There’s this little voice in my head that kicks and screams every Sunday morning when my alarm goes off. Sometimes it goes and starts in a physical fit of tightened muscles and tossing and turning before my alarm goes off (because I still wake up before it goes off like Christmas). I remember when doing something that made me feel brave boosted my ego and gives me steam to try again but I also imagine new and interesting worst case scenarios that make me rethink my derby decision.

There is something terrifying and also exciting about this process. I’m finding out things I didn’t know I was capable of. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have those thriving concerns…. What if someone kills me on the track?? What if they figure out I’m just a lazy, wimpy, flake? Will I ever earn the respect of the veterans? Somehow I forget everything once I’m on the track. I take one last glance at the vinyl on the glass:

“Skate at own risk”.Skateatownrisk

I do not consider myself athletic. Running is for when you’re in danger; even chores seem physically demanding to me. The thing about exercise is when it’s fun and distracting it never seems like work–but a game. I am guilty of not only being competitive but also a sore loser. When I fall on my ass on the track, I laugh. I can truly not beat myself up but simply laugh and try again.

Things I’ve learned so far are small bursts of endurance that I didn’t know could be so easily taught. My legs go to jello and somehow I continue moving on to the next exercise with a skip in my step, not a limp.

Feedback has been the thing that’s given me a reason to keep coming back. I don’t realize my strengths when I’m modest about my qualities. I find joy in cheering on my teammates when they conquer small feats. Sometimes I can’t get the hang of a new technique and I feel so awkward it’s hard to describe why it’s not working, and then a veteran who was watching will give me clues and new positions to try and I listen and feel the physical nuances. It’s so inspirational and empowering it makes me feel like I could join the gladiators on the track and provide a unique quality to the pack!

Maybe there is something about my inclination towards plots like Hunger Games and Divergent that make me feel trapped and grows my desire for mental freedom that makes this life feel purposeful and as though I can create a legacy if I just stir up some trouble or face adversity with bravery or courage.

Maybe I can be that strong female role model that I admire.

6-2-14
It’s starting to get real. No tiny exercises and manageable tasks, we’ve moved to contact. Terrifying to enter a task knowing someone is trying to hit you! My ever supportive husband tries to keep my spirits up but I’m really doing derby now! My abs hurt and watching these videos on the recruit page and I’m still not low enough! There are so many things that make me second guess myself. The strongest thing I can do is despite the kicking and screaming is to just show up and try the best I have in me. I always leave feeling like a new person.

-Ashley

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