Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lull in the Life of Luxury

Howdy, folks. Long time, no write – I know. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you probably already know that I find it difficult to write in the midst of depressed periods in my life. It’s not that I have writers block or can’t write – it’s more that anything I do write is completely and utterly negative and pessimistic; I can’t seem to find the good in things, and I really don’t want to subject you to that sort of pessimism, since this blog is all about the polar opposite – finding the good in things, finding the strength to push on, and finding that thing inside yourself that allows you to do anything you want to do.

The truth is, I’m tired. Really tired. This past year I led a project at work atypical to my regular job duties, because it had to be done. This meant long days (and sometimes nights), two postponed vacations, and several extra bottles of Ibuprofen for the headaches in addition to the usual derby aches and pains. Speaking of derby aches and pains, as you know, I injured myself idiotically twice in a row at the end of last season. The first injury, a herniated disc in my neck, caused me to have to pull myself off the roster for Regionals two days before the tournament, and the second injury, a severely sprained ankle, immediately followed, as it occurred the very first time I was able to run after I injured my neck. Needless to say, I kept one physical therapist in high demand for over 3 months – good for her.

Looking back on it, I think missing Regionals started this downward spiral. My time off for injuries faded into our short offseason, and for the past 4 months I’ve felt like a failure. After all the pain, all the hard work, all the struggle to get rostered and stay rostered, I watched my end goal for the season slip through my fingers, and there was nothing I could do about it. Then, just when I needed some inspiration, I found it at Nationals, which I decided to attend last-minute. I had a wonderful and inspiring time with my teammates, even though we weren’t skating in the tournament (and it was also nice to be told by some that we should have been), and it was great as always to see my friends from around the country. I was finally on an upswing. Around Thanksgiving, with a stiff but stable ankle, I resumed skating and was thrilled to be doing so. Then came another blow – an indirect blow, but a blow nonetheless. The severity of several family members’ conditions became better known and seemingly more urgent, and from out of nowhere and with no warning, my dog – my best friend and Zen-inspiring running buddy – lost use of his back legs. Although the news about the family members upset me, watching my usually spry and playful dog appear terrified and confused as to why he couldn’t stand broke me into pieces. To make matters worse, in the middle of all this chaos was the due date for making our 2010 intentions known to our captains. Not knowing in what direction I was (am) going to be needed, I had to make the difficult decision to start 2010 as an unrostered skater for both the All Stars and my home team, Speed Regime. I take being on a team seriously, and I don’t want to put my teammates in a position where I’m not completely there physically or mentally. It was like pulling myself off the roster for Regionals all over again.

For the past month I’ve been consumed with panic, worry, anxiety, depression, and guilt. I tried to write about Christmas several nights ago and changed the course of the blog entry three different times, because every road I took pointed to despair; from not being able to get into the Christmas spirit to a cynical view of suburban Christmas celebrations to compromising the trust and beliefs of children and how I think being lied to about Santa may have contributed to my becoming an atheist. I did feel a tiny bit better when J told me there has been a pattern of me becoming depressed and then freaking out just before the holidays each year since my dad passed away. On one hand, I was somewhat relieved. On the other hand I thought, “Great, I’m still suppressing something.”

Yesterday they announced the Q1 All Star charter tryout date, which I couldn’t attend even if I wanted to, because I’m not finished meeting the requirements of my “return from injury” plan. That pretty much sealed the deal – stripped away the last thread of hope that all would soon return to normal. Enter fear and panic that my not being on the Q1 charter will impact my placement on the Q2 charter and future rosters. The funny thing is, I speak about this as if I’m ready to return to derby now, and I’m not. On one hand, I feel like a little extra time off – a derby nap, if you will – would do me some good. On the other hand, I’m motivated by fear to possibly abandon my family sooner than I should just to make that list of 14 – that all-consuming number 14, the BANE OF MY EXISTANCE.

Sometimes I feel guilty for being so torn up about the things going on in my life right now, when I know many, many people have things much, much worse than I do, but this is MY life and these are the people and pets I care about. I deserve to be upset when shit happens to them. Last week I was all but ready to consider taking a year off or retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I was sad at the prospect of either decision, but I was also comforted knowing I wouldn’t be in month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter limbo, which is all I need to improve the anxiety I already have normally. Then I got an email from my home team captain, Terror Izher (a former women’s football player and great skater with natural athletic ability), and she said she and our co-captain had decided to keep me on the roster anyhow, and I was welcome back whenever I was ready. They gave up a top draft pick to keep me on the team, even if I couldn’t skate with them at the beginning (or middle) of the season. I realized then that I wasn’t done for a year or for good. Hearing that very unexpected news lifted my spirits. I had gotten so used to the fierce (and often-times cold) competition for a roster spot on the All Stars that I was surprised at this. It was the first time in a long time that I feel like someone actually stopped and extended a hand.

Where does this leave me now? I’m struggling to remain calm with “I’m not sure”. Over the past week I’ve been dealing with recognizing a need for balance in my life. When shit hit the fan around Thanksgiving my first inclination was to immediately drop everything and throw myself into caretaking. Now, almost a month later, family members’ conditions, while inevitable, have stabilized, and my dog can gingerly walk on all four legs again (for now, at least). He quickly grew used to my coming home from work and immediately staying by his side until I left for work the next morning, so beginning to detach a bit and resume even a semi-normal life has been difficult. A small victory: I did go out and get groceries for the first time since Thanksgiving two nights ago.

My hope is that I can get my shit together – my thoughts, my responsibilities, my routine, and my time – by mid-January so that I can resume strapping on eight wheels and spandex booty shorts and doing that thing that I’m driven to do and that I love so much: skate. (I did wonder what the fuck I was going to do will all my booty shorts and gold lame if I did retire…) My other hope is that I will remain flexible in case I find out more of my time is needed with my family. I want to be happy at home and on the rink. My goal for 2010 is to have fun. I just wanna have fun.

The barrage of obstacles is something I can overcome, but it’s going to take me a bit. Blog posts may be fewer and farther between, but the frequency with which I write will hopefully return to normal as well. Thanks to those of you who sent me notes or chastised me for not updating my blog on Facebook. In the gloomier times I can feel like writing here doesn’t really matter at all, but it’s nice to hear that I’m wrong and that the posts are missed. I had all these notes and plans to write a rollergirl gift guide entry, and then life happened. Is it too late to post something like that? Fuck it even if it is. Look for that entry soon! I love you guys.


Haren MahKeester said...

Your writing matters! It has helped me deal with some derby issues that have popped up from time to time. As well as some of your older IUD posts have helped me decide to pester my doctor about that lol
And if you ever have to give up derby i will gladly accept sweaty gold lame booty shorts lmao!
But heres hoping you hang in there, get back on your skates and everybody and everything recovers in your life!!
Merry Christmas!

Tasha said...

I really appreciate this post and I totally get where you're coming from. Sometimes life happens all too fast and you get left behind and then have to catch up. And sometimes I think about derby and how it's going to keep happening every week of my life and I can see it stretching out in front of me for ages and it's such a HUGE commitment that it freaks me out. You really need time off now and then.
I hope you keep skating because you know that you need it.
Cheers :)

Justice Feelgood Marshall said...

I'm always glad to see an update from you, Grope-Her. I feel like I've gotten to know you way better through your writing than I ever did in four years of being on a league with you :p

Keep your head up.

DeadpanAnn said...

How's the ankle and the neck? I am dealing with a knee injury that started when I took a fall in my very first bout ever, and was re-injured (and made ten times worse) in practice a couple of weeks ago, so I'm out, too, and I can feel myself getting fatter and slower by the minute. It IS depressing.

It's fine to feel like shit when bad stuff happens, but it doesn't make sense to feel bad for feeling bad. Cause then you feel bad that you feel bad about feeling bad, and where does THAT shit stop?

This too shall pass.

Cindy Lop-her said...

@DeadpanAnn: I'm so sorry to hear about your knee! Similarly, I had a knee injury very early in my derby career (PCL tear). Knees suck, BUT you can totally come back from it. PT is excellent for knees - they are one body part you can strengthen muscles around to support and prevent reinjury.

Aside from the fact that my ankle is stiff and I can crack my neck at will so loudly that I gross out anyone in earshot, I'm fine. Does that mean I've been skating or exercising? Sadly, no. Tonight is the night I go back and get my ass into gear though :)

Sinead O'Clobber said...

Hope it's going well. (This is DeadpanAnn with a new suit on, btw.) Looks like I've got a torn lateral miniscus, but not sure yet until the MRI is done. Still haven't been able to exercise or skate.

Wanted to ask of the girls on my team said something about some type of wheel that is better to use if you're heavier. Something about how the material is harder. Do you know what she was talking about? Since I can't play right now, I'm gonna get my derby fix by ordering gear I can't use.

It's not surprising that I injured my knee so early. It was probably because I'm out of shape and those muscles are all weak. Of course getting in shape was one motivation for playing in the first place. And now I can't play OR exercise until the knee is better. The irony.

Cindy Lop-her said...

@Sinead - Dude! What's with the name change? Is this your new name? I like both, but I'm surely gonna get confused ;)

Wheel hardness is a personal preference, and I don't know that I would make any generalizations about wheels for big girls versus wheels for small girls. You know, I have too much to say on this topic - turning it into a blog post! Will post more there!