Some time has passed since you submitted this question (I had a concussion, so life was put on pause!), but I want to answer it because I know how hard it is to find the motivation to continue anything after a fallout. To me, the answer is an equation:
Time + Reevaluation + Confidence = Healing
A lot of people figure in the time, but forget the reevaluation and confidence, so let's address those.
Why are you playing this game? We all have different motivators, sure, but to strap wheels on your feet and let other people slam into you, you have to really want it. So, why are you playing? It cannot be that you just wanted to hang with your friend who joined with you, not anymore. Maybe in the beginning that was part of it, but really think about the way derby makes you feel. Not how people make you feel, but how skating, hitting, jamming, and blocking make you feel. If your answer is, "I'm playing derby because I love derby," then you're all set to rekindle that passion. If your answer has anything to do with needing a buddy, and the actual skating doesn't factor in, then maybe it's time to let go. There are a million other ways to hang out with like-minded folks, so you needn't torture yourself with forced social interactions if they aren't healthy.
Derby is your sport. It's yours. You own it. I don't think you should let anything or anyone, or any crappy feelings, stand in the way of you doing what you love. Be confident that you're going to continue doing something that makes you happy, even if you have to wade through some emotional sludge for a while. It isn't forever, I promise.
Full disclosure: I cry after practice sometimes. I cried this week! Sometimes the feels just stack up and things feel awful. It's important to shake the tears and fears off, splash some water on your face, and get back down to work. As much as we all say we "just want to skate," derby really is an inescapable social vortex. We can't get away from the fact that these guys and gals are in our circle, but we do have control over how we handle our interactions. Choose to handle yourself with poise, kindness, and control.
I hope you'll find your passion in the physicality of the sport, in the growth, because at the most basic level, even deeper than the sisterhood or the scoreboard, derby is a skill. Improving a skill, really experiencing personal growth, is a fantastic thing. When I'm feeling blue, I gear up and practice lateral hops or grapevines in my living room (yeah, my living room is set up for skating). When I catch myself feeling awkward or emotional at practice, I consciously make the decision to practice a skill instead of focusing on the bad feeling. Don't run away from the feeling, just accept that it's there and move on, channelling the fear or doubt into progress. If I'm skating in a pace line and feeling sad about a social conflict with a teammate, I shake my head a little and say to myself, "This drill I'm going to focus on staying close to the line while weaving, and picking my feet up when moving laterally." Get a goal, keep a goal, even if just for that drill. If you spend your practice time feeling shitty about someone else, they win. You're officially wasting your time and money, and everyone else's time. Ain't nobody got time for that!
I recently expressed my own fears about social issues in my league to a derby mentor. She's been skating a long time, and she's witnessed all kinds of drama. She's also a stone cold badass on eight wheels. Her advice made a lot of sense. She said, for her, derby was more about training and less about making friends, and if you're learning and getting better, then that should be what matters most. Friends are just a bonus if you make them! If you're anything like me, you'll overanalyze things to death and make yourself miserable in the process, so stop that right now. Remember why you keep lacing up your skates.
Tesla's Top Five Tips for Reigniting the Derby Flame
So, you're a little down. What can you do to feel the derby juices pumping through your veins again? Try one or two of these! They always help me.
My wish for you is that you'll let some things go, hold your head up, and be real. Be kind, be genuine, and work hard. If you love derby, play derby. Don't let the drama win.
What is Dear Derby?
Dear Derby is advice for the derby world, because Abby doesn't know anything about cheap shot low-blocks or whiny league mates.