Talk Derby to Me
Greetings, my fine friends! I first must apologize for my longer-than-usual absence from the ether, although as I typed that I immediately thought to myself, “a *You’re Welcome* might be more in order.” So, you’re welcome. I hope you enjoyed my silence while it lasted. But, where have you been, Misanthropista? you ask…. (yes, I can hear your cries in the night, I’m kinda just ignoring you.) The fact is, I’ve spent the past month or so getting my ass kicked. Really fucking hard. Because that’s exactly what I signed up for. That’s exactly what I wanted, and EXACTLY what I needed. Roller Derby, y’all. That’s what I am telling you. Your mild-mannered, people-hating, underachieving eighth-favorite bloggess ever is now a goddamned, bona-fide Roller Girl.
But this post is not really about me, so much (again, you’re welcome). Actually, it totally is. But it’s also about the magnificent, indestructible, stunningly beautiful women that have come into my life, or come closer, since I began this awesome ridiculousness. Fierce women. Kind women. Women who teach me about things like ” ‘Giner Shiners” and “Stripper Stretches.” WHERE HAVE THESE PEOPLE BEEN ALL MY LIFE? In the most bizarre way, that blood-splattered track has become my home, my church, my shrink, my PLACE. And I share that track with a large handful of women who feel exactly the same way.**
**Disclaimer: I cannot speak for all Derby Girls, nor do I presume to know Everyone’s Story….but I know my own, and I know my friends’, and I know why WE are there. It ain’t for the ‘giner shiners, folks. Ouch, by the way. OUCH.
We are there because we’re broken. Beautifully, crushingly, perfectly broken. Busted right the fuck up. And the other ways we’ve tried to put ourselves back together have failed, or fallen short. We’ve tried “healing,” we’ve tried breathing, we’ve tried forgiveness….yoga, therapy, meditation, hiking, knitting, the “high road,” booze, food, opiates, teen vampires (did I say that, or did I think it?) – you name it. We’ve tried it. And sometimes all that’s left is just to Kick Some Goddamned Ass. And that’s what we’ve come to do. With deepest apologies to Helen Hunt and that creepy kid who sees dead people, we’ve come to Break it Forward. And in doing so, to put ourselves back together.
My fellow Dolls and I sport names like Bruiser Ego, Veronica Tastrophe, Cripple D, Decks-Her Morgan, Crystal Brawl, and Waste Management (that’s mine – hands off, betchesss). A brief scroll through the International registry of names reveals such gems as Buttermilf Paincakes, Armageddon Smashed, Kinky Tuscadero and Sadie Masochist. See more awesomeness here: http://www.twoevils.org/rollergirls You get the picture. These are our true selves. Every woman should have a Derby Name, whether or not she ever puts on a pair of skates. Every single goddamned woman. We’ve all got a roller girl inside of us, but most of us don’t know it yet – we won’t know until we need her. It’s how we should see ourselves and sometimes, how we MUST see ourselves. Because let’s face it, when the shit hits the fan, who are you gonna call – Sally Sunshine? Or Sally Jesse Rough-As-Hell? Thought so.
Again, I cannot know how each of us found Derby, or how IT found us. But my theory is that most of us ended up here because we had to (please keep in mind, I also once had a theory that if I gave enough “thought energy” to Jordan Catalano, he would magically become real, and also my boyfriend – but whatevs. This one’s better). Because, thanks to some past hurt, or hoax, or heartbreak, we had been stripped of our Power, and we wanted it the fuck back.
After an informal practice last week, my 2 friends and I sat – tired, sweating, and so, so happy – removing our gear and chatting about some move we were trying to perfect, when one of them said, “Wow. This is a bench full of Broken Bitches.” That shit was DEEP. Profound and perfect and true. There we sat together: Heartbreak, Betrayal, Mayhem – not our Derby names, but they certainly could be….the worst that life has to offer – helping each other to kick those things’ asses right back to where they came from (usually, that place has a penis, but I digress.). Making the best of the worst, and doing it together. Putting back the broken pieces and making something stronger and far more beautiful than the original. Digging deep and pushing through (and if you’re me, taking out anyone who gets in your way, mostly because you don’t know how to stop yet) and doing it for yourself. Or in spite of yourself. What-the-fuck-EVER. Doing it. Just….doing it.
As I write this, I am nestled into a makeshift, home-fashioned traction device, with ice packs on both knees, moist heat on my ass (nothing to do with Derby, that – just, who doesn’t love moist heat on their ass? Nobody, that’s who.), and vats of ibuprofen and bourbon at the ready. My 44-year-old body creaks and cracks, punishes and protests. And my brandy-new soul tells it to shut the fuck up. Because we’re going back tomorrow.