Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prozac or Ice Pack?

I must be crazy...Only a crazy person would do this. Work full-time, go to school full-time, raise a teenager and a pre-teenager, maintain a healthy marriage... and then add roller derby.

My oldest daughter has debilitating ADHD, bordering on Asperger's syndrome. My youngest daughter is 10 with the brain of a 20-year-old (and this is according to her test scores). The two of them do not get along well most of the time. I have enough homework to choke a horse. The mountain of laundry is contemplating eating me, I think. My husband and I are barely able to keep up with our month-to-month necessities. Things are tough. And there is never enough time.

So how do I maintain? How do I keep from going nuts, running to the nearest psychiatrist and demanding the top-of-the-line mellow-me-out-before-I-kill-someone medication? About two months ago, I found derby. I never expected it to be my sanctuary or the place I go to relax, but it is. When I'm at home and the kids are screaming at each other and me, or when I have to rob Peter to pay Paul (again!) or when all five of my assignments somehow got lost in Cyberspace Hell, all I want to do is skate. I want to get in touch with some of my fellow "fresh meat," head to the rink, and not leave until I'm dripping with sweat and I have at least one good bruise to brag about.

I found my "thing." That's the only way I can explain it. People ask me all the time why I want to play roller derby. I can't honestly answer that question. I don't know. I can't put words to it. It's a matter of pride, for one thing--a sense of accomplishment I couldn't find anywhere else. I pushed myself hard to not just learn how to skate, but skate well enough to pass league requirements. My shining moment was when I had just finished my endurance test after the seventh time trying to beat the five-minute time limit for 20 laps. Seven times. The head ref came to me with my test sheet and merely pointed to my time. I passed by two seconds. The memory of that moment still chokes me up.

Roller derby has taught me a valuable lesson about myself: I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. I have the ability to seriously do what I tell my kids all the time that they can do. If you set your mind to something and work at it hard enough, you can accomplish anything. That's a powerful thing. I started two months ago with absolutely no skill, and tonight I will be on a roller derby team. I still don't handle stress well, and I still have a long way to go to be anywhere near a "good" skater, but I proved to myself that I was able to do something I had convinced myself I couldn't do. Not to mention the amount of support and encouragement I received the entire time.I've never found a better support system than there is in this sport.

I don't need a psychiatrist or medications. I have my own method of therapy. I have something I can use as a reference for my kids when they tell me they "can't" do something. I have new friends and a new place to go to completely be myself. I have something new to share with my husband. I also have a whole new respect for myself and a whole new level of self confidence.

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