From the helmet of: Tesla
Skaters make comebacks from injuries all the time. Every person is different, and every injury is different. Here's my comeback story. I bet it's the first of many, but my fingers are crossed that it's my ONLY.
I was terrified of the uncertainty. The what-ifs had a real good hold. It had been ::counts on fingers:: about 10 weeks since my concussion, and I was heading back to derby. How I fared during my recovery is a tale for another time, but I'll definitely want to tell it later. "What if I can't do stuff and I fall? What if my endurance is shot? What if people have forgotten me?" Fears are usually pretty irrational, right? But we know they are. I figured, some of my fears may be silly, but there is no use trying to talk sense into yourself when you're having a panic attack, it all just sounds scary.
I'll cut to the chase: I did just freaking fine. Some things felt stiff and shaky, but all the skills were still there. Everything I could do pre-concussion, I could still do. My strength and endurance needed a little work, but I was not dying, not huffing and puffing. Skills are half muscle memory, half mental memory, and I seemed to have remembered everything. So, that fear was soothed. Quick movements were jerky at first, but things returned to my version of normal within a couple of hours.
My biggest fear was hitting my head again. I pep-talked myself, saying, "Listen, kid, you're gonna hit your head again at some point. It's gonna happen. Either you play derby or you don't. Some things just come with the territory, so you better make sure you're ready." Well, I got to find out how ready I was in week 2. I skated on brand new wheels (Radar Presto 95As) without skating off the coating, and totally ate shit twice on hockey stops, smacking my head both times. It jarred me, got me a little scared, but did not hurt any more than a normal head bump with a helmet would. After an injury, everything little ache or pain feels like it could be because of the injury. I kept asking myself, "Is this ache in my head because I just bumped it, or because I just re-scrambled my grey matter?!" Time would tell. And it was fine. No lasting headache. WHEW.
Another fear was social. I'd been gone long enough that there were new girls, and some of the girls I'd skated with were now in a higher level, and I'd not be skating with them. I worried that I'd be in some kind of new girl bubble again. I needn't have been nervous. The new girls were wonderful, and most of my friends welcomed me back. There were some wrinkles in that arena, though, and ironing was needed. If you've had a head injury, you may know what I mean.
It turns out that when you hit your head and the world goes dark, you just kinda check-out for a while. You stop being YOU. You stop participating in life fully... or at all. To someone who is going through it, or is very close to the person going through it, this is understandable. My husband watched me struggle. He watched me drop everything, not be able to type, stumble as I walked, and fumble for words. He put up with mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger, and lethargy. He held my face in his hands, stared into my eyes, and said, "I want my wife back." I was in there. I was just broken.
But he got it. How could he not? He could see it happening. Friends who were less-close didn't quite get it, though. Some mates checked in on me, some gave advice. Some had been through it before and kinda said, "It's gonna be ok. See you on the other side!" But some really gave me up for gone. When I came back, I was treated coldly by more than a few. "Well, you stopped talking to me, so..." It pained me to think my seclusion had hurt someone's feelings. I got more than a few pushes, like, "You need to just push and get back out there. You didn't need to take 10 weeks just feeling sorry for yourself." I clammed up a bit and let things ride. Two friends, after pushing, came back to me and said, "I'm sorry I pushed. I read up on concussions, and I didn't realize they were so bad." Let it ride.
So, all of the above sounds crappy, but there were some unexpected bonuses to taking a long break-
Am I ready to scrimmage again? Nope. Practice hasn't included real scrimmages yet this session, and it's been so many weeks that I feel I need a refresher first, but I'm excited. And terrified. And I think that's ok. Let it ride.
From the helmet of: Telsa
Merriam-Webster defines the word resolution 5 ways, with lots of finer definitions beyond that. It's a word that can mean so many things, but they all boil down to... boiling down, making something complex simple, making something fuzzy sharp. It is the act of determining. What are you determined to do? And why do so many people this time of year hate on resolutions? Resolution is such a wonderful word!
Scroll through your Facebook feed real quick, you'll see the jaded statuses, I'm sure. "Resolutions are stupid. They don't work." "Strive to be good all the time, not just on January 1st!" You might also see some folks making huge resolution lists full of unattainable goals (yikes), and some making comical resolutions, like, "My New Year's resolution is to take a bath at least once a week! Hardy har har!" Why all the hate? Maybe people are bitter because they've seen the truth. They've seen the gym, full to bursting on January 1st, and nearly empty by January 3rd. Maybe they've failed to keep past resolutions themselves. We all have.
Well, I'm here to tell you why you SHOULD make a resolution. Not a list of resolutions, and not a dire, complicated resolution. Just one simple change. And January 1st is a nice, convenient date. It lends itself to tracking and progression. It's the beginning of something, a big, huge something that we call a year. Yes, yes, time is an unending thing, but we measure it for a reason. We're kinda obsessed as a species with measuring it. Here's what I'm saying: change begins with a decision. A decision is a resolution. So you waited until January 1st. Cool. The OCD in me loves that. Week 1, Day 1. It's so clean and nice. Let's use it. On day 1 we don't have to run a mile. We don't have to eat 1300 calories. We don't even have to turn off the TV and read a book. We just have to make a decision.
OK! Enough with the heavy stuff. ONE DECISION! You can do that, right? One year I resolved to learn how to paint my nails. Yep. That happened. And I did it! I painted them a ton, and I got super great at it. I documented it all, too. That resolution didn't rock the Earth, and it wasn't heroic, I just kinda decided I wanted to learn how to paint my nails. I decided. Even if it was dumb, who cares? I did it. I also lost a ton of weight that year. There was something about setting an attainable goal that really got me motivated to set other goals. I did way more than learn how to paint my nails. I changed my life. With all that weight gone, my resolution for 2014 was to get stronger. I did floppy push-ups and sit-ups until I could do real ones. I didn't do them all the time, and I didn't go to the gym. I started derby in the summer, and really learned my own potential and strength, I learned mental strength and toughness. I got a concussion in October and learned how to be strong in other ways. Despite sickness and struggle, I can look back at 2014 and say that I did it. I got stronger.
So, what about this year? Why not take today, January 1st, to make a decision? Just one! Make one you don't have a problem keeping. Resolve to make dinner at home more. Resolve to read a few books. As you begin to reach those attainable goals, you might just realize how empowering it is, and you might want to make more resolutions. They won't be your "New Year's Resolution," but they will be decisions. What are you determined to do?
This year, because I now have derby in my life, I will make two resolutions. WOO! TWO! One for my derby life, and one for my regular life. But, you know what? I'm not gonna tell you what they are. I think that's where some folks fall down. Don't promise the world you're going to run a marathon by December, promise yourself. Pick something you can do, a goal you know you can reach, and start walking toward it. And don't be afraid to change your mind. No one else knows your determination, so who cares if you switch it up? Journey's aren't easy, and no one is judging you (because you don't have to tell anyone, remember? If you look at your path in February and realize it was off-course, then change it. The destination is growth. It doesn't matter much how you get there. A resolution simply means picking a direction in which to travel instead of wandering aimlessly. See how big I wrote that part? It's important.
Do you have a resolution in mind? Good! Now boil it down. Make it simpler. Break it into its parts and find a common denominator. Here is an example of how to break down a decision into an attainable resolution: "I resolve to lose 50 pounds!" Ok, great! You want to lose 50 pounds. Sounds a little daunting. Losing weight = getting your health in check. Getting your health in check has a lot of parts. Pick a few parts on which to work earnestly. How about education, awareness, and food? Three simple parts. Your resolution, instead of losing 50 pounds, could be to read a book about nutrition. I bet reading that book on nutrition will open your eyes a little bit. It might inspire you to get moving, go for walks, maybe buy a fitbit and start tracking steps. It might change the way you see food, what you buy at the grocery store, and how much you eat. It might even lead to you losing some weight. Don't focus on the number on the scale, focus on the journey toward health. At the end of the year, don't ask yourself if you lost 50 pounds. Ask yourself if you experienced growth.
I can imagine someone getting to the end of this article and wondering what the DEUCE it had to do with roller derby. Everything. It has everything to do with derby. Set some goals this year. Bite-sized, attainable, helpful goals. Can't do stops with your left foot? Resolve to try left-footed stops equally with right-footed. Feel super winded in the fourth minute of your 25 in 5? Resolve to skate for 7 minutes instead of 5 each time you try. Feel sluggish, or need to improve your form? Resolve to take a speed skating class. Resolved to try some weight-lifting or cross-training. We can always improve, all of us, but we all need to see progress to stay motivated. Resolve to do something that you know will help you make positive changes. And quit hating on resolutions! Being determined isn't a bad thing.
Tesla and Gravy
Just two rollergirls trying to share the rollerlove from Austin, TX to the world.