Friday, May 30, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: DENIM DESTRUCTOR, #55

It’s week 15 of CFRB, and I’m excited to broaden our booty horizons here by presenting you with today’s derriere that comes all the way from Australia: Denim Destructor!



Denim’s entry was written and submitted (with her approval) by her leaguemate, Felicity Scragwell, a Big Derby Girls Don’t Cry reader who felt strongly that she needed to share her love of Denim’s booty with the rest of the world.

“Denim Destructor (#55), is an ex-artistic skater and all round rink-rat,” says Felicity. “[She] is one of the founding members of the Victorian Roller Derby League (VRDL) and has been skating with us since the early months of 2007.”



Denim Destructor, or “DD” for short, skates on the VRDL team Dead Ringer Rosies as a jammer and blocker (with MY old teammate from Charm City, BERZERKER!).

“We've been a proud observer of Double D's progress, not only in [the] derby field, but also in the field of self esteem,” says Felicity. “[Denim has] gone from strong to confident with happy strength and from denim mini skirt to ruffled denim hotpant - and it's a marvelous thing.”

Hells yeah! I wanna know where the heck can I get a ruffled denim hotpant! Where?! You Aussies sure know how to rock the booty…



“She's kept and built on the agility and swiftness of artistic skating but packs one of our league's meanest blocking punches, and although not (quite)the hardest shoulder/J blocker, there's just no getting past that butt,” says Felicity.



“Her hip checks, booty and body blocking skills make you NEVER want to be behind DD in the pack!”

Felicity, and hopefully DD, will be attending RollerCon this summer - so buy these ladies a beer! They deserve it!

And, DON'T FORGET!!! I need some more booty to keep this Campaign going, so send in those bios and asses: cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Responsibility’s a Bitch, but so am I

The lack of responsibility I have while on vacation or at a conference out of town always sneaks up on me, and by my second day away from home I almost always begin to have a panic attack.

“Am I suppose to be doing something?” “Did I forget something?” and “Has the dog been out?!” are all common thoughts that race through my mind, almost simultaneously, as I feel my chest tighten and body paralyze. And then I remember, “I’m away,” and there’s a bunch of things I’m usually responsible for that I do not have to do.

Walking and feeding the dog, running errands, making dinner and lunches, and cleaning up are amongst the many unglamorous but repetitive tasks I perform on a daily basis. When I’m away from home, the dog is either at home with J or at my mother’s house, I eat every meal out – not ever having to worry about preparations for anyone else, and all my shit is picked up after me by Housekeeping. It sounds delightful, and it is, but I’m also not use to it.

When my dad died, my mom was left with the opposite problem – my dad did all the errands, cooking, and bill-paying, and my mom was hit with a truckload of responsibility.

It’s hard for me not to do things, and it’s hard for other people to do things – I guess it all depends on what you’re used to doing or not doing. Whatever that is becomes your norm, and you get confused and panicky if that routine changes.

The sick thing is, I’m always relieved to come back home and get back to it. I don’t know if I read too much about “finding joy in work” as a high school and college student or if I’m just a gigantic sucker, but I do find it relaxing to come back and reacclimate myself to the swing of things, responsibility or not.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BrewCon

Happy Tuesday! I’m finally back in Charm City after spending 3+ days at BrewCon 2008, the WFTDA Annual Business Meeting, and I’m happy to report that it went very well even though I’m a bit derby-ed out (3 days of meetings from 8-6pm most days)!

It was great to meet some of the ladies with whom I work on the WFTDA – we talk in conference calls and via e-mail, so it was great to place faces with names and get to hang out a bit too. It was also awesome to see some old friends I haven’t seen in a year or more and to meet some new people!

We definitely accomplished a lot of work, and I came away with the lofty dream, wishing all my business interactions were as productive, relaxed, and fun as they were at this meeting, which was full of wonderfully motivated diverse women and men who care an unbelievable amount about roller derby and maintaining integrity in the sport. I’m certainly impressed. And tired.

I love being surrounded by derby people, because in general they seem to value the things in life that deserve value (integrity, hard work, inclusiveness) and don’t give a shit about the rest – they don’t care how you look, and they don’t care how much money you make. No matter how often I go to a derby conference or meeting or bout, I’m always surprised by this, and it’s always refreshing.

I must admit that my camera SUCKED, and I did not get any good booty shots to share with you this Friday. There was a lot of booty there – there was a lot of bare booty there the night of the pub crawl! And, well, I couldn’t show that anyway, right? Right.

Off to do real work – Tuesday is the new Monday…

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: BANAN-A-RAMMER

You know what day it is, people? It’s Campaign day! That’s right, and I’m happy to present you with today’s featured booty, from Florida and a member of the Tourist City Terrors (formerly Florida Roller Girls): Banan-a-Rammer!!!

“I wear the yellow tights to go with my derby name, which is Banan-a-Rammer.”



As treasurer of her league and a one-and-a-half-year vet, Banana indicates she’s a blocker, because “with a butt like that, you kind of have to be.”



“I never really liked my ass until I started roller derby,” says Banana. “It used to bring me some negative attention. Now I block and hit people with it. How great is that?!” Pretty fucking great, if you ask me…



“The other day at practice we had a blocking drill, and one of the girls actually said that she did not like me because she could not get around my ass.”



“I really enjoy playing roller derby and hanging out with my derby sisters outside of practice,” says Banana. She goes on to talk about her personal experience with a roller derby phenomenon that many of us have experienced, and which I perceive to be a great benefit of roller derby. “I now have actual girl friends that I can hang out with, where before I didn't really hang out with girls.”

The impact of derby on Banana’s life doesn’t stop there. “I love fitness and am into clean eating,” she says. “I also aspire to become a firefighter/paramedic [one day].” Get it girl! If you can do derby, you can do anything!

Thank you, Banana for submitting your bio and photos to the Campaign for Real Booty.

It’s been 14 weeks, and each week we see a different ba-dunk-a-dunk – all of them real, all of them strong, and all of them beautiful. Keep those photos and bios coming, ladies! I know it goes against everything a southern belle should be (I know, I lived in Mississippi), but I’d love to feature some of you southerners. I feel you have not yet been adequately represented! Bring it!

The Challenge: Be Shameless

I’ve recently been editing a book about child development and just about every chapter in it makes reference to ways parents or caregivers can screw up their kids by causing the kids to feel unnecessary shame.

Shame is a unique emotion, generally overused in our society, and in my opinion, there are very few times a person should actually feel shame: murder, harming someone or something, or general non-compliance with the Golden Rule (do unto others…). Yet, many, many people feel shame on a daily basis for reasons that are completely unwarranted. Focusing on the issues that us big girls deal with, we often feel shame regarding our bodies, our perceived lack of self-control, and surprisingly, feeling good about ourselves.

It’s taken me 3 years to wear booty shorts to practice and in bouts. THREE YEARS. During that time, I’ve chastised myself too many times to count for eating this or that or blowing off the gym, and many more times I have feel bad about thinking I look good, which is the most fucked up of all.

This weekend I’ll be at BrewCon, the annual WFTDA meeting in Milwaukee, and many of you will be too. But, no matter where you are this Memorial Day weekend I want to challenge you to be SHAMELESS for 3 whole days.

So, from the time you wake up Saturday morning until the time you go to bed Monday night, don’t let yourself feel shame. This isn’t to say the challenge is a 3-day pass to go buck-wild and be a gluttonous asshole – to the contrary, make this a time that you remain true to yourself and follow your own values, but whatever you do, do not put yourself in a position to feel shame.

It’s probably going to creep up on you, maybe when you get up and look in the mirror, maybe after you have had diner with friends and your pants are snug, or maybe when you’re in a room with a group of people and you start to compare yourself to others. Be mindful. Be conscious of your thoughts. If you start to recognize what you’re doing, even if you started doing it subconsciously, pull back, reflect, and stop whatever action is causing shame – just say “fuck it.” It’s only 3 days.

I’ll be doing this too, so if you see me this weekend and I ask you if I “look fat” or something like that, slap me. Okay, don’t slap me, but you get the gist – you have permission to call me on it.

Although I’ll be away, CFRB will be up first thing tomorrow morning. Check it out.

And remember, just say “fuck it” (god, I wish I had a shirt that said that, mimicking the “Just say no” slogan from our childhood…).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Delayed Gratification

Oddly enough, after I wrote yesterday’s entry I started researching instant gratification, and I came upon thousands of results, many research-based, that indicate that not only is instant gratification something everyone wants and buys into, but also that food and money are the most common ways people go about obtaining instant gratification. Well, so much for me being special.

As I poked around more and more, I repeatedly came across the concept of “Delayed Gratification.” It seems that the experts agree – we as humans are hard-wired to want and give into instant gratification, and there’s usually nothing behind our seemingly uncontrollable impulses. So how do you stop the cycle in order to get ahead? Some say by delayed gratification.

It’s simple, really. All you do is put off giving into what you want. The concept is not to entirely refuse that which you want, but to hold out for as long as you can. By doing this you practice control and can eventually see days and even years down the road and conceptualize something like major weight loss or having enough money saved up to put a down payment on a house. And the waiting is worth it.

I feel like I’ve heard this before. Waiting is worth it… Waiting is worth it… SEX! Whatever you do, don’t have sex! And how many of us delayed that gratification, huh?

I tested myself last night. I ate a sensible dinner and a sugar-free ice cream pop and told myself I was done for the evening.

“Delayed gratification,” I kept telling myself. I’ll be happier this summer when I’m at the pool if I resist the urges. “Delayed gratification. I can do this.”

And then I ate a quarter of a jug or premium ice cream and told myself I’d start with the delayed gratification tomorrow. Crap.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I’m a Cyclist

I’ve really been trying to get a better hold on my finances lately, because no matter what “they” say, we’re in a recession. Gas keeps going up, groceries keep going up, and sooner or later my car will be going up, so I figure I’d better start following my budgets better. I’ve been doing good – I was even able to save a little money in addition to my tax refund. But then I blew it.

I have come to realize that I’m stuck in the same cycle with my finances as I am with my health. If I’m “doing good” health wise (I’m down a couple pounds, I’m exercising , I feel good…) I use that as an excuse to go balls to the wall UNhealthy for a few days – smoking, drinking, eating complete and utter shit for food (think: ice cream for every meal). I justify it, because the scale’s then back to my “normal” weight, and I promise myself I’ll exercise tomorrow, which I do, so it’s all on an even keel, right?

I do the same thing when I get a little bit of money. I subconsciously think of it as a cushion. I don’t make plans to spend it, but I coincidentally always wind up going over my monthly budget when I have extra money, and then have to use said extra money to cover my monthly expenses. An extra lunch here, a pair of shoes there… I haven’t gotten myself into debt though, so what’s the big deal, right?

Ugh, I make myself sick with these cycles, and I can’t seem to get them to stop. I don’t want to be this person. I want to be fiscally and healthily responsible, and there’s no reason I can’t be – if only I would stop continually sabotaging myself.

Why do I do this? I’ve been thinking about it, but I just don’t know. I certainly hope I don’t need to find answers here to keep from repeating the cycle, because I can’t seem to come up with any!

Wait! It just came to me: instant gratification. That has to be it, right? Every time I mess up, it’s done on impulse when something I want is offered to me. And I use my health and wealth like a bank. The money literally burns a hole in my pocket, and the few pounds gone burns a hole in my stomach (which is a fairly accurate description, after the heartburn I gave myself on Saturday night).

Well then, why do I feel this need for instant gratification? I know these things I buy or eat don’t make me feel any better, so I can’t really want them. I must want the action of getting them, but why? Now I’m back to the “I don’t know”s.

Well, like Dr. Phil says, “You can’t just unlock the trap door and then go answer the phone.” (Okay, totally fake Dr. Phil quote here) I’m certainly not going to get to the bottom of this problem in the course of writing this blog entry (although it would be nice if I could – immediate gratification rearing its head again…), but by having written it I’m going to force myself to explore it further (seems we all do it). Any suggestions are appreciated!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Still Got Some Work to Do

I may have learned to take a compliment, something that’s still hard to do, but this weekend I found out that I still discriminate against myself. It’s totally unconscious, and it’s not cool at all.

It all started on Thursday when I went out for a beer with my friend, Chrissy. If you follow the link I embedded in her name to her myspace profile, you’ll know I’m not lying when I tell you she’s likely the most beautiful person I know. We weren’t a beer into our evening when a friend of Chrissy’s showed up to join us: tall, thin, incredibly well dressed. I was wearing the same clothes I wore to work – the same clothes that made the President of my company tell me I looked like I needed “some wooden shoes and one of those hats that has points on the sides” earlier in the day.

We’re chatting, the bartender come over and says, “The gentleman at the end of the bar would like to buy you a double shot of Patron.” I waited for Chrissy or her friend to accept. The bartender repeated himself. Crap, is he was talking to me?

“I know you’re not talking to me,” I said.

“Yes,” said the bartender, “The man over there wants to buy you a double shot of Patron – can I pour it for you?”

“Are you sure he’s talking about me?” I ask, “Between these two, he wants to buy it for me? Are you sure?”

I don’t think I’ve EVER been told that someone wanted to buy me a drink. Ever. And I never would have expected it to come at a time where I’m the fug of the sandwich sitting between two slices of gourmet bread.

I politely declined, even though I L-O-V-E Patron. After all, I’m not single, and I didn’t want to have to talk with the guy afterwards. My friends insisted they could keep him at bay and I wouldn’t have to talk with him, but I didn’t feel right about it, so I didn’t do it.

The next day we were out in another part of town at another bar holding a bachelorette party for my friend, Megan. We were having a great time doing shots and chatting with the cute firemen who were collecting money for charity. When we were outside smoking (yes, slap me for smoking), this gang of guys kept walking by. It seemed coincidental at first, but by the third time we realized it was no consequence. Again with the hot friends. Again with the fug sandwich.

Their fourth time by one of them says to me, “My friend likes you.”

This instantly takes me back to, I don’t know, middle school? I remember being in this same situation before and feeling like I needed to be guarded against being tricked. I ignored the guy, standing right in front of me who said it, but he said it again – and a third and fourth time too.

“Is that right,” I say – half inquisitive, half smart-ass. I looked the guy’s friend right in the eye as if I was daring him to fuck with me and say, “NO! You’re fat!”

Instead, they guy says, “Yes, I do. I think you’re pretty and look cool.”

Still not being able to decide if I’m being fucked with, I decide to take the high road (knowing my ladies are surrounding me, just looking for a reason to burry their pointed heels into some stranger’s balls) and I say, “Well, thank you.” It certainly wasn’t the response the guy was looking for, but again, I’m not single, and I was shocked as hell someone came up to me to say this.

Yesterday I was reflecting on both of these instances, trying to figure out what the deal was. Had I been ovulating? Was my body putting off some invisible non-scented pheromones in an attempt to attract sperm donors, a throwback to the cavewoman days where perpetuating the human race was the only real goal in life? I was confused. I couldn’t figure it out.

Then I noticed a trend – a sad trend. I didn’t think I was good enough for either of these things to have happened. Even though I may tell you, your friend, and the guy next door that I believe in myself, that I’m a strong and powerful woman who is worthy of every last bit of attention that had been thrown my way, I secretly and unconsciously didn’t approve of these men choosing me, especially when there was a better selection around in both cases. Wow. I disapprove of me. I don’t like me for me. I don’t think I’m worthy. I didn’t realize that’s what I really think of myself, and it makes me really sad.

I guess, in a way, it’s good this happened and I now know what I really think deep down, because it needs to change. I don’t think I can instantly change my perception of myself, but I can start with accepting that I actually felt the way I did about myself.

It’s hard to share here. Really hard. But, one reason I write this blog is to keep me accountable to myself. Putting myself out there helps me face my fears, tackle them, and come out a better person. I could shove these thoughts aside and not write about them, but then I wouldn’t face them, and it’s obvious that I’ve still got some work to do. At times like these I feel exhausted. I want a break. I’d like to just put these feelings aside, but I know better. Anything worth doing is often difficult, right? Well, here we go again.

Friday, May 16, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: CHERYLICIOUS, #NC-17

It may be week 13 of CFRB, but we’re certainly lucky today! I’m proud to bring you a Charm City transplant, now living in Los Angeles: Cherrylicious!!!



“Derby is what made me appreciate my ass,” Cherrylicious says. “I used to hate it before I started skating.”



As a borderline big booty, Cherry’s ass can go either way, and I personally think she’s a great example of how your attitude determines how others perceive you. Cherry’s got the kind of ass that an insecure girl may be ashamed of. She’s certainly not fat by any stretch of the imagination, but I can see how catty flat-assed rich chicks may attempt to rag on what I think is a wonderful, powerful ass.



But it’s Cherry’s attitude that doesn’t allow anyone to think negative thoughts about her ass – even for a second. She rocks it, and rocks it well. That ass even got me backstage to watch The Police last summer!



“[When] I started roller derby, I realized the amazing power of a booty block and the even more amazing power of booty shorts (which I highly recommend to everyone).” Cherry goes on to say, “Why wear pants when you can rock booty shorts?!? Life hasn't been the same for me since.”



Cherrylicious recently made the move from Baltimore to LA, and although CCRG misses her sorely, we wish her well and know damn well that her ass can do anything she sets her mind to. (PSST! LA! You ladies should really snatch her up!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Campaign for Real Booty, Revisited

The Campaign for Real Booty (CFRB) has enjoyed 12 full weeks of success. CFRB was originally launched as a place to feature those ladies in derby who might not otherwise be the subject of the roller derby photogs because of their size, yet who deserve mention and showcasing regardless of their body type. CFRB celebrates real booties - strong booties, powerful booties, booties who shatter the stereotype of what a booty and the woman attached to it should be. In CFRB, the bigger, stronger booty is our ideal, but we also recognize that smaller booties shouldn’t be discriminated against and have featured them as well.

Through CFRB I think we’ve broken down some walls within our community; we’ve inspired bigger girls who wanted so desperately to be part of roller derby, but didn’t think they could be because of their size, to try out and join their local leagues, we’ve shown that “fat” can coexist with “fit,” and we’ve felt inspired and renewed every Friday when we’ve had the chance to celebrate and relate to that week’s featured booty.

I want to keep this going, but we need more submissions. I’ve heard from so many rollergirl readers how much they love CFRB, but when I ask them to submit some photos and a bio for the Campaign, they become shy and done think they have what it takes. WE ALL HAVE WHAT IT TAKES.

If you make a submission and are featured, I guarantee you that you will be an inspiration to CFRB readers. I’ve also heard from women featured in past CFRB weeks, and the astounding response I get from them is that after being featured, their gameplay changes. They get better. They have more confidence. All because of CFRB? I tend to think they all had it in them the whole time and just didn’t know it. In a way, CFRB is like Dumbo’s feather – he doesn’t really need it, but it helps him get there.

With over 200 leagues in the US alone, I know there have to be plenty more big booties out there for us to farm from. If for some reason you don’t want to make a submission yourself, please nominate someone – send me their e-mail addy or myspace profile, and I’ll nag them.

Now, if you do make a submission, please remember to include your name and a bio with the pictures. I’ve sadly received some submissions without these pieces of info, and it’s incredibly hard for me to track you down, find out who you are, and craft a bio. Plus, we wanna hear from YOU. Why do you like your big butt and thighs? How have you overcome stereotyping? Tell us how awesome you are, and don’t be afraid to do so!

So, unless I get some quality submissions today, your CFRB for tomorrow will be me. Keep in mind, however, I can only do this once. I really don’t want us to miss a week of CFRB. It would seriously make me cry. So, get those submissions in: cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

Now, some upcoming CFRB info:

1. I’m going to take my camera to BrewCon next weekend (the annual WFTDA meeting), and I hope to get some WFTDA Ass that I can feature on 5/30.

2. RollerCon is coming up… Who’s going? Are all the challenge slots taken? If not, I propose someone spearhead a CFRB team. It would be AMAZING if we could get ladies previously featured in CFRB to be on this team, and I guarantee you it would be a blowout.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Non-Narcotics Induced Poop

Today is the day I go cold turkey. I’m off the narcotic painkillers in a grand attempt to be able to poop. You’ve heard me talking about pooping on here before, like the time I almost crapped my pants while walking into work or how the 2007 ECE bathroom smelled like a port-a-pot next to a burrito stand at the end of a weekend-long concert that took place in August in the desert. This time, it’s personal (okay, it’s been personal before too, but that just sounded right to type).

Over the course of 10 days, I’ve pooped twice. Once was no more than a McNugget, totally unsatisfying (much like its McDonald-land counterpart), and the other was a horrifying culmination of 5 servings of Metamucil the day before, 2 coffees at breakfast, and an enthusiastic 1.5 mile run that didn’t end well, and that I refuse to talk about in public. I could really use a poop.

What’s worse, it seems that what once was daily fodder for workplace complaints is now making me jealous. Everyone here must be regular, because by 9am the ladies room and the handicapped bathroom have both been blown up. A girl can only dream.

This weekend I watched a special on John Waters and the making of Pink Flamingos on IFC and found myself getting a bit sad when they were describing what they needed to do to get the goods for the final scene (where Divine eats dog shit). I could sympathize with that dog who couldn’t poop, however the idea of getting a home-made enema with a hair-dye bottle sounds somewhat worse than the not pooping at all. And so my mind dips into the depths of hell, thinking about what is worse than not pooping and what is better…

My stomach’s distended, I feel nauseated a lot, and I’m wonder where on earth it’s all going. So, at this point I’ll endure a little more pain (in the shoulder) if that means I can poop.

I just finished eating Chipotle for lunch, and I’m crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You Put your A/C Joint In, You Put Your A/C Joint Out...

When I was 15, I attended an indoor soccer birthday party for a guy I liked. I was playing Full Back, when an opposing player came in for the goal. We both went for the ball at the same time: him to shoot and score and me to kick the ball upfield and away from the goal. We both missed, and instead of kicking the ball we kicked each other, and I shattered several of the tiny little bones on the top of my foot. It was a Friday night. Basketball tryouts were on Monday after school, and you know damn well that I hid my injury from my parents and attended tryouts 2 days later.

I wound up making it half way through tryouts before I had to stop from the excruciating pain. I couldn’t wear a shoe on my melon-sized foot for the next few weeks. Not only did I not make the team, but I couldn’t do anything for way longer than I would have been able to if I had just gone to the doctor’s immediately and got some crutches instead of attempting to try out for the basketball team.

Fast forward 14 years, and I was almost seriously considering doing the exact same thing, only with roller derby. After the swelling went down last week, I was in much more pain and had to contact my orthopedist again. I did re-separate my A/C joint, albeit not as badly as I did a year and a half ago.

Unfortunately, my saying “I’m okay” and professing to my team that I’ll be at practice this week simply cannot make my injury heal any faster. I wish it could.

So, I’m now back in reality and unsure if I’ll be able to even have good enough attendance to be eligible to play in the June bout if I’m better by then (attendance depends on being active in all drills, not just being absent from practice entirely). I’m sad, but I need to follow the advice I give the injured regularly: let it heal or you’ll be out for longer. And I know this, but I’m stubborn (excuse me, “strong willed”), and I’ve wanted to be able to resume all normal activity right now. I now know I can’t.

So, my natural inclination is to stay away from practice altogether, because it’s surely going to be very upsetting to watch everyone skate and not be able to myself, but I know this is the wrong thing to do. If I really, truly want to become a better player - which I really, truly do - I still need to come to practice and watch and participate in team scrimmages by calling out rosters and just plain being there to hear team strategy over and again. I’ll do it. I’ll be there tomorrow night with bells on.

And in the meanwhile, while I cannot skate, I’ve made the commitment to remain conscious about my healthy eating, since I won’t be getting nearly my usual amount of exercise, and I’ll do what I can as far as squats and lunges and other leg exercises go. I only hope that when I can come back I’ll be prepared and not have such a horrible time getting back to where I was physically before the injury. After all, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day with My Grandmother

As a child, I remember being very nervous just having to talk to my grandmother on the phone to say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Birthday!” because although all of my extended family is from Baltimore, I was born in Arizona and grew up pretty much all over the US, not ever seeing my relatives. There are pictures of me as a baby at my Aunt’s house, but that was one of the last times I physically saw a relative before we moved back to Maryland when I was 11 years old. So, I guess you could say I’m not very tight with my extended family. They’ve always kind of been strangers to me, so I never tried too hard. I didn’t really know what it was like to have cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents around, so I didn’t really have any reason to try and involve myself with them once I was in a position to do so.

This doesn’t stop my mom from keeping me posted and giving me the full updates on each and every one of our extended family members nearly every time I talk with her. This past week seems to have been a bit more stressful with the extended family than usual. My grandmother took a fall about a month ago, was in the hospital, and went into a nursing home for rehab. My aunt, who cares for my grandmother, has ongoing health issues of her own, my other aunt and uncle were both in the hospital for routine surgery last week, and my other aunt is in the nut house in West Virginia.

“Mom’s probably wondering why no one has come to visit her,” my mom says, whose own excuse is an old car that’s she’s afraid to drive the 50 miles on the beltway.

“Maybe I’ll go,” I thought out loud. “The nursing home is only 15 minutes from my house.”

And so, I promised to go – by myself – to a nursing home to see my grandmother on Mother’s Day. Would she know who I was without my mom standing next to me? What if we have nothing to talk about? I think I’ve only ever talked for about 20 minutes with my grandmother total ever.

Yesterday came, and I was a nervous wreck. I kept reminding myself why I initially thought about going: it’s got to really suck to be in a nursing home and have no one come visit you. I only live 15 minutes away. There’s no reason I can’t do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I know very little about my grandmother, but I do know her favorite bakery is not too far from the nursing home, so I stopped by there to pick up some pastries on my way to see her yesterday. I don’t know if I was stalling or if I just didn’t want to show up empty handed. Either way, I know the woman wouldn’t mind some good sweets.

As I was preparing to head over to the nursing home, I thought about all my interactions up until this point with my grandmother. I’m the jokster in the family. I just make jokes. I never talk about anything deep with anyone I’m related to, and I don’t know why, because I have absolutely no issue carrying on meaningful conversations with anyone else – even strangers. I knew I had to go in there and be real. My grandmother deserved that much.

“I’m here to see…” I told the lady at the desk. I got her room number and walked in. She was so happy to see me. She stuffed me full of pastries, and we talked about how much it sucks to be 91 – how she’s been told she must use a walker to walk, but she sneaks without it to the bathroom anyway, how her body is just failing because of the age, and it frustrates her to no end because she feels like people think she’s an idiot, and she’s not.

“She’s just stubborn,” my mom said, when I recounted the day spent with my grandmother.

“No she isn’t,” I said, “She’s strong willed. I’m strong willed. It’s just like my refusal to stay put after a derby injury.”

And until yesterday I had no idea that’s who my grandmother was. Now, I’m glad I know. I'm glad I went, and I’m looking forward to going back and learning more.

Friday, May 9, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: CRUEL BRITANNIA, #'76

Today at the Campaign for Real Booty, I’m happy to bring you a proud flag-wearing booty: CRUEL BRITANNIA!!!



Showing her love for derby all over the US, Cruel Brit has a massive dedication to the sport, picking it up wherever her schooling has taken her. Pre-fresh meat with Rose City in Portland, OR, Cruel Britannia, #’76, did her first real fresh meat time with Providence Roller Derby while studying in CT for a semester.



“From there, I went back to my real school in Tacoma, WA and was part of the Hellbound Homewreckers team with the Dockyard Derby Dames, and now I'm in Harrisburg doing my master's degree and skating with the HARD Nuclear Knockouts,” she tells us. Now that’s some commitment, people.



“I’ve been affectionately called a 'derby whore' for the number of teams I've skated with,” Brit says.



“I was the 'muscle' on the Dockyard squad,” Brit indicates, “but since coming out here, I've become the ass, and realized that I really do like being a pivot.”



And a nice ass that is! You can catch Cruel Britannia next at home in Harrisburg on June 8, 2008, skating against Pioneer Valley (I do hope for her sake that they bring their mens’ team along, The Dirty Dozen, because damn, are they pretty to look at! I’m SO gonna catch shit for objectifying men in this manner…).

Thanks for the submission, Brit! You rock!

Keep those bootys comin', ladies! The Campaign is going strong with asses like Cruel Brit's, and let's keep it that way - send your pix and bios to: cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cindy Lop-her is Not a Quitter

I’ve quit smoking, binge eating, and that horrible sex addiction (wink!), but the one thing I cannot quit is roller derby. I REFUSE.

Since Saturday night, I’ve been asked some of the same questions over and over again: “What happened?” “Does it hurt?” “How long until you can skate again?” And my least favorite of all: “Why don’t you just quit already?”

Why don’t I quit? Really? Why should I? Because I injured myself? Because it hurts? Because there’s absolutely no way in hell I can come back from the injury? Because I’m not really a great derby player, and well, what’s the point anyhow? Because I’m fat? Because you don’t like seeing my ass in gold lame booty shorts? Because when faced with adversity quitting is what one should do?

I’m shocked the most by my coworkers who have asked me this question. I’m their “go to” girl. I’m the one who gets things done even when those things seem impossible. I can polish a turd. I can do the unbelievable, and what contributes to my success in the workplace is the same thing that contributes to my success in derby – I’m tenacious and I refuse to give up, and when I believe I can do something, I usually wind up being able to do it. Why would my coworkers want to contribute to my thinking any other way?

Perhaps I don’t share the same attitude as others. This is my 4th major injury in just over 3 years. Maybe I’m crazy. But there’s got to be some reason I’m still playing derby, right?

I’m not naturally good at derby – I’ve told you all this before. There’s been other things in my life I’m not naturally good at either. Dancing is one of them. J and I always laugh at the “So You Think You Can Dance” commercials on TV. In fact, we talk back to the television: “No, we cannot dance!” As a kid, I wanted to dance badly. I had my mom enroll me in ballet, tap, and jazz. I was horrible. I’ve been just about as tall as I am now (5’1”) since the 4th grade, which means I was the biggest kid then. I lumbered around the dance floor. I was uncoordinated, yet I didn’t know I was uncoordinated until I was forced to spend 2 hours a week in a dance studio covered with mirrors. I sucked. Things were fun before I knew how horrible I looked when I danced (even though I loved dancing itself). I wound up quitting as soon as our 1st recital was over. Yeah, I was 9 years old at the time, but I remember thinking that I wasn’t going to get any better, and I knew I looked ridiculous, so I quit.

Over the past 20 years I learned to laugh in the face of adversity. Okay, maybe not “laugh,” maybe I just came up with a good Poker Face that hid the fact that I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I learned that some things take time and some things are worth doing, even if you’re not the best or a natural at them. So, I guess I learned to do what I want, and I’m exercising that option now. I will not quit roller derby.

One injury a year, even if it’s major, has nothing on the benefits I get daily from being involved in roller derby. From the physical benefits, such as great physical health, to the mental benefits, such as learning to work well with others and accomplishing goals I’d never dream I would be accomplishing, I’d take 2 major injuries a year and still be one happy rollergirl. It’s an injury, it does hurt, I will be out for a bit, and it does suck, but, there’s no way in hell that I’m quitting. And when I come back, you can expect to see me do a little dance (a horrible looking little dance) of joy, because even though my body’s no longer perfect (when was it ever?), I’m using it to do what I want on my own terms, and that’s cause for celebration!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Asking for Help is a Powerful Move

I tend to have some odd associations with some words or phrases. For instance, since I was a kid, whenever I hear the term “self esteem” I instantly think of a steam-engine train and the storybook, The Little Engine that Could. Really, I think I make that association because of “steem” in the word “self esteem” and “steam” as in “steam-engine” train. Plus, the story about The Little Engine that Could was about self esteem, if I remember correctly, and I think I’m correct because I loved that book.

Yesterday I was editing a chapter of a book about children’s development when I came across a quote about self-image and it’s relation to self esteem by Phillips and Bernstein (1989):

"A great self-image is the single most important tool for successfully facing the problems, issues, and crises that arise in everyday life. Self-image is central to how your child learns, achieves, works, socializes, and loves. Self-image is the key to the way your child treats himself and is treated by others." (p. 7)

Although I’ve been all doped up on the Percocet and have been struggling to have any coherent thought, this quote jumped off the page at me, because I had never (at least intentionally) related self-image or self esteem to learning, but looking at it now, I agree that it’s a very integral part.

I’ve heard so many ladies in derby tell me that they’ll feel better about themselves – more confident in their skating – once they’ve learned all the skills they need to know. Yet, I know, from having been around for 3 years that blocking like a wet noodle or just going through the motions but not giving it your all during practice won’t make a person any better at derby. It’s true, you do have to believe in yourself in order to take full advantage of the learning process.

It’s easier and less embarrassing for new derby players to pick other new derby players to pair up with for one-on-one drills. We see this trend over and again, which is why the coaches always tell the Fresh Meat to pick a Vet to pair up with. I know why we do this, and I agree with it, yet in “real life” I don’t always follow the same principles, and I should.

Very rarely do I ask anyone for help – I’m more likely to research possible solutions and then just pick one, which is stupid, because in most cases there is someone I could ask who would be able to help me. It’s like my asking for help makes me powerless in my own mind, and that assumption I’ve carried with me for years is just plain ridiculous. What am I afraid of? That someone will think I don’t know what I’m doing? Well, sometimes I don’t. And that admission – that I don’t know everything – is a fine admission that I need to come to terms with more often.

Asking for help won’t make me powerless. In fact, asking for help from someone who knows what she’s doing will actually help me learn more quickly than would pulling random guesses out of my ass.

I want to be the best derby player I can be, so I’ve recently gotten used to asking for feedback and help from coaches and other great players. I need to take that attitude over into my non-derby life more often.

I’ve talked about being a role model for other women on here before, and I think that’s important, not just in derby. If each of us asked for help when we needed it, and another woman saw us (strong, self-confident women) doing so, we’d be doing some good for other women who struggle the way I do. And, in the course of doing so, we may even convince a few men to pull over and ask for directions!

Phillips, D., & Bernstein, F.A. (1989). How to give your child a great self-image. New York: Random House.

Shoulder Update

I’m on the fast track to healing! Nothing “major” is wrong, my orthopedist said, and I’m out of the sling! The pain should hopefully subside in a week, and I can (this is the best part…) resume normal activity as it feels OK to do so - woot! Thank you, gods of derby – THANK YOU!

Additionally, my VP here at the publishing house has been trying to convince me to let him try this myofascial trigger point therapy to relieve some of the pain. I decided to give it a go, and although I’m not pain free, I do have a lot better range of motion and am in significantly less pain! Amazing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why Can't I Control Time Itself?

Being injured sucks, there’s no two ways about it. I have an appointment with my orthopedist today at 3pm. In the meanwhile, it’s the waiting and not knowing how long before I’m no longer in pain and able to skate again that’s killing me.

Percocet is nice, but it makes me angry. I remember years back when I had my wisdom teeth removed – the Percocet and Oxycontin made me lash out at everyone around me, namely the people who were taking care of me: my mom and J. Just as it is now, I don’t WANT to be angry or frustrated, but I am. I’m ready to throw the keyboard against the wall, because I cannot type fast enough or accurate enough for my liking with my left hand. I’m at work, but I’ve had to put pretty much everything else I’m doing on hold.

I hate being on hold. It makes me paranoid. I’ve been really excited to be learning my new position as Pivot, and I’m scared as hell that in whatever amount of time I have to take off of skating my team will train someone else to play Pivot, and I will no longer have the chance to pivot when I return from my injury. It’s selfish, I know, but it’s also an honest reaction. I really care about my game play and new position, and I want to keep it and improve on it – not sit stagnant on the sidelines and be forgotten by my team. Inevitably, your team goes on without you, at least to some extent. They have to, and I don’t blame them for that, but it does make me sad.

And then there’s the “what if”s. What if this is the beginning of my continually dislocating my shoulder? What if that means I cannot play anymore? What if something is terribly wrong that the ER didn’t catch on Saturday? What if I cannot play in the next bout? The next two bouts? The next THREE?!?!

Back when I was a high school athlete, the closest I ever came to a situation like this was when I played tennis. I was a singles player (only the top 2 female players in our school played singles – everyone else played doubles), and my other teammates could “challenge” me for my position at any time, during any practice. They just had to let our coach know, and we played a game during practice time that would determine if I kept my spot or if I got bumped down to doubles. There was this one girl who always made excuses for why she wasn’t a singles player, and she always challenged me and always lost – always making more excuses as to why she lost. Well, this one time I came out of a match slightly injured – a muscle in my foot separated from the bone. Damned if she didn’t challenge me at the very next practice, hoping to exploit my injury.

In some ways, derby is a lot less cut throat than high school tennis was. In derby our coaches and captains are our fellow players, and over all I’d say that everyone wants to see everyone else succeed. At least on my team, Speed Regime, I can’t see anyone trying to usurp my pivot position or try to convince my captains that I’m a “bad” or “unworthy” player in general. We’re a chill team who loves and supports each other, yet even being on the best team ever, I get these panicked feelings relating to my injury. I suppose it’s only natural that our brains think along the lines of “survival of the fittest” – and recognize when we, ourselves, are certainly no longer the “fittest” when injured.

I won that challenge match in high school, even though I was injured. I can’t exactly ignore this shoulder injury and go back out on the rink and do the same, but I can keep myself prepped and poised for derby re-entry even while I’m injured. Instead of running, I can walk. I’ll keep a stricter handle on my food intake, since I won’t be getting as much exercise, and I’ll do everything the orthopedist tells me to. It’s time itself that’s my nemesis. Hopefully it will go quickly.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Joy (Pump it up, Pump it up) and Pain

Saturday was our season opener, and it was amazing! All the way up until I had to go to the hospital.

The trades we made to level out the teams and the skill disparities among them proved to be a great decision. Both games were close, and it made it so exciting to play against formidable opponents. Our first period against the Mods went well, and we came out of it up 2 points. We were prepared to blow past them early in the second...

I think it was the 4th or 5th jam of the second period when it happened. I was pivoting, and Penalty'na and I were taking turns slamming into each other up front. We were only at turn 2 when we collided and our shoulders perfectly met. I felt mine “roll and grind” and I knew instantly something was wrong. It was hot and in a lot of pain.

Derby flashed before my eyes – I had so many thoughts at once! Was something broken? Dislocated? Separated? Was I okay? Would I be out for the season? Could I play the remainder of the game?

I never hit the ground – I kept skating and made the decision at turn 3 to throw a block with the injured shoulder to see just how bad it really was and if I could continue to play.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! The hit brought me down to a knee. I got back up but knew I was done. Luckily, the jam was called off seconds later, and I sprinted to the EMTs.


“You have to go to the hospital now,” they said. After much arguing and discussion on my part about my not wanting to have to pay for ambulance transport, the head EMT felt bad for me, broke his rule, and put my shoulder back in socket. I was told later by a teammate who had been out on the rink skating that she could hear my scream, but I don’t even remember doing it.

I waited the final 9 minutes for the bout to end (we lost by 4 points, if I remember correctly), and Betty Beatdown collected my things and took me to the hospital, where, luckily I was “fast tracked.” After a quite hilarious experience in the bathroom trying to collect a urine specimen (Betty offer to hold the cup for me – a true friend), the painful process of removing my shirt and bra, and a very awkward experience with an x-ray tech who wanted to take my picture and me to touch his wiener, I finally found out the very good news that nothing was broken or separated (yay!).

I will say, for the prognosis (shoulder and a/c contusion), the pain doesn’t seem to match – I’m in WAY more pain now than I was when I did have a grade 3 a/c separation (of my other shoulder). It’s bizarre.

I got a script for Percocet (and had fun filling that at 12am while still in my booty shorts and fishnets – people were falling over themselves looking at me with such confusion!), I have a sling, and I’m due to see my orthopedist tomorrow at 3pm. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’m not ready to stop playing derby, and I’m certainly not ready to give up on this season. I said it last fall: this is my season. And it still is. I will come out of this injury bigger and better than ever! I will become the pivot of all pivots! Now, where did I put that pill bottle…

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Favorite Derby Things

Since the 1st bout of our home season is this weekend, I have been thinking a lot about the various derby-related items I can’t seem to live without and must make sure to bring with me on bout day, and I thought I’d take some time today to list some of those items I just can’t seem to live without.

1. Enell Sports Bra: This is the BEST SPORTS BRA EVER MADE, and I simply cannot emphasize that enough! The slogan of this bra is “The bounce stop here!” and it’s true – no matter the size of your boobies (32C-52DDD), this bra puts them in their place. I run in this bra, and I skate in this bra – it even kept me from slapping myself in the face, just last night, as I was doing jumps on skates. The lovely ladies at Black Eyed Susan Skate Shop (Mibbs Breakin’ Ribbs, Marzipain & Souxie Slaughter) sell this bra for cheaper than I’ve found it anywhere else. It’s not a cheap item, but I guarantee that you will never buy another brand of sports bra again – it’s well worth it’s weight in gold. While Black Eyed Susan Skate Shop's site is under construction, you can visit their myspace page or e-mail Souxie Slaughter for more information and to place an order: slugrose@gmail.com

2. FRS: New Sun® Nutrition are the makers of the FRS line of products, which are endorsed by Lance Armstrong. The deal here is that FRS is packed with antioxidants, which is suppose to give you more and sustained energy if taken 30-60 minutes prior to a workout. I first heard about FRS on HungryGirl.com, one of my favorite food sites on the web, and a source I trust to tell the truth about whether products work, don’t work, taste good, or taste like shit. I personally have been taking FRS supplements for about 3 months now (I use the Diet Orange Concentrate before practice or the gym and keep the Lime Chews in my skate bag in case I forget to drink the concentrate before I leave the house). I feel that I can really tell the difference in my endurance when I use FRS – it gives me an extra energy boost in the 3rd hour of endurance practices. FRS offers a free trial that consists of preselected items (you can choose regular or sugar free) that you can sign up for on their website. Just know that you must cancel after you receive your free trial, or you will be sent and billed for their products on a monthly basis. Personally, I subscribe to get 2 items (concentrate and chews) every 2 months, because the concentrate is not sold at GNC (only chews and the WAY overpriced individual drinks), and you get a discount by ordering directly from FRS.

3. Ezeefit Ankle Booties: Why is it that I’ve never gotten blisters from cheap-ass skates, but I have now with my expensive ones? In any event, I suppose I should consider myself lucky to have been blister-free for so long. What works to prevent blisters are these neoprene booties. You wear them under or instead of socks or tights, and they don’t allow any rubbing of themselves or anything else with your sensitive foot skin. They can also be found at Black Eyed Susan Skate Shop. Happy feet – ahhh…

4. DanceWear® Solutions: DanceWear® Solutions is a dance catalog that carries all sorts of clothing that crosses over into the derby world, and they even carry plus sizes. It’s from this catalog that I purchased the gold lame booty shorts I will be wearing this season. Warning: some of the little-girl outfits, and the models wearing them, are downright creepy.

5. Tiger Balm: Forget Ben Gay, Icy-Hot, or anything else that is suppose to help relieve pain and sooth muscles – Tiger Balm is the way to go! I usually slather down my lower back with this stuff prior to each time I skate. The red version is more intense than the white. I suggest using the white for shin splints and other leg cramps, but I like the red to head off lower back pain at the pass.

6. Smart Water: Electrolytes are important. Without replenishing your body’s electrolytes you can get drained and dizzy pretty fast – not to mention that muscle cramps begin when your electrolytes are low or depleted. Gatorade has too much sugar in it for me – it makes me get the mouth-pukes if I drink it when I skate, but water just doesn’t cut it, especially during a competition. Smart Water is water with electrolytes – no sugar, no calories, just what you need to put back what leaks out of you while you’re skating (ewwwww).

7. Sock Dreams: Sock Dreams is THE place to buy derby socks. They have a huge selection, and a good amount of diversity in socks made for thicker legs and thighs. They even make a sock that rival’s American Apparel’s over-the-knee socks that you can buy without the guilt of supporting the eccentric self-proclaimed “oversexed” CEO who has been rumored to have several statutory rape charges against him.

Well, I’m sure I could come up with more products I love, but this is the short list of derby Items I can’t live without. Is there something great you can’t get enough of? Post it as a comment for us!

Tomorrow’s Campaign for Real Booty has me REALLY excited! We’ll be featuring the MOST REQUESTED booty in this campaign, so check in, because this ass is sure to be a hit!