October 19th 2013, better known as the day I skated my way to a new way of life; a Derby kind of life. For a little under a year now I have immersed myself into the offbeat sub culture known as Roller Derby and I can safely say that it saved me from myself in ways I could never imagine (but more on that later).
Let me take you back to the beginning of this venture… It was August 2013, I had just wrapped from a feature film (in which I was head of wardrobe/costume designer) and was utterly exhausted from the gruelling hours, lack of sleep and the added drama of weird on set dynamics. To put it in layman’s terms I’d had enough! As a result I went on a three month hiatus from my life, all I pretty much did was eat, sleep, work repeat (which was slowly killing my soul in the process). I withdrew from my social life (my friends can confirm my hermit status during this time) and couldn’t even bring myself to write; probably because I didn’t have anything to write about other than what episode of parks and rec I’d just watched. I knew I was heading into a downward spiral but I couldn’t be bothered even getting myself out of it, that’s how over it I was!!
I can’t tell you what day exactly that I actually had my epiphany, I just remember cleaning out my wardrobe (my attempt at keeping my sanity intact) and finding a printout of a roller derby league a friend had told me to look at about 6 months prior. At that moment the lights flicked back on in my recently dark mind tank and I decided then and there that was it; the catapult that was going to shoot me out of the dark cannon and back into life. I didn’t even have to make a pros and cons list, my thought process was simply- “This is going to be fucking awesome!!”
Flash forward 11 months or so and I can safely say my rash decision to throw myself into a sport I had little knowledge on (other than it being a contact sport and you get to skate) was the best thing I could have ever done. As a result I gained my confidence back, was passionate about my career again and my social life was back in full swing. I currently train twice a week with the amazing Westside Derby Dollz in Laverton (otherwise known as my guardian angels) and am constantly surprised at how much I actually learn every session about this crazy game that I love so dearly.
I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! The best part about derby (other than skating like a boss) is that you can totally be a weird little freak and no one even bats an eyelash! They embrace the weird in the best way possible and more often than not out weird you (again in the best way possible). Oh and I get to wear awesome derby gear and pick my very own derby name (Ziggy Speed-Burst, in case you’re wondering). I am not a full *bouting player yet but I’m learning to kick arse and am having a ball in the process!
All in all, Roller Derby has changed my life in so many ways and made me a much stronger person in the process. To anyone who is considering throwing on a pair of skates and giving it a whirl I highly recommend it, as for me I am going to continue down the path of spontaneity and utter chaos because that’s how I roll…..
*A bout is Derby lingo for a game/match.
For anyone interested in joining a league in Victoria head to westsidederbydollz.org.au or check out the facebook page www.facebook.com/WestSideDerbyDollz for details. Alternatively you can find dates online as to where you can watch your local team bout.