I was raised by bikers and teenagers. It’s been a running joke in my life for a while, but it’s actually true. I grew up poor because of this and moved at least 10 times before my 9th birthday. My parents did the very best they could with what they were given. They struggled to provide what they could since they were both so young. I learned that life is never easy, but with hard work and dedication, you can keep afloat.
When I was young my parents got divorced and I took that really hard. It had been my mission in life to always be the mediator and peacekeeper during times of chaos, but I just wasn’t able to keep my family together. That’s a lot of pressure for a little kid, so as you can imagine I took it really hard. Years later, my father walked out of my life and my mom’s second husband was there. He was incredibly strict but since I was an older child, we had an understanding. I am grateful for his influence in my life, though i wish that things had turned out differently for he and my mother.
But all that’s just where my story begins. In the last 30-something years I have been to hell and back again. The only constant things have been chaos, change and the fact that I attract a unique cast of characters.
I’ve always been a misfit and was generally tortured for being ugly and/or weird. I struggled to fit in but I just never came close enough to fake it. To quiet the stress and to fill the void, I was destructive and came very close to ending my own life in addition to starving myself to fit into some unattainable societal idea. However, I knew that I was destined for something, something greater than the chaos, pain and torment.
When I graduated high school, a semester early so I could get a full time job (dropping out was not an option in my family), I never looked back. I have worked hard, struggled and clawed my way to where I am. I’ve had people take everything from me, simply to start over again. But I always start over and rebuild my life. I have been left with absolutely nothing except what could fit in my car and my pets, however, i have always managed to stay afloat.
Several years ago, I had a chance meeting in a hospital as my grandfather was dying. My brother and I were able to reconnect with our father and work toward establishing a new relationship. It took nearly 15 years for that, but I am so thankful for the chance. I now get to be part of my youngest sister’s life, my dad and his amazing girlfriend and their family. The best part is that it all fell into place and we are able to all move forward instead of looking back.
Now, I have a college degree, though it took me 7 years to complete. I’m also working on my Master’s so that I will always be able to provide for my family. I have a house that I purchased myself. I also have the love of a good man and a bright future with him. Even though I’ve been through absolute hell, I have a good life most days. I’m thankful and fortunate for everything I’ve learned in my struggles. That drive and need to be strong and succeed has led me to where I am. The good and the bad.
Roller derby helped me gain confidence, to speak my mind and leave destructive relationships in the dust. These friendships I’ve gained will last a lifetime and I am eternally grateful for the years the sport has allowed me. Now that I’ve retired, my priorities have changed, but my love for the sport and the women who play it, will never change.
I don’t know what’s in front of me, but I will continue to work hard and do what I can to embrace the struggles I will no doubt encounter, while still being ‘ugly’ and ‘weird’. Just because I don’t fit in a neat little package that everyone understands, doesn’t mean that I do not have a greater purpose. I know what that is, and I’ll stop and nothing to achieve it everyday.