“Even if you fall, you are still moving forward.”
“It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up.”
“We ruin our bodies to save our souls.”
Roller derby really did save my soul, and helped me claw my way back out of hell and re-build myself from broken fractured pieces into the person I aspire to be. When I first started roller derby sometime around 2014, on and off for years – balancing my time between going to varsity and haphazardly skating a month or two at a time – what I first didn’t realise is that roller derby is for everyone, regardless of age, race, background, body type – anyone can be a roller derby hero. It was only until late 2016, have I really fully committed and felt passionate about the sport.
Similarly to life, in roller derby you will fall – a lot. And then you will fall again, and decorate your body in bruises as a sign of resilience and not giving up. And then you will fall some more. There have been at least a hundred times where I’ve told myself that I can’t do this, hung up my skates and disappeared for a while. But I always come back. I’m not the fastest learner, in fact I’m a pretty awful skater. But what makes me come back after so many years, is how I’ve witnessed roller derby and skating make me stronger, braver, fitter, more confident and it allows me to work through all my ‘stuff’; to push through my own personal boundaries that I’ve created for myself, to bring down those walls and come out stronger in the end.
It’s also about sisterhood. It’s amazing how all the skaters support one another, are there for each other and empower one another. There’s always someone who is willing to help you with learning a new skill, or give support on skating techniques or give you advice about gear. Skating also has been the doorway to building new friendships, and also about having fun while learning about yourself.
Every time I get back on that track, I’m telling myself that I am worthy, and no better or worse than anyone else, and I’m committed to working on myself and being a better version of me. There’s nothing like the euphoric feeling where it finally ‘clicks’ into place, and through constant repetition, and pushing myself, slowly but surely I master a specific skating skill or technique.