Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Great Escape


  My kids are great, fantastic, enjoyable, quirky, funny, and all around fun to be around. I do, however, on occasion, need an escape. I began looking for something of my own to enjoy in the fall of last year. Friends offered mommy groups, book clubs, art circles, even jazzercise. Nothing sounded truly pleasurable to me. I needed something liberating, physically challenging, entertaining, and the participants needed to be a little edgy, sarcastic, weird, and not judgemental. Where would I find such an outlet?
   I stumbled upon roller derby almost by accident. What was even better, upon further investigation, I found a local amateur league recruiting. I had been a fair skater many moons back, so I thought, "Why the hell not?" My first recruitment night was enough. Listening to what the league was about, learning that the time constraint wasn't very rigorous, meeting the men and women involved, and watching a scrimmage, I was HOOKED. It had every element I had been searching for and more. I couldn't wait to get started.
  I spent a month on probation, learned the sport, went to practices, met amazing people with the biggest hearts I have ever come across, and started working on myself. My self esteem, confidence and general happiness began to soar. Taking a break from the kids was just the tiniest part of what I needed. The exercises work muscles I forgot I had for awhile there! Being on skates makes me feel a little like a kid again. My inner voices go "Wheeee!!!" every time I get on the rink. The derby clothes and culture inspire ANYONE to tap into their inner rock star. I could not sing the praises of derby enough. Even my kids saw the change in their mommy and happily talk derby and don skates.
  People often ask me about derby and it always seems that much of the focus is on the brutality of the sport. It kind of seems silly to me. I see plenty of guys playing football, rugby and soccer in the parks on the weekend and in their spare time. I wear more padding than they do and in all likelihood am at LESS of a risk for injury. Getting hurt is a risk in any sport. Especially ones with hitting involved. Athletes still play them. I may not consider myself much of an athlete, but the happiness this sport brings me makes me unafraid of the possible impairment or damage I may incur. Besides...who can't get behind a little push and shove on skates? Especially when fishnets and knee socks are involved.
   Just thank goodness the Dead Girl Derby was there for me. It has been my salvation and sanctuary and on many occasions, my therapist. Everyone involved is amazing and has touched my life in different ways. I plan to be a derby girl for life! So much for a rant today....got all schmarmy there. THAT is the power of derby.
Amen.
Photos are Copyright 2011 BlueRue Studio Photography. www.blueruestudio.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWp3NTO0_o8

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Then and Now

I have been reflecting quite a bit lately upon how my life has changed since having children. I thought I would reflect here just to illustrate the enormous differences between the two lives. In my case, this was only 6 years ago....it feels like fifty.

Mornings -THEN- I could casually crawl out of bed whenever I chose (if I chose) and shuffle around taking the time to get that stubborn hair to just stay IN PLACE in my cute hairstyle of the day. I would do my make-up (all designer brands) fully and beautifully and sometimes experiment with new colors! I would spend about 20-30 minutes trying on different outfits to find the one that minimized my thighs and really made my boobs pop. I would chat with my roommate lazily as I sauntered out the door to my POS car and arrive late to work without a care in the world.

Mornings -NOW- I wake up sandwiched between two kids with hot breath in my face that smells like they have been consuming feces all night. Chubby, slightly wet, slightly sticky fingers are clasping my hair, neck, arm and whatever they have decided is necessary to grab. I work like a contortionist to escape my bed to stop my alarm before it wakes them, so that I might use the restroom and shower in private for once. Though I put them to bed in their own room every night, most mornings I wake up surrounded. Mid shower I feel eyes watching me. My five year old daughter begins telling me about her dream in the loudest possible voice she can muster. I get out and start directing her towards the clothes I have set out...oh wait....I MEANT to set out. Frantic digging through drawers and tantrum from her as she insists she will pick out cloths...fine...you dress like you are color-blind and insane...but fine. I barely get my hair dry when screams ring out from the living room... My 2 year old son has woken in a foul mood and is hitting his sister and turning off her cartoons. I make cereal and turn back to my room to get dressed. Throw on jeans and t-shirt I wear at least twice a week, mostly because they aren't stained and fit comfortably. Grab the boy, change diaper throw a t-shirt and pants on him...socks and shoes, a battle as usual. Both kids refuse jackets as I am grabbing keys and purse and trying to turn off lights, tv, push them out the door, get my coat on, no make-up, hair frizzing already, arms full, lock the door, kids are crying in hallway...I missed something...fight, not sharing...GET IN THE CAR!!!! Parking lot of apartments...one tries to dart, drop everything and chase, seatbelt fight, my daughter says her hands are too cold to fasten hers....my son whines that his is too tight. Finally in, ready for the ride to daycare, during which all I hear is the word "bootie" over and over coming from the backseat. I arrive at work late, exhausted, and irritated.
Shall I do Friday nights? Next post maybe.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gender Schmender

video
About a week ago, I was milling around a toy store with my kids in search of pirate garb. There was an "Under the Sea" exhibit and I wanted them to appreciate it fully and perhaps learn to plunder in someone else's domain. I overheard a dad telling his son, "No...that toy is pink. It's for girls. I'm not buying you that." I had to re-position my eye-patch to get a good look at this tool! WHAT?! REALLY? In those short statements he has effectively shown his son that:
1. He is wrong for liking that toy.
2. He should only ask for toys that are made in "boy colors".
3. If he should have the desire to possess a toy outside of the colors assigned to "boy" toys, he will not get the toy and will be chided for voicing said desire.
Why are parents still assigning gender roles? What difference does it make in your kid if they want to play with a toy that may be traditionally assigned to another gender?
I know I am not the picture of the traditional parent because I don't care about what toys my kids play with. My daughter wants to play with Betty Boop and IronMan in the Batcave? Fine. My son wants to wear a tutu and practice ballet with his sister? Fine. As long as they are doing something constructive, using their imaginations, leaving me alone so I can use the bathroom unmonitored for once, and not destroying the ENTIRE playroom...I am cool with it.
I wanted to shake that dad out of his khakis and warn him of his influence over his son and how he could raise a gay child afraid to assert his opinions, or a chauvinist male looking to prove his superiority and dominance over women. I bit my tongue. I don't want people telling me how to raise my kids or how to speak to them. Secretly though....I hope his son IS gay, comes out in high school, kisses boys in front of his dad, and is never afraid to assert himself. My kids may be insane little freaks that scream potty words and enjoy dancing in tutus, playing pirates, vampires, zombies, AND princesses....but they will NEVER be ashamed to do so.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fresh Start....

I have never had a blog before, so this may start fairly slow. I promise it will be sillier and more fun in the future...but for now...it's all exposition.
    It had been almost a year since I left a bad marriage and had to start over from scratch. I had two kids and no car, no job, and was staying in my sister's basement with the kids til I could "get on my feet". It took about two months to get started with the basics and I was on my way to a new life!
    After a few months of working and going through the legal battle of divorce and taking care of my kids, I felt the solitude sneaking in. It was like a thick fog that came out of nowhere and engulfed me. It felt like my life still wasn't my life and I was having a hard time laughing. I had lost myself in my marriage because I had been pretending to be someone I wasn't....so I could pretend I was happy. Finding the real happy me was going to be a trial. Still working on it really. 
      My doctor wanted to prescribe me meds....I tried out for roller derby instead. I began meeting amazing women every night I went. They were warm and welcoming and brought me out of my fog. My calendar started filling up with practices and social gatherings. Before I knew it I was bruised and busy and happy! Sure, I have bad days, but there is always something ahead to look forward to. The sadness and despair that I had come from are now so far behind it feels like a bad dream. A friend recently told me, "Everything that happens to you in your life is either a lesson or art." Makes complete sense. This will now be my platform for both! I hope it provides entertainment and a little perspective to others. Happy reading!

‎"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"
~ Dr. Seuss