Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Love My Car

Since I really and truly have nothing interesting to say about anything today but am actually getting a lunch break, I’ve decided I’d tell you how much I love my new car. Now, I know it’s wrong to love an object this much, but it’s one of the few joys in my overworked life right now, and sadly enough I’m still excited to wake up each morning and drive it.

I didn’t plan on getting a new car until the summer, but it was fate that brought us together. Leading up to the purchase, my horoscope had been telling me that I’d fall in love with someone, which confused me because I thought I already was – myself. Okay, maybe two people… Then, the day I came home with my white Scion XB, my horoscope had said I’d get what I so strongly desired. Weird.

This is only the third car I’ve ever owned in my life, and I’ve been driving since I was the ripe old age of 16. Three cars in 14 years: a Jetta, a Tercel, and an XB. I loved my Jetta. Don’t get me wrong, it was a mechanical piece of shit, but when it was running it was such a smooth and wonderful ride – it was glorious. Then, in college, I needed something I could rely on to take me 40 continuous miles on the highway. The Jetta was out and the Tercel was in. I never really loved the Tercel, and I actually didn’t like it all that often either, but it had one redeeming quality: it was reliable. The Tercel lasted me from 1997 until last month, but it wasn’t my dream car. It didn’t even have a CD player. The shocks were shot, and it was tiny, tiny, tiny. Great for gas mileage – totally practical, but practical is not always what a girl wants.

My XB reminds me of my Jetta – it’s a car I love to drive, and I feel like hot shit when I’m driving it. Some people say looks don’t matter, and I had almost convinced myself that was the case when I was with my Tercel, but now that I have the XB I’m fine with being a superficial cunt: looks matter.

I find myself parking further away and on higher-than-normal levels in parking garages, so I can find larger spaces or an end spot with extra room so I can park farther away from the car next to me. I never thought I’d be that person, but I am – I don’t want the color of your car door on the side of my car! I neurotically check my passengers’ side each time I return to my car to ensure nothing of the sort has happened.

I almost had a heart attack several weeks ago when I took the XB from Frederick to DC – I had a keg in the back, and I wound up stopping short for a dimwitted cabby. The keg hit my rear windshield with so much force that I heard the collision. I was sure the windshield was cracked, but thank god the car was fine (the beer was a little foamy, but we dealt). Good times, good times.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rollergirl of The Month

Guess who's rollergirl of the month??? ME!!!

Sign up here to receive the Charm City Roller Girls monthly newsletter in which I am rollergirl of the month - issue to be emailed out tomorrow.

I gotta say, reviewing the proofs of this newsletter led me to the conclusion that there are NO good action pics of me. I'm slightly horrified by all the pics you will see associated with the article, which is the first thing I've written in almost a week (sigh).

Bear with me - I'll get back on track. I PROMISE!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Making Excuses, Living in Lies

My doctor said to me earlier today, “Wow, it’s nice to actually be able to help someone.” He was referring to the fact that through his suggestions for diet and exercise, I was actually able to alter my body significantly over the course of a year, bringing it into the picture of perfect health – okay, maybe not perfect (I’m still in the “holy fuck!” range on the BMI chart), but I did significantly improve my health. His statement made me think about his other patients, and then I began wondering how I got here.

I’ve always been one to argue a point, and I can even convince people that what I know is wrong is right. It’s been one of the many lovely personality traits I’ve had since grade school. After ruining a semi-scripted legal skit in my 6th grade History class (because I got the “witness” to admit perjury by confusing her), my teacher told my parents I’d make a good lawyer one day.

In English class in high school, I’d always get As on my papers, because I knew how to twist things around and present them in a compelling way. If it’s believable, my teacher would say, then it will hold up out there in the real world, regardless of whether I had pulled an archetype out of my ass or not.

If this, then that is not so simple when you can find ways to introduce technicalities that invalidate the obvious. My dad use to say to me, “If you lie enough, you’ll start to believe your own lies, and you won’t know what’s real or not anymore.” He was right.

When I first started really training in derby (when we got a coaching staff who knew what they were doing and who pushed me), I gave up easy and made all types of excuses as to why I couldn’t keep up, and I believed the excuses. I fell back on the crutch of “but there’s a place for every girl in derby”, which is true to a point, but I was trying to argue against training people to actually get better, because I wanted my skill set to remain high and I didn’t want to have to really work to bring myself to where I needed to be to compete with others on our league.

In private, I hemmed and hawed and blamed my inability to keep up on my weight, and I made it into an us versus them thing, where I convinced myself the current coaching staff wanted only thin girls on the league. I continued to attend slightly over the minimum attendance requirement for practices, but I didn’t do much more about it. I didn’t supplement derby with the gym or cardio or even do strengthening exercises at home.

The only thing I had been honest with myself about during this entire period in time was the fact that I couldn’t keep up. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy, but one that was full of excuses as to why I couldn’t keep up, and none of them were entirely accurate. Somewhere along the line in my life I learned to bullshit myself. I now know I kept lying to myself and making excuses, because it was easier to face the confusion of why things wouldn’t or weren’t working or happening than to find and face the real reason these things wouldn’t or weren’t working or happening. The real reason reflected a flaw within myself I wasn’t willing to face.

I’m not sure what it was that helped me break this cycle. I know it started after the embarrassment of my performance after season two. I know I faced some realities regarding skill set, where I actually was, and where I wanted to be. I know I started preparing for season three, and I was looking good until the first shoulder injury. I think after that I was scared. Scared that the momentum I had going that enabled me to see things as they were and do something about it would sit on the sidelines with me and my sling, and I was afraid that when I returned I’d be the same reliably mediocre player that I always was. I knew I didn’t want to be that.

In a quite literal admission of what feels like guilt due to my being the author of this site, my doctor was referring to how I’d managed to lose over 10% of my body weight in the past year. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was 11 years old, and I’d be lying again if I didn’t tell you I feel great and am proud of myself. In a weird twist of fate, I followed the advice we all know and no one listens to: eat when you’re hungry and exercise. I didn’t count calories, I didn’t obsess over my meal plans on FitDay, and I didn’t join a crazy cult fad diet group either. I listened to my body, and it worked, whereas all previous attempts ended in excuses I had made for myself, much like the ones mentioned above.

Derby is way easier now that I’m in the low end of the “obese” range, but you know what, I’m still a big girl! In thinking about my weight loss, I’ve wondered if I’m now a sellout writing this blog. I often get paranoid about it, but I don’t think I am. Here’s my logic: I weigh 175. I was, at my highest weight, 221, so I’ve lost 40-some pounds. Think of your league’s superstar jammer. For many of us, it’s a chick like Joy Collision. Now imagine her (I assume she’s around 120) at my weight of 175 – would she be as good as she is at 120? Hell, no! But you know what, at 175 I can keep up, and sometimes – as Joy put it tonight – I’m a one-woman blocking machine. If I were to go back to 221, I wouldn’t be a one-woman blocking machine, I assure you. The point of this illustration is to show you that in all actuality, weight DOES NOT MATTER. It’s relative to YOU and not anyone else.

Weight isn’t an excuse – ladies all over the world who play derby have proved that already. Losing weight can help some, but becoming a better player takes more than that; it takes consistency, pushing your limits, building muscle, doing cardio homework, and above all honesty with yourself and determination. At least it has for me.

Shit, it’s not like I’m the best player there ever was, or the skinniest girl there ever was, but I’m proud as hell that all the hard work I’ve put into and will continue to put into my athleticism has paid off. I’ve learned to like the personal challenge of changing what my body can do, but more importantly I’ve learned to look at myself and my flaws and be okay with them. If I wasn’t okay with them, I’d still be protecting myself from my own reality that really wasn’t that bad anyhow. It was doable. Anything’s doable. You just have to know where you’re starting in order to map out where you want to go. Funny enough, I’ve found the trip itself is actually more rewarding than I ever knew it could be.

I still catch myself lying or making excuses, but when I realize it I give myself a reality check. For so long I wanted to be in the world I had made up around me – not accountable for anything. But now I want to be here, in the now, seeing what’s real and appreciating the notion that you can actually get whatever you want with nothing more than hard work and determination.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A 5000-Piece Puzzle

As a child, one of my favorite things to do was put together puzzles. Really, I’d put together any puzzle you handed me – puppies, flowers, or cartoon characters – and it was always a challenge I gave myself to see how fast I could have the puzzle completed. At times I’d work on a puzzle all weekend long, each spare minute I had. I’d squint at the tiny pieces until my eyes hurt and I couldn’t look at them any more.

I remember having an extremely large Muppets puzzle that took me what felt like forever to assemble. Some parts of it were easy, like Beaker’s hair or pieces of Animal’s fur, but other parts of that puzzle were really hard to place together, like the balcony in which the old men sat – a lot of blurry red and black with no distinct shape to go by.

At times when working on the Muppets puzzle, like others I had worked on before, I’d think a certain piece MUST go there, even though it didn’t fit quite right. Often times I’d push my tiny finger or bang my fist on the piece to make it work where I wanted it to, but things never did wind up turning out right, and until I removed that forced-in piece, I’d never be able to complete the puzzle . It seems silly to think about it now – that I actually thought I could complete the puzzle by forcing the wrong pieces into place.

At 7 it was puzzles, but at 30 it’s my life. Looking at the pieces that are left to put in place, I’m wondering if my puzzle’s going to come together or if I’ve wrongly jammed some pieces in there. Worse yet, I’m tempted to just step away from the puzzle altogether or shove what is completed of it under the bed – to leave it as it is: wrong. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

But there’s only so long I can leave something unfixed. It’s not in my nature; I see a problem, and I fix it. I see something I want, and I do something to get it. I’m not good at letting things sit, so I know full well that if I ignore the puzzle now, it will eat at me until I do something to get it back on track to completion. This is where I am now. I’ve been so unfocused that I’ve been unable to write (as you might have noticed), I’m sick to my stomach most of the time, and these issues are starting to consume my thoughts the majority of the day. I feel like I’m losing my mind.

I should count myself lucky that I really haven’t felt like this in several years, since my dad died, and I really didn’t feel like this for a long time before that either. It’s time, I suppose. It just really, really sucks.

Now that that’s out, hopefully I can hold myself accountable to removing the pieces that were a bad fit and rebuild. I’ll be fine, and actually, I’ll probably wind up better for it, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way right now.

Please don’t comment on this post. I really just wanted to put it out there and let the universe know that I know what it’s been trying to tell me. That, and hopefully after writing this the writer’s block will go away!