It took me a long time to find confidence in my physical appearance, but never even contemplated my physical fitness and blatantly avoided it. As a proud fat kid who’d spent their entire life utterly repulsed by physical activities, it was a surprise to everyone when I joined a roller derby team. I think my mom said something along the lines of, “Wait – you’re playing a SPORT?” But the actual physical activity – the workouts and skating both within and beyond practice – didn’t turn out to be my biggest struggle. Even a healthier diet was surprisingly easy to adapt for a sugar and carb addict. No, my biggest struggle thus far has been the constant self-doubting of what my body can do. If I’m not yelling from the sidelines, then I’m yelling at myself in my head. “YOU SUCK! AND YOU’RE SO SLOW AND – OW, NOW MY BACK HURTS – okay, stretched it out, everything’s good… JK YOU STILL SUCK!! WHY CAN’T YOU GO ANY FASTER?!?!?!!” Beyond the fact that my inner monologue speaks in all caps, that whole “being stuck in my head” thing is really annoying. To be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty crappy lately, like I’ve reached a plateau in my progression, and that asshole inside my head only gets worse.
Then I took the WFTDA Skills Test for the second time… and I failed, just as I expected to. Begging for warmth between a blanket and a hug from Maully, I awaited a sure-to-be long list of everything I screwed up. But then Coach Dad, who hadn’t even been judging me, came over to discuss my failure. He told me the few skills I’d failed were actually easy to improve, and the improvements I’d already made were pretty amazing. Sure, I may not have made 25 in 5, but I almost made 21, compared to the measly 16 I could hardly reach just a few weeks before… and this time I didn’t have an asthma attack! He told me how proud that he and the rest of the training team are, and that the only thing in my way was myself. “It’s all in here,” he said as he pointed to his mind, “Once you conquer that, you’ll be unstoppable.” I don’t know how you did it, Dad, but you convinced this failure that she may actually become a success.
This month, my new skater goal isn’t to perfect my transitions or to attain lead jammer just once – my goal for this month is to trust my body and its strength; to believe in myself because for some strange reason all you whackos believe in me. I would have never acknowledged this or trusted that I had the ability to attain my new goal before today, but knowing I have endless support, encouragement, and love from my coaches and team, I’m finally confident in one thing – that I won’t let you down.