Category Archives: Roller Derby

On affairs, breakups, and reopening old wounds

Several years ago, I started dating someone I’ll call N..  N. was really pretty and really different from anyone I’d dated before.  She was 1. Smoking Hot (no offense to anyone else I’d dated before) and 2. taught me I could move in ways I had never before thought possible.  She encouraged me and pushed me in a way that felt fulfilling and truly inspiring.  But, you know, relationships and all that.  She lived far away, and I didn’t have a car.  Bits of tension crept in over silly things, and ultimately I decided that it wasn’t working out.  We ended things on good terms.

A year or so after that, I met B..  You thought N. was hot?  Well.  Anyway, I met B., we chatted, we talked about setting up a time to get together, and then Daphne came into the picture.  You read that right – the dog came into my life, and I decided that trying to learn to live with and train my first dog was not the ideal time to start a new relationship, even if it was just coffee dates, and so, once again, I called things off.

In the meantime, other things came into and out of my life.  And then, another year later, I crossed paths with B. again.  And this time, you know, something clicked.  True lesbian-relationship style, I fell madly in love, head over heels, and if I could have moved in with her, I probably would have.  Unfortunately, that really wasn’t an option at the time, but we spent a lot of time together, gazing into each other’s eyes, having grand adventures.  Yes, the adventures were so awesome I am willing to call them Grand Adventures.

In retrospect, it should have been a big warning sign that B. was openly dating other women. Several other women.  This was never a secret, but for some reason I really thought that in the end she would choose me.  And guess what?  She didn’t.  I was crushed. Oh, my, the tears; I think the only time I cried that much beforehand was when my very first girlfriend and I broke up and I was like, “Oh, so this is what people mean when they talk about heartbreak.” After B., I decided I was never dating anyone, ever again.  If this is what these relationships were like, I wanted none of it.

Well, last night, I saw N. again.  I don’t really know how to describe my feelings around all of this.  We held hands; we sat really close to each other.  No kissing, and only a little bit of ass-grabbing.

What do you do when you break up with someone you really, really love, and then someone else you once really loved wants you back?  Do you want them back?  Is it worth the risk again?  Do you hope that someone totally different will come along?  Because, sure, there are other people out there, but they’re different and maybe don’t have the qualities you are looking for.

I suppose this is a good time to note that I am not talking about actual people.  You may have noticed I’m actually married, I think I mentioned it once or twice, and it’s not really an open relationship (except in the case of roller derby?).  I spent my first year on a roller derby league having just moved to Boston; I had no friends, no girlfriend, and roller derby was pretty much my whole life (that was N., in case you were wondering).  I routinely said that roller derby was my girlfriend.  And it’s funny, now, how much it feels like an old relationship coming back. I went to tryouts last night for the league that I started skating with way back when it was a baby league.  I started skating with them before I knew how to skate, and when they were only a few weeks old.  Now I have gone through two skate upgrades, actually played roller derby, and this league is so real that they are having real life tryouts.

I’m excited.  I know how much derby means to me, and how much it can change my life.  But I’m also so wary.  I’m not ready for this heartbreak yet again.



Filed under Relationships, Roller Derby

And I get a new name!

Having realized that structure is essential to my mental well-being and that getting out of the house is absolutely vital for my sanity – and thus the general health of my marriage – I have made big plans to leave the house today.  I wrote down time frames and everything.

It seems, however, that I am out to get myself, and I make little deals with myself all day to get out of actually stepping through the threshold and out into the world.  Example:

Me1: “Bird, you will walk the dog at 2pm and then get your butt to the library and apply for some jobs and graduate schools! Okay?”
Me2: “Sure!  That sounds fine, and totally reasonable, except I just put in this banana bread and I can’t very well leave it baking alone in the house.  How about I walk the dog at 3?”
Me1: “Well, fine, you can walk the dog at 3, but then, to the library you go!”

I’ll spare you the whole monologue, but let it suffice to say that it is 4:27 and I am sitting in a rather comfy chair in my dining room.  Foiled again!

But here’s what I am doing: setting things up that I just cannot get out of.  For example?  Roller derby.

I know, I know, we broke up.  We broke up twice, or maybe three times now.  Yes, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship.  But you know that first true love who you promised to always love, forever and ever, no matter what, even if you married other people and had families you would always love each other at least somewhere in your heart?  Well, Roller Derby and I did that.

While I’m not skating right now and I’m unemployed, I realized that I sort of need roller derby, especially since otherwise, I would never leave the house. So, as a former coxswain, I have decided to be a referee.  I have been to 3 scrimmages in this role, and you know what? It’s kind of awesome, and not enough people talk about how awesome it is.  It’s roller derby without getting hurt; it’s roller derby without the jitters before the whistle blows – because, ahem, I am the one blowing the whistle.

I have a ton to learn: the rules, in detail, the hand signals, how to skate while paying attention to whether other girls skating are following those rules, all while not falling over or getting run into or skating into the coaches yelling at them from the sidelines.

Anyway.  I don’t have much to say beyond that I’m excited, that I am leaving the house, and that, while my heart has been broken once or twice (or, um, three or four times) by roller derby, I’m still really, really excited to be a part of it again.*

Now tell me: what do you do to get out of the house?  How do you keep from going crazy?  If you think I’m not going crazy, just wait for the video on tomorrow’s Flying Dingo.  Yes, a video… of dog boots.  Coming soon from a Crazy Near You.

*Side effects vary, but already I’m working out religiously, because how can you not want to be in shape when surrounded by women made entirely of muscle and brute force?  I feel better already. Also, now I don’t have to feel sad every time I see that I still have a Roller Derby tag on my blog. Woo hoo unexpected side effects!


Filed under Roller Derby

Thanks, Roller Derby Rejection

Someone recently happened upon my blog after doing a search for “didn’t make roller derby team.”

Whoever you are, I am so, so sorry. It really sucks, doesn’t it? Like, it really, really sucks. You know that already, so I’m not going to tell you about why it sucks; you have your reasons and I had mine and they were probably quite similar, but if they weren’t that’s okay, too. But here’s something I got out of it: not making roller derby can be really awesome.

i LOVE not making roller derby!

When I didn’t make roller derby the first time around, I threw myself into this blog. I started writing and planning and through that have discovered this amazing community of strong women who care about being strong women and inspire me to think about who I am and who I want to be in this world. And that’s all off skates!

When I didn’t make roller derby the second time, I realized that I couldn’t stay in a job that was not fulfilling for me. I realized I had been waiting for derby to come along and fulfill something in me, and when that didn’t work out, I decided I would have to do it myself. So I quit my job (um, last day isn’t for 2 weeks), stocked up on part time stuff (hello having four jobs right now), and was amazed to find so many people supporting me and my decision. I was amazed at how strong I felt in making that decision.

If I had made roller derby the first time, I don’t think I would have started writing. If I’d made it the second time, I would probably still be in a job that isn’t doing much for me (which I sort of am, but really proud of myself for leaving in two weeks. Yay me!). So, Internet Search Stranger, I think that this could be something really, really good for you.

Turtle gives you a thumbs up for the awesome turn your life is taking. It is taking awesome turns, I swear!


On another note, if you play or follow roller derby at all, you might have heard of the roller derby quilt.

You guys, I am sort of famous by association! I totally know the Roller Derby Quilt Mama, aka Dreadnought, because she used to be my Freshmeat Mama, and before that she was my across-the-street-neighbor, and before that she was a carpool buddy.  She is awesome, and she is an epic skater (yes, I called you an epic skater), and she also really loves her quilt in a way that is inspirational.  Skaters from all over the country have been mailing her squares, and she posts pictures of them here; you should definitely check her out, and send a square if you can!

Even if you have never heard of her or the quilt and you don’t wear roller skates, you probably think roller derby is cool enough that you want to rock some awesome derby merchandise – all while supporting Dread and her Amazing Quilt.  Luckily, you now have that opportunity! Click on the image to buy pretty things.





Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is or isn’t full of roller derby, depending on what you prefer.

(Oh, and today I plan to actually fill out the ref application. Yay!)

Did anything that seemed heartbreaking and horrible for you turn out to be something wonderful?  Please tell me and Internet Stranger your happy hopeful stories.


Filed under Roller Derby

Our team is the best team

So, uh, heyyy everyone.  Sorry I sort of disappeared back there.  I’ve been alternately wallowing and trying to shake things off.  I have suddenly found myself indefinitely without a *thing*, and that’s been sort of a tough pill to swallow.  People have made some friendly suggestions, but when I find something I’m going to do, I’m going to do it, no holds barred, all in, it’s all I think about.  Look, I don’t claim that it’s a healthy way to live, but it’s a satisfying way to live, and it’s the way I live.  I was prepared for derby to be my thing, and now it’s not, and that really, completely, totally sucks but. Well.  What’s next?

To look on the bright side – besides, of course, not having to come up with a completely original skater name – the situation is making me take a good look at what I already have in my life, and consider what I am and am not getting out of it.  Something I need is physical exercise, so maybe I’ll join the gym or try that bicycling thing again… ugh, neither of those makes my heart flutter like roller derby, but maybe I’ll stop whining and drive up to NH three times a week.  Oh you guys, this is way more whiny that it was supposed to be.

Here’s one thing I realized, though: for the past year, focusing on the wedding has also meant focusing on my relationship with Turtle.  We were so careful to not make things be just about the wedding, and now the wedding is over and suddenly we’re talking less about our marriage.  And I think we need more of the marriage stuff, even though we’re not preparing for some big thing.

Okay, here’s a story for you: this week completely sucked.  On Monday night, I had a stupid blowup meltdown where I had verbal diarrhea and said some hurtful things that, if I had just allowed my brain to join my mouth and hormones in the conversation, could have been said without being hurtful.  The general result of this was that we went to bed way past our bedtime, both in tears, and woke up feeling emotionally bruised and still brittle.  And then the derby thing happened and you know what? My wife appeared to be at my side.  She called into work for me, she showed up with hot cocoa, and she offered to try to beat up the derby girls who cut me, whoever they were (forget the fact that she is very small and derby girls are used to hitting people – my wife is scrappy!).  Not to say that our other stuff is forgotten, but that for better or for worse, we are on each other’s sides.

photo by E. Leonardsmith

I love Team BirdTurtle. Team Birtle. Team Turd.  ❤

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Filed under Relationships, Roller Derby


Just got the email that I didn’t make the first round of cuts.

Yay! I don’t have to try to come up with another derby name.

Boo. I’m sort of a heartbroken mess.

Yay! I have… free time? Maybe I’ll find something else that is exciting and wonderful and takes up time and feels good?

Boo. I’m still a heartbroken mess.


Filed under Roller Derby

Butt Bruises, etc.

Some of you indicated that the quality of this blog (and all wedding-related blogs, really) would be vastly improved by an increase in the number of photos of butt-bruises.  And thus, I bring you the infamous bruise that I got while, ahem, playing roller derby.  By which I mean, the bruise I got while skating in a circle and then falling down.

thumbs up for bruises well earned by doing simple things.

I should add that this beauty is actually much prettier now than it was when Turtle took this picture five days ago.  Not sure how many of you get regular bruises, but they change colors and look really nice 1-2 weeks later.  What I’m trying to say is that roller derby is a very educational sport.

Speaking of roller derby, tryouts were on Sunday, and we’re supposed to hear about the first round of cuts today.  The whole thing is a complicated process that I will try to explain while not boring all of you who have no interest in standing on eight wheels and hitting people.  If you’re interested in how the game works, check out this video:

Anyway, late last week the Top Secret Tryout Location was revealed in an exclusive email, and on Sunday about 70 potential freshmeat showed up for tryouts.  We were numbered, photographed, and warmed up by skating for a few minutes before being divided into four groups.  During the official warmup, we had to do things like balance on one foot at different times, skate *very* low, and go through series of squats and coasting.  After that, we spent time at four different stations: interviews, stopping (where we demonstrated three different stops), learning a new skill, and backward-to-frontward transitions.  After that there was a surprise (uh, yay?) Hell Skate, which was ten solid of minutes of solid skating – not sprinting, exactly, but fast, good form, and did I mention ten solid minutes?  Um, I’m a bit out of shape.

me, in full blurry derby-tryout gear

Anyway, blah blah blah that was all the technical stuff I had to say, and here is the non-technical stuff:

It was kind of awesome, and completely inspiring.  I only really met the people in my group, but I got to skate with everyone during the warm-up and hell skate, and there was an awesome variety of people there.  Clearly a huge age range, some ethnic diversity, and definitely a wide range of skill; the thing that seemed to stand out for everyone, though, was how hard they were trying, how hard they were pushing, and how excited everyone was to be there.  I came home sore and excited, and also pretty stinky.

In the car on the ride home, I got to spend some serious quality time with a friend of mine I talked into trying out (Hi E!), and this is a huge part of the roller derby thing, too.  You guys, you do get to hit people, and that was a huge part of this whole thing when I worked at the rape crisis center; I had a lot of anger I needed to get out, and derby was a safe place to hit people while getting a huge endorphin high.  Since then, it has transitioned into something else: it’s still a place to find some great endorphins, but it’s also a place to meet amazing people and really make connections, whether they’re connections with my shoulder into their side or the connections we make in the car on the way there or on the way home.

Group 4 rocked: thinking of all of you today!

We hear from the league today about the first round of cuts: keep your fingers crossed for me and for everyone else who’s ready to put their heart into this thing.

P.S. Please <a href=””>email me</a> any and all awesome derby name ideas.  I once had two, but they’ve both been stolen from me; they were Rumble Pie (#3.14159) and Little Miss Roughit (#8 legs, and the inspiration for this blog), just to give you a sense of my style.  Grammatical and literary-inspired names are more than welcome.

P.P.S. Someone came up to me at tryouts and asked if I wrote a blog because her friend reads it! Someone I don’t even know!  You guys, I’m famous.  Thanks, Friend of Roller Girl, for making me feel famous.


Filed under Roller Derby

The Perfect Size

There have been a lot of posts about losing weight for your wedding, losing weight to fit into a dress, losing weight so you feel better.  You know, being a woman and losing weight. Or thinking about weight.  Or noticing other people’s weight.  Anyway, it all sucks and there actually is something that we can do about it; even if it doesn’t feel big, or like a huge, life-changing step, it does make a difference.  Watch this:

We can all not encourage weight loss just for weight loss.  We can try to aim for healthier, not smaller.  Roller derby has played a huge role in this idea for me: in roller derby, whatever size you are is a great size: if you’re big, you can be a big blocker, if you’re small, you can avoid other blockers and come out of nowhere; if you’re fast, you might make a great jammer, and  if you’re slower, maybe blocking is for you.  I think this is part of what appeals to me so deeply about roller derby: whoever you are, you’re the perfect size.  We need to hear more of that out in the world.


Filed under other, Roller Derby