When Fear Becomes A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Remember how I really wanted to play roller derby?

I gave up.

It all seemed too hard. Too much work. Not enough sleep. Toomany responsibilities. Not enough support (which is actually probably all in my head). Fear. Intimidation. Self-doubt. Did I mention fear?

What am I afraid of, exactly? I don’t even know. Not being able to keep up. Injury. Failure. When Fear Becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Elaine Griffin

Failure. What is failure when it comes to roller derby? When it comes to doing something for myself? Failure is giving up, which I have done.

In not facing my fears, in not rolling on, one of my biggest fears has come true. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I don’t even know where to go from here.

What I would love is a buddy to skate with. Just skate. No track. No freshmeat fears. Just fun. Because I want the girl in the picture back. Strong. Confident. Happy. Excited! I’ll even take the dorky, because let’s face it, I’m dorky.

Have you ever let fear get the best of you?

wReck Derby Week Three: Shut Up and Skate

Ithaca League of Women RollersI’m happy to say that I survived week three. Not only did I survive, but I have an increased confidence and excitement; two things that were quickly retreating from my life.
You might remember that I injured my quad last week, and was hard core bummin’.  The good news is by Friday I was able to work out carefully, and I got in a lot of good workouts throughout the week. I was on my skates all day yesterday, the day of practice, and feeling pretty good about my balance and overall improved one-ness with them.
But something was still holding me back. I felt like I didn’t want to go to practice. I was a hair away from skipping, and justifying it with the idea that I can be on my skates all week at home and improve my confidence and balance. I can go skate this weekend!
All that is bullshit. Nothing, NOTHING is going to be the same as going and practicing at the practice space. With other women. On those shitty floors. I made myself go.
How can you be excited about something and really want to do it, but still have to make yourself go? Fear? Nerves? Just plain old crazy?
Well, we know I’m crazy, so we will shove that to the side for now.
There are two conclusions I came to. I was afraid, and I was nervous. These two things left me completely unable to relax, to enjoy doing what I have been wanting to do for close to two years.


I was afraid of that shitty floor. That glorious, wonderful, shitty floor. I was afraid of getting tripped up in a crack and falling. I was afraid of the dip around one of the turns that I fall into every time, causing me to accelerate faster than I felt comfortable. I was completely focused on the floor. Not on my body. How the skates feel on my feet, and how it feels to just skate. To get lower, to lean into the turns. These are the things I should have been focusing on.
So I made the conscious decision to go out there and just skate. To not give a shit about the floor, or what anyone thought of me. To relax and let myself fall. To let myself feel what it feels like to skate on that floor. And you know what? It worked. When I focused on everything but the floor and I was golden. Not a great skater by any means, but I was comfortable. When I focused on the floor, I fell. So I got back up, and I kept going.


Okay, so you have the general nerves associated with doing something new and different. It occurred to me on the way to practice, though, that I was nervous around the other skaters. I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely ridiculous it is to be nervous around these women. First of all, the other new skaters are just that. New skaters. We are all in the same boat, and even those skaters who are more seasoned, or better, or whatever, have their own shit going on. Everyone who is there has been new to derby at some point. Even the league skaters. It is easy to be intimidated by the league skaters. They are so.good. They make it look like it is effortless. But they are there to teach us. “When I started, I couldn’t even stand up on skates,” they say. “In a few months, you will be skating like this too. Now get your butt LOWER!” And we do, because we want to be just like them when we grow up.
I realized that I wasn’t really talking to anyone unless I had to. What is THAT about? I’m an outgoing person. If I want to, I can take charge of a room. Own it. Command it.
While I don’t want to own or command anything but myself and my performance while skating or playing, I really did underestimate how important it was to tap into that part of myself and go in feeling friendly and confident. So, I talked. I struck up conversations with other skaters, new and from the league. And it felt good to connect. To feel like regardless of my ability, I belonged there. Because I do belong there.
Sometimes we need to just surrender to our fears and nerves and say, “Either I’m going to do this, or I’m not, and I am willing to accept the outcome of the choices I have made.” I know I made the right choice last night to keep going. To shut up and skate. I went. I skated. I fell. I conquered – my fears, my derby future, and myself.

Do you think sometimes we need to surrender to our fears in order to conquer them and move forward?

wReck Derby Week Two: Fresh Meat Injury

Ithaca League of Women RollersThe last few days I’ve been in kind of a funk. I’m not very excited about anything and I’m just tired.

Yesterday was week two of wReck derby, and I had zero energy. Zero. But I strapped on my skates in the afternoon and skated around my house. For practice and to try to get ahead of my nerves. I grabbed a 5 hour energy on the way to wReck, and pulled it together.

Although I’m still really nervous I’m skating ever so slightly better, but I just am not getting low enough. The lower I get, the more I feel pulling in my right quad. So I stretch it out good. Probably too much.

Then we moved on to knee stops. In these stops, you gently lower yourself onto one or both of your knees in order to stop and/or control a fall. They’re nifty!

As I go down into my first knee stop I pulled my quad.

Back in the day, I used to be an athlete. I’ve had plenty of muscle strains and pulls, but nothing like this. I felt my muscle rip. I could have avoided this if I had been in a lower derby stance when I went into the stop. I could have avoided it by listening to my body and taking it easy. It was frustrating, embarrassing, and it hurt like hell.

I spent the rest of the practice watching from the sidelines, icing, watching, taking mental notes on what to practice this week, worrying that I might not be able to practice this week, and trying not to cry.

Everyone was awesomely supportive, giving moral support, advice on how to care for it and not continue to re-injure it. I definitely feel the derby love. And although I’m disappointed in myself, I know what I have to do next week to come back stronger, and more confident.

My quad was really tight when I got home, so I hobbled in and put a heating pack on it, and took some ibuprofen. And drank whiskey and went to bed.

This morning it was so much better, and I dared say it was just fine. Until I sprinted across the dining room to the front door to wave to Ben on the bus. It was just a little minor pulling, though. Proof that I need to listen to my body, take care of it, and see what tomorrow brings.

And then, I will work on getting lower.

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In Pursuit of Crazy Eyeris: wReck Derby Week One

Ithaca League of Women RollersSo, wReck Derby started last night. In case you are wondering, wReck is a recreational roller derby, led by our local league, Ithaca League of Women Rollers (ILWR). We skate and learn the fundamentals of roller derby, without all the blocking and contact.

wReck Derby is aptly named because I was a nervous wreck most of the afternoon. I tried not to be. I woke up feeling confident and excited, but I let the stress of the day get the best of me.

It’s really hard to skate when you have jello legs. And the floor we skate on sucks. There are all sorts of bumps, dips, rips, whatever. It was hard to get my groove. Like, really hard. I know next week I will be better, though. I will gear my mind and remember one quote that I heard a lot. “Stop looking at the floor – it’s not going anywhere!”

Of course I fell. Three times to be exact, and once flat on my ass. I wasn’t the only one, and I gotta hand it to the girls who came not knowing how to skate at.all, fell many more times than I did, and kept pushing right through. They all left with smiles on their faces, so I hope they come back next week and give it another try!

The things we went over:

  • Derby stance, and staying low while you are skating.
  • Single and double knee stops.
  • “T” stops.
  • Crossovers.
  • Other drills to improve our strength and balance.

Yeah. That’s a lot to go over when you are working on just being able to skate! But it was all good, there was lots of help, lots of encouragement, and good vibes. I learned so much, and I brought home a lot of ideas about how to continue to build my strength and confidence on my skates. I’m looking forward to building a workout plan today and getting going! Come on, you know me, of course I have to have a PLAN!

For today, it’s going to be some light cardio and gentle yoga, cause this mama is a little sore and a lot tired, but I know I need to keep my body going.

I will leave you with a little Joan Jett. This was my theme song for the night. Incidentally, one of the roller girls is blond Joan Jett’s doppelganger.

What should my theme song for next week be?


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The Return of Crazy Eyeris: What’s on Your Playlist?

Photo credit: Skate of Emergency by Gomisan on Flickr

Photo credit: Skate of Emergency by Gomisan on Flickr

I bet you thought I forgot about Crazy Eyeris, right?

Or maybe YOU forgot about Crazy Eyeris

I have not written about my journey to derby since March 8, 2012.

Yes, I feel a little like a loser.

It seems that life was getting in the way of… well… life! Turns out building a business, working two part-time jobs, and keeping up with two kids and a house was leaving little room for workout time. Or much else for that matter. And since I was basically starting from sedentary, I really needed to get some strength back before derby workshops.

Now I have FINALLY got this shit figured out.

You see, all you really need to do to find time is dig really deep to find what is REALLY important to you, and decide to do it. For me, I had to say, “I will not work 12 hours a day. I will take time in the morning to get my family going, and then I WILL work out.”

(Here’s another really important part of this puzzle: I was scared of failing. There, I said it. I still am scared, but we don’t need to discuss it any further, because I’m moving on.)

And so here I am, almost a year later, hopping back on the track.

I have been working out at home, and I feel pretty good with what I have here – an elliptical, stairs, a house I can actually run laps in, weights, the resistance of my own body. No gym is required, and I have the added benefit of having my children witness me taking care of myself. I work out in the morning, and sometimes the kids join me, sometimes they dance, sometimes they just eat and watch me and try not to laugh.

Generally we listen to the Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout station on Pandora, but that is getting a little old. I seriously need to get my iPod together and get a good playlist going. I’m hoping you can help. Here is my top ten so far!

The Crazy Eyeris Playlist, Part 1

Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
Rock that Body – Black Eyed Peas
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon Five
Move Ya Body – Nina Sky
Bulletproof (Dave Aude Cherry Radio Remix) – LaRoux
Let the Bodies Hit the Floor – Drowning Pool
Whip It – Devo
Stronger – Kanye West
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolf

There you have it. What would you add to this list?

In Pursuit of Crazy Eyeris: Down but Not Out

So, here’s what happened.

I panicked.

Remember how I went to the first open practice and was less-than thrilled with my “skilz?”

Well, things went downhill from there. In the week between open practice one and two, shit got crazy for me. Nothing huge, but just a lot of little things that made it feel like this is NOT the right time to be freshmeat.

First of all, as awesome as it is to feel like my professional life is on the brink of blowing up, it causes an upheaval in our family, and it’s up to me, I guess, to get a hold on managing work, family, and our home on the daily.

Second of all, my kids got sick. And I got tired. And I got sick. And guess what? That was over two weeks ago, and I’m JUST pulling out of it. Which is totally unheard of for me. I just don’t get sick.

Lastly, and totally, completely most important, I cannot go into fresh meat workshops without any skills. I mean, know thyself, right? I expected this would be an issue for me when I decided to jump in with both skates before the end of the summer. I thought I could make it work, but I just can’t.

So I’m back to the original plan. I need to do a lot of hard work on/with/by myself before I can jump into this. And I need to soak up as much Derby as possible.

ILWR is holding open practices and workshops all summer. Unfortunately I can’t start workshops until the end of August, since I will be away when both of the other two workshops start. But I CAN go to open practice again starting April 18th, and there are several throughout the summer.

So, more confidence and strength training for me until then. And I have been to a practice, so I know what to expect, and I know where to go from here.

I feel like I can better manage this path. Too much is happening all at once and what is supposed to be a good thing fore was becoming a source of stress. Not cool.

I feel good about this, but I have been hesitant to write about Crazy Eyeris because in a way I feel embarrassed, and like I’m letting everyone down. Like I’m copping out. I still want to be an inspiration!

So go ahead ya’ll, give it to me straight.

In Pursuit of Crazy Eyeris: Gotta Have Faith

ufferJets-Ithaca-by-Shatterbug11You know the scene in Jerry Maguire where Jerry thinks he has finally signed the number one NFL draft pick, and he has practically killed himself doing it? Now he’s driving down the road and totally jamming out to Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” He’s totally overwhelmed and thankful, and more than a little on the edge of just not being okay.

I had that moment last night.

I’ve had an incredible couple of days. As you already know, I’m the kind of person who envisions the prize and goes for it. The latest incarnation is Roller Derby, but previous to that, which is still a work in progress, has been figuring out what I want to do with my life.

This is the short version, if you can believe it.

I made the choice to leave work when Ben was born. It wasn’t even a choice. My job was great, but it wasn’t for me. And although the pay was more than I would get for any similar job in the area, shelling out two thirds of it for childcare and work expenses just didn’t make sense.

And I wanted to be with my baby.

And then I wanted more.

Skip over some other crap to me deciding a career in graphic and web design was the career for me. Feeling like I couldn’t justify more student loans, I’ve spent the last four-ish years learning. And practicing. And learning. And practicing.

And like Jerry Maguire, I put it all on the line. I have busted my ass and put it all out there. So I can have a better life and so my family can have a better life. Jerry hits it on the head when he says to Rod Tidwell, who ends up being his only client, and not the one he REALLY wanted, “You don’t know what it’s like to be OUT HERE for YOU! It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, OK?!” This has been so my life the last couple of years.

And so a couple of days ago I was presented with what might be an opportunity to not only earn money doing what I love, but to also learn from someone who has been in the business for many years.

We’ll see how it goes, but just the fact that my work and knowledge was validated, and I was wanted for something I want to do made me giddy. Made me cry. Made me want to throw up!

Couple the last few days of amazing career possibility with my nervousness and excitement over my first Roller Derby open practice last night, and I was more of a mess in a dress than I realized.

I realized how on edge I was when I found myself on the way to Derby practice, blaring George Michael’s “Faith,” singing loudly and terribly, and banging on the steering wheel. And I will admit it, I was crying a little.

And then I flashed to Jerry Maguire, and I laughed at myself.

And then I was at Derby practice.

And I kinda sucked.

Everyone was so supportive, though. Many of the Derby girls who were running the practice had never skated before they started skating with ILWR. So they get it.

I will be okay. I will be great – eventually.

Because like Jerry Maguire, Crazy Eyeris puts it all on the line, and she doesn’t fail.

I just gotta have faith.

Do you have faith?

In Pursuit of Crazy Eyeris: Ready for a Derby Girl Beating

My first open skating session before Freshmeat workshops begin is exactly one week away. ILWR offers two open skate sessions prior to Freshmeat workshops. During these sessions I will learn basics such as form, falls, stops, and strength training.

The next time I write about Crazy Eyeris, I will be heading off to skate that night. And now I’m more excited than nervous.

As you all know I’ve been worried about my skating (in)abilities, but of course you know I was pro-active about the situation.

Crazy Eyeris meets shit head-on, and she dares you to get in her way.

So we packed up our kidlets on Saturday, and drove an hour to a skating rink so I could skate.

It was pretty awesomeballz.

I fell once. Right on my ass. But I did not allow myself to be upset or embarrassed. Every one falls, and Crazy Eyeris doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks.

But I can skate. Not what I would say well, but I can skate.

It was a little bit frustrating at first – there were a lot of really obnoxious kids bobbing and weaving in front of me the whole time. But that’s good practice, right? And soon enough, I left thoughts of prepping for derby behind and just had fun skating with my family.

I love the feeling of gliding along the floor. Controllably out of control.

The boy skated, and has been bitten by the skating bug. He wants to go back next week, which I think we will. Only three more years until he’s old enough for Junior Derby!!

I’m slowly but surely giving up the need to be super awesome the moment I arrive at the open skating next week. Just tryin’ to be real, it ain’t happening, and that’s okay.

And really, when I stop to think about it, the pure fact that I am doing this makes me super awesome. The ILWR skaters are kind and loving sisters who are going to kick my ass. Derby love.

Crazy Eyeris can’t wait to feel the love of a good derby girl beating.

In Pursuit of Crazy Eyeris: Kicking Ass, Even if it is My Own

Imagine that one day you decide something is missing. Maybe it’s something you used to do in another life. Maybe what is missing is YOU. Maybe you don’t even know what the hell is missing, but you know somethin’ just ain’t right.

Maybe, then, for some unknown, strange and cosmic reason, you decide to claim or reclaim this missing piece by doing something that you know nothing about. Groovy. But then consider, for a second, that you might want to do something that NO ONE really knows anything about.

Imagine it being so intriguing-scary-amazing, that you are able to mobilize many others to join you. Many others who also know nothing about it.

This is the beginning of modern roller derby. Roller derby for a new millennium. Not your mother’s roller derby.

And so it was, that in the early 2000’s, separately but almost simultaneously, women formed roller derby leagues around the United States. First in Texas, then California, New York, North Carolina and on.

For something that no one really knew anything about, the sport spread like wildfire.

Women were looking for more. Roller derby did and continues to empower women to be who they want to be.

And it’s these roots and the ensuing support of and respect for other skaters yearning for something more, and the determination and strength in which modern derby is founded that drives me to join.

To become me again.

Plus it just kicks ass.

But my fear and insecurity are seriously starting to kick in and kick my ass. I feel paralyzed by the what-if’s and the cant’s.

I will start the process in a little over two weeks. And just thinking about that gives me the biggest knot in my stomach. I’m excited but I’m also scared out of my fucking mind.

I can’t even skate, what the hell am I doing?

More than anything, I don’t want to be embarrassed.

Seriously guys, I don’t want this to be me:

This is super funny when Chelsea does it, but me? Not so much.

What if I am the only one who can’t skate? If I’m going to feel singled out, I would really much rather be singled out for being awesomeballz.

So then I brought up this video.

I watched this with my daughter on my lap, and she cheered through it and yelled over and over, “MAMA!!!” just like she does when I wear my ILWR t-shirt. How the hell does she KNOW??? She is not even two.

And so I know that I need to hike up my hot pants and strap on the skates because Crazy Eyeris does not let anything stop her. Yeah, she may be the only one who can’t skate, but she is a quick study, so that’s not cause for fear, that’s cause for determination. To channel confidence. To kick ass, even if it is just my own.

What do you do when you need to face your fears?