i had the most amazing experience on saturday night that, roughly put, has changed my life. (have i been saying that a lot lately? feels like it.)
we went to roller derby. the Texas Roller Derby Championships. to say I was inspired is to understate it. I was ENTHRALLED, it was so badass. And it had nothing to do with tattoos, piercings, fishnets, or makeup. In fact, a lot of the girls didn’t have many of the first two (however, there was plenty of the second). It was adrenaline-pumping. i screamed and clapped and hooted with the rest of them. i stood up in my seat, i rooted for my favorite jammers (Dusty Doublewide and Kategory 5, what what!), I felt the power of those thunder-thighed ladies.
most of the derby girls aren’t skinny little things. Sure, there are a few tiny jammers, but for the most part, they are girls with meat on their bones. Their curvy hips are out there doing their jobs. because in roller derby, your big booty is an ASSET. it’s hard to get past that brick wall of a woman when she’s got her 40″ hips checkin’ you into the rail. i was jazzed to be there because even though I saw the movie, I really had no clue what to expect. i knew it would be inspiring and i had a feeling i would like it. i didn’t. i LOVED it. there was so much energy and (a lot of) alcohol, but all the noise was about how amazing these women are. everyone there was celebrating how marvelous these women are for using their non-skinny, non-model-sized, totally-physical bodies.
AND THEY WERE OWNING IT. there wasn’t one girl covered up. They were wearing spanx and booty shorts and absolutely FLAUNTING their curves. it was like they were daring ANYONE to say something about how bigger girls couldn’t pull off sexy. (but it’s like my friend Tony says–who were corsets invented for?) i couldn’t keep my eyes off of one of the jammers/pivots/blockers, because not only was her booty covered with a pair of Texas-flag shorts, she had a shirt that didn’t cover her belly. Which wasn’t flat. Girl had some little bit extra, and she was so sexy, so confident and so GOOD at her game. Her little belly didn’t slow her down or keep her from kickin’ ass. These athletes were so impressive.
i wanted that as soon as i recognized it–that confidence. how amazing that must be, to always feel that no matter what happens in the dressing room (or as I call it, the Den of Shame), it doesn’t dictate how awesome you are. these girls are sayin’ yeah, i’m amazing. yeah, i got a little more to love–so what? it doesn’t change the fact that i can lay you out in two seconds. they’re using their bodies for more than a hanger. now, i’m aware that i don’t know these girls in real life and maybe they still struggle with body issues. i just didn’t see any shame out on that track Saturday night–and that comes from daily embracing yourself, not hating.
i know most people go to those events and come away thinking, i want to do that. i can do that. i can’t imagine seeing that and NOT thinking that. there’s so many people cheering, you look amazing, and no one can say anything bad about you for wearing fishnets. you’re grouped with the hardcore because you’re getting thrown into the rail, knocked down, pushed around and generally people are out to get you. you’re rocking life.
but you guys.
i want that. I can do that. I’m not interested in the costuming, I’m not there for the attention. i want it so i can be around other women who are all about putting themselves out there and embracing what their body can do, regardless of what convention says is beautiful or worthwhile. It’s why I love zumba so much, why i am drawn back again and again–i am using my hips to create beauty. no one can judge me for my dancing, and i wouldn’t care even if they did. in a much more physical way, that’s what those roller derby girls do.
that’s why, first thing this morning, i emailed the new recruits coordinator. and found out they just started a training boot camp course. For the next six Saturdays, i’ll be spending a few hours on the track, learning not only how to skate (which I’ve always been good at), but also how to stop, pivot, skate backwards, and block. i don’t know what’s next from there–there’s bound to be tryouts for the New Girl League, (which is like the training league). i’m not saying i’m going into this with a plan to be a superstar. i may not like it. i may not be able to take the hits like i want to. maybe i can’t hit back. but that’s why i’m not looking too far forward yet. I just want that AMAZING workout–that’s something i kept thinking over and over again on Saturday: What a great workout that must be! And I want to feel nothing but pride at my muscular thighs.
I want the chance to be involved with something, especially with something that I’m already good at. (seriously, in college i played roller hockey with some frat boys. i remember thinking “what’s the point of being good at skating? How could you possibly use that in real life?”). so I’m not going to sit around and wonder what if. I’m going to put myself out there, because that’s what life is about. I’m going to wake up early on Saturday mornings and skate when I’d rather snuggle under the covers. it means paying the money, buying the skates, and pursuing a training schedule. I’ve never been involved in a sport, so i’m eager to see what being on a team feels like. i can’t wait to be exhausted and sore.
there are so many layers to this. so many feelings to sift through, doubts to banish, excitement to temper. i know it’s going to be a change; i’m hoping it’s for the best. i know i’m going to learn a lot. i’m so excited for this ride.