Skaters be skating

Posted on November 10, 2013 by

12


I annoy some people in the roller derby world. Derby is a safe place for all the misfits: shaved hair, tattoos, LGBTIQs, people who struggle with their weight, people who don’t conform to gender norms. I don’t fit any of these criteria. In an environment where it’s ok to be different, I’m just not the right kind of different. I annoy people with my enthusiasm, my girliness, the fact that I often float away from the group to flap around trying out figure skating moves. I wear skimpy outfits; I wear pink. I’m the new girl that is comfortable getting up straight away and leading a training session.

But I’m shy in social situations. In a microcosm where outcasts can feel connected, I sometimes feel too mainstream – a misfit of the misfits. Trawl my Facebook for the group shots. If I’m in them, I’m on the edge. I feel like a fraud posing for those shots. Like, if the group could quietly vote, they wouldn’t want me in them.

Group Photo 2013

Group Photo 2013

Group Photo 2012

Group Photo 2012

Group Photo 2011

Group Photo 2011

Group Photo 2010

Group Photo 2010

I attract the wrong kind of attention. Wearing bright, tight clothing, instructing the league, thinking I have some kind of right to voice my derby opinions for the world to read – clearly I’m ‘up myself’. Over the last three years, there’s been the odd soul ready and willing to drag me back down to earth. Usually someone with low self-esteem who gets a sense of gain when they can instil in me a sense of loss. Then we enter a funny kind of spiral. I feel attacked so I retreat socially, not just from her but those close to her too. People feel shunned by this and they react. Rinse and repeat. And there you have it, Eve really is a snobby bitch who thinks she’s better than everyone.

The truth is, I don’t think I’m better than you. To be honest, I don’t think about you much at all. When I’m off faffing about with jumps and swirls, all I’m thinking about is how it feels, how to tweak it so I don’t keep falling on my arse. When I’m instructing and giving tips on how to improve, I’m not thinking you’re a shit skater because you haven’t nailed it yet – I’m seeing you as a series of movements and am analysing them for improvement.

I love derby. I don’t love the shit that comes with it. Every time I get a new comment on this blog, every time I get a new email to my derby name email address, I cringe as I open it and then feel immense relief in the 99% of cases where the content is positive or neutral.

I wish I could be less annoying but I am who I am. And who I am is, amongst other things, a derby player.

Everyone has an Eve in their league. Maybe she irritates you. Maybe you feel she must have had an awesome vanilla childhood and has just sailed through her privileged life exuding confidence, expecting and receiving the world on a silver platter. You’re probably wrong. But, then again, that’s none of your damn business. Don’t be hating on your league’s Eve. When she’s engaged, soak up her energy. When’s she’s off doing her own thing, join in or simply let it be. Recognise when you’re letting your own anxieties colour how you think about her. Trust me, your league’s Eve wants to live and let live.

Haters be hating; skaters be skating. If you’ve got enough energy for the first one, you’re not putting enough into the other.

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Posted in: LimboLand