step through holes, of getting shoved out without being able to push back, of getting shoved out without pushing back even occurring to me, of falling on my ass because I left myself open to getting nailed. So making a hole for myself and getting through it? Huge, huge progress.

I think this calls for a victory dance.

The Bacon, She Is Made

I finished Bacon with perfect attendance. Scrimmage was addictive. Learning was happened. (Grammar, apparently, not so much.) Now what? My goal is that when I attend Bacon next year, I will be:
  • physically capable of completing all of the warm-ups and assisting struggling skaters from day one;
  • mentally alert with high pack awareness and thorough understanding of the rules;
  • emotionally confident and focused on positive outcomes;
  • socially proactive and highly encouraging of every skater and vocally grateful for the coaches;
  • able to skate an entire Rat City tryout by the time camp is over.
And, to break down what it will concretely take to achieve these goals…
  • To meet my physical goals, I need more endurance and more strength. I also need to improve my crossovers so that I can maintain the speed necessary to complete the warm-ups; more than anything else, I need to improve my stops so that I can safely decrease said speed. Actions: I will do Carmen Getsome’s plyometric workout at least once a week, practice stops at Lynnwood and PFM, and go to Team Lightning weekly practices when they resume.
  • To meet my mental goals, I need more time on skates. More comfortable on skates = less mental energy devoted to what my body is doing = more mental energy devoted to what is going on around me and what I can legally do in response. Actions: I will join PFM Core and continue session skating; I will also continue to study the WFTDA ruleset.
  • To meet my emotional goals, I need to increase my confidence until I genuinely believe that I am a future rollergirl. Actions: I will remind myself of stories like Dee Cap’s, Finny’s, and Slutnik’s at least once a day to reinforce that improvement does happen over time as long as you keep working. I will say to myself at least once a day, “I am a future rollergirl”, and I will visualize myself as a leagued skater.
  • To meet my social goals, I need to keep up my current practices, as I am strong in this dimension of derby-ness. Actions: I will praise at least one skater at or after every practice and thank at least one coach at or after every practice.
  • To meet my Rat City tryout goal, I need to act like I’m on a mission from Gahd. Actions: I will meet all of the action items above, plus pray to Nasal Midwestern Gahd to use some clout and get me through. 😉

There you have it: the roadmap to Bacon 2013. It’s gonna be sweet. 😀

Careless Talk

So I haven’t written in a while. Does that mean that not much has happened? Pff! Dear Reader, you misunderestimate me. Allow me to recap:

–For most of March, I skated with the lovely and kind ladies at One World Roller Derby. They taught me beaucoup, evaluated me, and offered me a spot on one of their four new teams. I was all “yay!” and then all “omgwtfbbq I already am sleep-deprived on an unteamed practice schedule what am I thinking?” So I decided to be a drop-in skater instead, which is cool, because I can enjoy their awesomeness when I’m up for it, and I can stay home and sleep when I’m up for that, and do either without affecting team unity. Is suave! 
–Then I got sick. Then I got well, and then I got sick again, and then I got well, and then I got sick again, only this time I threw up for a solid ninety minutes and ended up in the hospital hooked up to an IV. It may surprise you, but I did not do a hell of a lot of skating throughout that process.
–I went to the doctor, and was referred to a chiropractor, and learned that I was on the sickercoaster because my back was utterly janked (in part from falling down the stairs in March and faceplanting into a wall, AWESOME) and as a result my immune system was hamstrung. Very cool, in the “very uncool” sense. Started treatment for that and am slowly feeling better.
–As part of an “I’ll do it if you do it” pact with a fabulous derbyfriend, I signed up for Bacon. Definitely feelin’ the old Impostor Syndrome kicking in (“oh no I shouldn’t have signed up for Novice Derby level I haven’t even scrimmaged I’ll suck and they’ll hate me for wasting their time aah“), but dammit, I’ve been skating for over a year. I’m not great. Some days, I’m not even meh. But I can make it through a regular PFM practice without dropping out of any drills, I don’t take criticism personally and I try new things even when they scare me–if that ain’t enough, they can bump me down to Beginning Skater, no hard feelings.
–I realized that I am incredibly hard on myself. See, I’ve barely skated since the sick stuff started. From this fact, I concluded that I was No Longer A Skater and Totally Washed Up. Even though I am currently WEARING MY SKATES, this afternoon’s inner dialogue went like so:

NiceJess: Man, it’s so nice to be on skates again. Thanks for letting me skate around the office on Fridays, Employer!
MeanJess: You skated down a carpeted hallway at a crawl.  
NiceJess: … but I skated!
MeanJess: Yeah, that makes three times on skates in the last two weeks. Real badass. Watch out, Carmen Getsome, Li’l Miss Hallway here is comin’ for you.
NiceJess: I’ve been sick.
MeanJess: With the lazy.
NiceJess: I thought that was called “recovery”.
MeanJess: “Recovery” is what you do after a workout. Did you work out? No? Then you weren’t recovering. Real skaters skate, period.
NiceJess: *crawls under the desk and tries not to choke on her self-loathing*

Why am I such a schmuck to myself? I don’t talk to other people like that. I don’t talk about other people like that. It’s hurtful and discompassionate and small, and I strive not to be any of those things. So why is it okay for me to cut myself down?

Short answer is, it’s not. As I ease back into skating (hi Lynnwood!), I’m going to focus on one thing: positive self-talk. I have total faith that I will pick up all things skating and derby by attending practices, especially the crucible that is Bacon, but I gotta teach myself to cheerlead… myself.

What’s your self-talk like? Are you content with it? Does it help you? What does a “good” self-talk day look like for you?