Last Friday was my first derbyversary. I have mixed feelings about this, as many people do about birthdays as they get older. On one hand I’m grateful to have all of the things I have because of this last year – but on the other, I feel disappointed that I haven’t achieved more.
I could go on for a while about how frustrated and ashamed I am because of how far I haven’t gotten in a year, but what would be the point? I cannot change it. It’s out of my control. The only thing I can do is keep focussed and keep pushing myself towards where I want to be.
So on this derbyversary, I will be grateful.
Derby has changed my life.
Never before have I enjoyed sports or craved exercise. Through derby I found a pilot light, and even though sometimes when I have a bad day, I think about going to training and I get a pathetic flick-flick-flick – I just have to keep pushing the button, and once I get started the flame just takes off. At the end of the session I always want to keep my skates on and keep moving my body. When I go for a skate in the morning, my legs feel strong and powerful in the afternoon.
Derby has challenged me not only physically but mentally. It has challenged my very beliefs. There are ways of thinking that seemed natural to me before, ideas about possession and identity that this society has brought me up on, and that I have since realised are not healthy and are not the way things have to be. There is still a way to go before I can let go of some things, but I like to think I’m on my way. I have shared so much with the women and men in my league, which before I would not have been willing to do.
Derby has given me a new group of friends that I would not otherwise have made. With this fresh group of people, I have been able to have a fresh start. I haven’t reinvented myself as such – but I have given myself permission to be the person that I want to be, the person that has been trying to be heard in other areas of my life. I don’t know if the problem in other areas began with people treating me badly or with me letting them – but I decided about 9 months ago that there is no way in hell I’m going to put up with shit like that from anyone at derby. I simply will not let it start. There have only been a couple of people out of the dozens of derby people that I’ve met who have given me attitude or negativity – but now I won’t allow myself to be belittled or put down. I won’t allow anyone to talk down to me or batter my self esteem like they do in my other worlds. And you know what? It’s carrying over. Slowly but surely I am standing up for myself more often at work or with friends who don’t treat me as respectfully as my derby friends do.
I think that derby can make you a better version of yourself, if you just let it.
Happy derbday to me, and oh so many happy returns. ❤