My Body, My Home

International Women’s Day came and went, and with it, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie and a collection of celebrities who either loved it or hated it. I have my own personal feelings (mostly dislike) toward pseudo-celebrities and their need to remain relevant, but in this case, I had to side with Kim K. She wrote an open letter, told everyone to mind their business, and defended herself by pointing out how empowering it is to love your body.

In my time with roller derby, I’ve noticed there are all types of bodies. The thing is, you don’t really see it after a while. Regardless of your size or shape, its the skills that make you a great player. A gal might look like she would be a good jammer, but naturally, she’s just better at blocking. You really can’t judge because there is no “derby body”, anyone can play (but you do get some awesomely thunderous thighs, tho.)

It took me a year to stop hating myself and my body. It was a process of eating heathlier, losing weight and accepting myself as I am, not as I thought other people would want. I never actually reached my goal weight of 110 lbs because I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and said “you don’t look so bad”, which is a compliment in my book. That’s all I needed to stop worrying about what I looked like in shorts, or thinking that everyone was talking about my celluite.

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My body is all mine, all of it, my possession. So when someone like Kim K. posts a nude selfie and defends it by saying “its my body, and I do what I want with it”, I can’t be mad at her. There are so many female celebrities with nude photos out there in internet world that they did not intend for all to see. What other way of empowering yourself than by posting one yourself because it is your body. I agree that it is a bad example for young fans, but the internet is bad for young fans. I think the person to blame there are the parents, but that’s a whole different post.

The thing is, we, as women, are constantly judged by the way we act, dress, live, etc. From adolescence, we are self conscious of ourselves and, for many of us, we never really get over it. Women need to stand up for each other and say, “Hey, if you think you look good and you want to post that nude photo of yourself, go for it. I wouldn’t, but that’s not my body, its yours.” Do what you feel, when you feel…as long as you don’t hurt any body else. ;P

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Cry on the Inside like a Winner

I would have never used the word “strong” or “feminist” to describe myself in the past. I depended on people I loved to make me feel happy, give me a reason to be alive, and to push me through things I wasn’t sure I could do. I was warned, a few weeks before starting derby, that feminism will take over once I get into the community. I didn’t believe it because how can a bunch of girls in fishnets and short shorts (sometimes tutus) be feminists?

A few days ago, I had cramps. Really bad cramps that made me weak in the legs and unable to walk without excruciating pain. I rested on the bed and my husband approached and patted my back. When I turned over, he seemed surprised and said “oh, I thought you were crying”. I thought for a moment and said “I want to play derby. I can’t cry.”

Derby has taught me that no matter what ways my mind tries to psyche me out, I can do anything. At practice, when we think they are telling us to do the impossible and yet we manage to do it with little injuries, the coaches say “see, you didn’t die”. This is my mantra now.

I can’t do it. Oh, but just try. O-m-g I just did it. See, you did it and didn’t die.20160212_172628-1

As a woman, we are constantly told we aren’t strong enough for anything tough. Sure, we can play sports but not something as dangerous as football, and even if we could, they’d “be easy on us”. Girls get pummeled in derby, its, essentially, the entire point of the sport. Then, we go home and take care of our husbands, wives, human children, and/or dog/cat children. We work our various jobs, go to college, make things with our hands, and just be awesome on a daily basis. While guys just play sports and depend on us to make everything easy.

And that’s when the feminism kicks in. Look at my busy life while I still have time to put 8 wheels on my feet and jump over piles of bodies just to score some points. I have skills that I cultivated just through sheer determination and practice. In the words of my husband after I complained of post-practice pain combined with cramps: I am a warrior. And being a woman made me that way.

Teach Me How to Derby

The past few months, but especially the last two, I have been reinventing what it means to be Christine. For several years since my bipolar diagnosis, I’ve let my mental illness be that thing. Why didn’t you come to my party? Cause I’m bipolar.

This year marked the first time I claimed a New Year’s Resolution: To stop making excuses, make friends, and be nice. For someone like me, these things are harder than losing weight or giving up alcohol. And last year, I could do nothing but complain about how no one liked me or wanted to be my friend like a spoiled rich kid who pays people to hang out with him (sorry John DuPont). This year, I would be better and be someone who I don’t hate on a regular basis. But really honestly, stop using my mental health issues as a crutch.

Within two months, I’ve gone to two concerts, did the 5K at Disney in January, and joined a roller derby league which I am absolutely excited about. Sure, I hurt and wish that I wasn’t such a weakling in comparison to these girls who have rock hard quads and nice butts. But now when people say “Roller derby? Isn’t that like really dangerous?” I say, “Yeah, it’s pretty much the most awesome thing you could ever do.”

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Under my pinky…small but painful!

I may not be able to stay upright all the time, I may have bruised my palm from falling in only the 2nd day of practice (who bruises their palm?), and I may look nothing like the veterans that skate around on banked tracks and slick floors like they’ve been doing this since birth…but, I became my own hero the day I showed up to practice and put every ounce of effort I had into doing this.

A few days ago, depression was trying to push its way back into the forefront of my brain. It makes you yell at your wonderful and supportive husband and tells you that you have no business even trying anything new cause you’re just mediocre. So I put on my skates and gear, and let derby hip check those thoughts right out.