Yes, it’s been a very long time since my last post. I’m busy, I’m obsessive-compulsive, I write tons of blogs in my head but never type them out, yadda yadda yadda…..here we are. I had a tiny bit of an AH-HA moment today (no, I haven’t been watching old Oprah Winfrey episodes or Mutual of Omaha commercials) and figured it was worth a little blog-a-roo.
First, let me tell you a little bit about how roller derby has been going. I’ve been skating for over a year now and have FINALLY passed some massive milestones. My entire level 2 checkoff list is complete which means I can not only start going to team practices, but I can join in on Thursday night scrimmages. That’s right, shipmates…..ACTUAL derby. Like with refs and whistles and a scoreboard and everything! And frankly, while that was an exciting and rewarding accomplishment, it was also terrifying. The move up meant that YET AGAIN, I was out of my comfort zone and even more importantly, skill set. I swallowed what tiny sliver of pride I had managed to build up and started going to embarrass myself in a whole new way.
I’ve now been to several team practices and four scrimmages. While I know for certain I’m the worst one on the track, I’ve left them feeling like I’m learning and growing, reaching for the stars and all the stuff inspirational posters are made of. That was until last night.
I don’t know what the problem was exactly. Perhaps I was tired after several weeks of double (fine, sometimes triple) workout days. I’m overweight again and it’s bugging me on every imaginable level. Maybe it was just an off night for me, or a great night for the opposing team. My head knew what to tell my feet to do, but they just wouldn’t comply. Jammers -even my new nemesis (future blog material) who is normally ultraslow and clumsy, blew past me like I was standing still. When I went in with the star on my helmet, I absolutely could NOT get through that damned pack. Again, up against my big, clompy, now blocking enemy – there was no juking around her. I wanted to, I KNOW that I CAN, signals were sent from brain to skates, but they were brutally rebuffed. My last attempt to jam was painful in every way possible. I got hit SO HARD, over and over. Skull jarring hit out of bounds, skate back to avoid cutting and re-enter, rinse lather repeat. It hurt both my body and my mind. I’m not going to sugar coat it…I came off the track holding back hot, frustrated tears.
My team for the evening came and tried a pep-talk, and while it was greatly appreciated, the compliments rolled off me like so many salty drops. I thanked everyone as much as I could without breaking down, escaped to my car in the parking lot and just sobbed. What was wrong with me? Was I never going to get everything? Am I just fooling myself to think I’m cut out for all of this? And on and on and on. Finally, I told myself, “You are a 35 year old woman who is sitting in her car alone, crying about a GAME that you pay to play. Suck it up cupcake.” Surprisingly, that didn’t help.
Today, after a heavy lifting morning and a 4 mile run in the late afternoon, I was in the shower trying to wash off the scrimmage number (and shame) from my shoulder. Ironic because last night I was so sweaty, I was asked by the refs to reapply my sharpie 3 times. Today after a bath this morning and post-fartlik shower – it’s still there. Anyway, I’m scrubbing hard and realize that my shoulders hurt. And my back. Even my neck meat. It occurred to me that I truly took a beating last night in every possible way.
My thought process went rapid fire (because that’s the best way to get honest answers from myself, see) like this:
“You have embarrassed yourself in front of everyone in the derby community you know, in every scenario. There have been hits so hard that they shook your vision and you heard things in your body pop. Last week while jamming, a fellow derby girl almost knocked you from the track into the bleachers – had you not decided to ungracefully take a knee just shy of the metal. You have fallen in every position imaginable, had bruises in places not appropriate to blog about, and should own stock in Tylenol PM. So what is it exactly you are afraid of??”
Somewhere from deep in my subconscious, the answer hit me harder than any blocker ever has and instantly my eyes welled up.
I am terrified of failure. Not succeeding. Disappointing people. Embarrassing myself for nothing. Every time I hit the track and don’t do well, I’m sure all the coaches and team skaters who have given me their time and effort to make me better are ashamed of me. That I’ve let everyone down. That I’ll never make a team and my family will resent all the time I wasted trying. That I’m not enough. And won’t ever be.
Any armchair psychiatrist will point out that this is not just relegated to roller derby. This is, and has been, a theme my whole life. It’s worse as an adult because responsibilities are greater and more difficult. I joined the derby to help me with my self confidence…so why am I just adding it to the list of things I feel I’m failing at?
Alright lambs. I’ve identified the fear that is holding me back in the derby (and life?). I hear that’s step one. Ah-HA!!