It happens to everybody. Just remember why you started. Find the love. Take a break if you need to. I heard all of these things and more when, after a year of skating, I got bogged down and lost my mojo.
I stopped growing and moving forward. I got crippling anxiety about jamming- my hands-down favorite position. Even going to practice became torture. I’d drive in feeling like there was an anvil on my chest and rabid ferrets in my stomach. Everything I flubbed got magnified HUGELY out of proportion, I imagined everyone was staring at me thinking what a loser I was. I made the Travel Team roster and what should have been the highest accomplishment of my derby life so far felt like punishment. I could see everything I’d worked all year for turning to dust, and I was the only one to blame. I almost gave up- quit altogether, telling myself that if it wasn’t fun anymore, it wasn’t worth it.
But nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Everyone’s breakdown is different, and everyone gets past it in their own way. While I am definitely not entirely past mine, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to my derby family and their unwavering support, seeing good in me even when I couldn’t, pushing me on when I wanted to give up- I have finally turned a corner. I jammed yesterday- for the first time in months. And it felt good. It felt right. And today, I’m a little less scared than I was the day before.
So if you’re asking yourself, “Why is she telling me this? It doesn’t make derby sound very awesome”, then you’re not who I’m writing this for. I’m writing it for all those women who KNOW derby is awesome, but are having a hard time remembering that right now. Who think that they aren’t good enough, or that they are the only person to ever hit the wall and just want to chuck it.
I also want to write this for the teammates of those girls. They need you. They need your support and your encouragement. They may seem to be coasting, or slacking, or half-assing it in drills- but there could be something bigger behind it, something they are scared to tell you for fear of looking like a loser who can’t cut it. Just be there. Be supportive of everyone, because one positive interaction could be the difference between a derby girl and a former derby girl.
So my advice is this: Stop looking at yourself. Start looking at your teammates. THEY are the ones looking at you, and they aren’t carrying all your baggage. If someone you respect and admire tells you that you did something good, BELIEVE THEM. Make new friends, ask for help. Just don’t give up.
It’s not easy. But it’s worth it.