Hi. My name is Ivy Torture, and I’m a smartass.
Well, a recovering smartass, anyway.
Growing up a book-smart nerd, skinny, and plain, I discovered pretty early that dorks don’t get beat up if they’re funny. So, I learned to be quick-witted and cover up my raging insecurities with a sharp tongue. A geek who yearned to be a rebel, I did my best to be cool, usually failing miserably. When I was 19, I had my son and put my rebel dreams in a box, waiting for the day when I might let free my inner punk rocker.
Enter roller derby.
I had always thought roller derby was bad ass. Watching “Whip It” did nothing to cool my girl crush on the sport and the gorgeous rock stars that played it. Upon discovering that there was a roller derby team in my town, I had to try it. I contacted the president and begged for a place in their Fresh Meat class. I thought, I can roller skate, I’m fairly coordinated, hopefully I won’t make a complete ass out of myself. Little did I know I’d make much, much, more than that.
I was so terrified my first night, I didn’t know if I’d be able to come back. Roller derby was serious work. No skating around throwing elbows, looking glam in booty shorts and fishnets. It was burning muscles, sweaty pads, aching knees, hundreds of rules, and buckets of strategy. It was 20 other girls looking at you and counting on you to do your best and know your job. No every-girl-for-herself here. As usual, I covered up my terror and insecurity behind smart-assery. I was so skinny. And small. And bony. I had never been in a place that revered WOMEN before. Real women. The kind on whom booty shorts look… right. Mass and momentum mean more in derby than your jeans size. Add another thing to my growing list of “maybe I made a mistake”.
But I came back.
And I kept coming back. Mostly because derby gets inside you. It gives you a family, a group of women and action figures who know you, who have seen you at your lowest, when you’re on the floor, panting and fighting not to puke, smelling like something a cat pulled out of a garbage can. They cheer you on just when you think you’re at the edge, one second from giving up. When the pace line goes on forever and you’re crying inside, wishing you could just lie down, you keep going for them. Because you want to be the best teammate you can be, for them. They celebrate your triumphs as much as you do. They praise you when you need it and correct you when you need it. They pull you in and surround you with misfit love. For the wannabe rebel, it’s a perfect fit.
But more than that, derby makes you believe. It makes you believe you can be strong, that you can be fast, that you can be better than you are right now. 4 months ago, I could skate in circles and that was about it. Now, I can plow stop, crossover, skate 25 in 5, and do dozens of other things that amaze me every day. I feel stronger than I ever have. I work my ass off at every practice and can’t wait to come back and do it again next time. I believe in the person I think derby is helping me become. And I believe derby can help you, too.
Strength, belief, family, self-esteem. Derby means all of those things to me. And I find that now that my inner rebel has found her home, my smartass side doesn’t come out so much anymore. Unless your ass is blocking my jam… then it’s on.