Hi old and new watchers!
It's really good to be active on dA again. I've been pretty quiet myself as I took some time off to work sort out some personal issues and get trough some rough months, I've been working on my mental and physical health a lot, and even though it's not always easy, I have started to feel a lot better. Thanks also, for the generosity of my fellow dA folks, for giving me a core subscription, and a daily deviation! All off this adds to my newfound energy high and my motivation. Perfect timing!
Before my move to Germany I went snowboarding twice a week on an indoor slope, practicing tricks and jumps, sliding off rails, that kinda stuff. It was all fun and laughs and the snowboarding community was great. When I moved abroad I had to limit my snowboarding to a one-week trip to the mountains once every other year. I know that this is still more than what most people get to experience, and I feel grateful for those trips, but it still confronted me with the fact that snowboarding wasn't just fun, it also helped to keep me sane.
It was the perfect outlet for frustrations. I could clear my head of anything when I was strapped to my board. All the things that were bothering me or stressing me out, stopped mattering for a while. I got a huge sense of accomplishment from boarding too. Not that I was super talented or anything, but the rush of landing a trick that I had been practicing, that felt awesome. There was always something new to learn, and I was always progressing. And there was the social aspect of it too. Snowboarding ensured that I would go out the door and meet people. I didn't really knew how much I needed those things until I lived without them for four years.
Maybe it would have been different if everything else had been fine, or if I had the brains/courage to find some new social activities in Germany, but especially in the past two years when I was struggling with (what I now know was) PTS/depression, I realized how much I needed the outlet, and a reliable element of accomplishment in my life.
This is where Derby comes into play. For those who don't know it: Roller Derby is a full contact sport on rollerskates. Imagine if speed skating and rugby had a lovechild. I had already been aware of the sport, and I knew I wanted to give it a try. My new hometown has a Derby league, so I signed up for their Fresh Meat (new skaters) day last November - making sure I wouldn't back out.
I was super nervous at first - I had been sitting on my ass, not doing any sports for 4 years after all (besides the occasional yoga) and I had never done a team sport ever. My mental health was a mess, my social skills were deteriorated, and I was a pretty intimidated by the fact that it's all (ok 95%) women . I've never had many girlfriends (a very few wonderful ladies being the exception), basically: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up or fit in.
That was about 4 months ago now. I've been training 4 hours a week, not counting any cross training and outdoors skating. Two days ago I passed my Minimal Skills Test (think of it as a Derby drivers licence). With that I was placed into our B team, and I had a little "F**k yeah!!" moment, when I realized that I found the very thing that was missing in my life.
I think Derby has really helped me get to a much better place. With it, I find the same sense of accomplishment and joy of learning and progressing that I had with Snowboarding. Not only am I becomming stronger physically (seriously, I have visible leg and arm muscles! Whaaat
), but also mentally: it's a pretty intense sport, that involves a lot of falling and getting back up quickly to start over again, which is a wonderful metaphor for life. And last but not least, it is forced me to work on my social skills again.
I know this isn't a sports website, no worries, I'm almost done rambling. The moral here is that I'm convinced that Derby played a huge part in me getting back on track again (quite literally in this case XD) with the rest of my life - art included. I'm sure that, without it, it would have taken me a lot longer to get through the low points and my re-lapse of the past months. I wouldn't be sitting here writing that I'm starting to feel pretty good about myself again. And I wouldn't be working on my 100th Spindrift page right now.
Derby saved my soul, is a saying (a cliché maybe, but no less true) that is used a lot by Derby players. Many skaters have stories of how Derby helped them to get over anxieties, body image or self-esteem problems, eating disorders,...
I'm not saying that everyone should start playing derby. But maybe if you recognise yourself in my struggle, have trouble getting out of the house, need an outlet for your frustrations, or need a factor of progression and accomplishment besides your other activities, maybe then you'll think of this journal and set out on a quest to find your own kind of derby substitute (or you could actually try derby ofc!).
If this awkward, unfit mess of a person can do it, so can you
This video is made by a friend of one of my team-mates, and it was what got her interested in Derby