Yep… I’d like to say that’s why I haven’t posted in over 2 weeks, and maybe it had a little to do with it because my mind has been pre-occupied, but no. However it has taken me all week to write this, I started out writing my whole sob story and then stopped myself… You’re welcome; you could have been stuck reading this for hours.
I’d like to share my experience of roller derby with you and the reasons why I left. It may not seem relevant to the title of ‘all things health, happiness and wellness’ but you’ll see.
This may come as a surprise to you, but Roller Derby isn’t always fun, my experience has been peppered with insane highs (winning bouts, amazing friendships, dance/jam skating, empowering boot camps, meeting & skating beside incredibly inspiring and talented individuals) and inglorious lows (getting our arses handed to us, betrayals, bitter feuds, infidelities, broken hearts and bodies).
I think sometimes Roller Derby is a reflection of feminine energy, as I’m sure most would agree (unless you’re perfectly hormonally balanced) we all suffer from these highs and lows, maybe a club’s health is decided on our energetic & hormonal health?
My Roller Derby journey started in June or July of 2009 (I can’t quite remember the exact date, as it coincided with a break up that turned my life on its side… In a good way).
I was 22, had recently left a 5 year relationship and didn’t really know who I was. I was intrigued by what I’d seen on TV about Roller Derby and didn’t really have anything better to do.
I immediately fell in love with it! I wanted to be Kitty Von Krusher from VRDL, I was never into following our American counterparts closely, because they are so so advanced and I could relate more to a home grown hero. I still have a picture of Kitty on my vision board at home.
As I joined a very small club (5 members including me), it was all hands on deck and I quickly became the Treasurer, and you know what? Being on a committee of a rapidly growing sports club is tough! But I feel like I learnt a lot from my experience on the committee over the years.
People came and went, we dealt with A LOT of bullshit, like the kind of stuff that you could only dream of watching on the most far-fetched soap opera on TV. Some of the bullshit broke people and it nearly broke me, but something always kept me in the club. I think it was loyalty. Derby feels like another family, but I also think that being a derby girl is a little like being in a bad relationship; The boyfriend (Roller Derby – we’ll call it ROD for the sake of this metaphor). So ROD is an abusive boyfriend, he beats you up, tells you that no one will want you, that you’re never good enough, and then just as you’ve made your mind up, just as you’re set to leave he turns up at your house with a boom box blasting “Baby Come Back” then you have amazing make up sex and all is forgiven (I’d call this getting your mojo back or having an amazing bout/training session). ROD is demanding, he wants all of your time and he doesn’t care about your friends outside of the relationship, you realise all that your missing out on, and again you try to leave, but all it takes is one good thing, one compliment, one loving gesture and you’re right back in his arms.
It’s like being trapped in a vortex, where for me life has stood still. I managed to study, work and play derby throughout 2011, but my body became so stressed that I developed CIN III (Cervical Pre-Cancer), I had to have LLETZ “therapy” (this is the most un-fun, humiliating, painful, scary experience I’ve had in my life), I consulted my Kinesiologist and my Ayurvedic guru Kester – both my Kinesiologist and Kester agreed that my stress levels were maxed out. As a nurse I research things and a really worrying trend popped up – the relationship between long term stress and cancer! I had to take over 6 months off derby and worked really hard at making myself well again. I went back to derby mid last year and worked my arse off to be back in the bouting level, but it didn’t feel the same. Everyone else’s skills had progressed so much, I was beating myself up about not being as good as them, I wanted to be amazing, I was pushing myself harder than I had ever done before and still I felt like I was getting no where, plus I wasn’t loving it…
This is where I come to my point, unless you’re completely in love with something, unless you can’t live with out it, don’t give it everything you have, don’t sacrifice your happiness on a promise of what could be.
My decision to leave has been really hard, I’ve cried more than I care to admit about a sport which will always hold a place in my heart… But I know my decision is the right one.
I want to be really, truly, bouncing off the walls, shining, vibrantly healthy and happy. I want to be able to commit to other activities, I want to spend time getting to know me and developing myself spiritually, I want to start my tea business and study some more, I want to spend time with the friends I’ve neglected over the years… Sadly ROD won’t let me do those things, so for now it’s goodbye.
– Cass xo –