There’s something I haven’t read much or heard much through the grapevines, like it’s a taboo in the derby community. Yet, many skaters do it. It’s good for the mental as well as the physical state.
Why is it taboo to take a break?
From the team’s perspective, it might look like you’re slacking. Like you’re losing focus. Like life outside of derby seems so distant and foreign, why would you need to get back to it? Derby gives that feeling for a while that it can provide you with anything your heart wishes for. You have a supporting community, and a great physical outlet.
I’ve come to see throughout my short time being involved in this amazing sport that derby can’t fill all the void. It certainly can’t give me the psychic effect I’m looking for. I don’t feel fulfilled every time I go to practice. It’s a fact. I love to feel satisfied when I accomplish a task. The task may be tedious, frustrating, exhausting but when I’m done, I like to feel good about myself.
I learned with derby that I don’t feel good after every practice. I have practices that make me feel absolutely shitty. It’s ok. It’s part of being an athlete I guess. Or maybe I just need more solo skating time to feel accomplished instead of constantly comparing myself to others.
I can’t ignore the signs. Is it okay to feel miserable? Is it like a rite of passage into the deeper layers of the derbyverse? Am I going to unlock some mysterious achievement once I suffer enough?
Not at all.
I’ve come too far and worked too hard on myself to feel shitty about anything I voluntarily choose to do on my spare time.
So time for a break has come.
I don’t suck. I can do things. If it takes me ten years to do them, so be it. I simply can’t let external influences dictate my happiness. I have so many more things I have pushed to the side because derby had become my every day drug. 24/7. I only realized I was acting like a junkie when the high of the derby drug finally subsided and left me dry with bitterness and disappointment.
I’m not condemning the derby community when I say these words. Derby is fabulous. But I have a life outside of derby. I’m a writer, and I have a fulfilling professional career in the legal industry. I learn new things daily and I want to stay inspired. I lose interest when I force myself to go through the motions without feeling any love for it.
So it’s time for a break. Skating without any other goal than feeling accomplished. Trying new things and not competing against others, just challenging myself and beating my own personal best. I’m not there to prove anything to anyone. I’m just there to push myself and embrace the journey.
I don’t want to lose my freedom. I’ve walked away from too many situations where I stayed too long and should have left sooner. Things aren’t going to get better by trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
I’m not saying goodbye forever. Who knows what might come my way. Right now though, it feels like the right thing to do.