I was exhausted. We were in the middle of an endurance relay. It was my third roller derby practice and my legs felt like noodles. I had my hands up on my helmet, opening my lungs as much as possible in hopes of catching my breath.
"You're doing great," a teammate said as she high-fived me. Our wrist guards smacked together like firecrackers.
I didn't feel like I was doing great. I felt a strange mix of misery and pride. I was pushing through, but it didn't feel natural at all.
"I'm trying really hard," I said between breaths as I bent over and put my hands on my knees.
"Yeah, but I still see that doubt in your eyes." So much for the tough facade I was trying to fake. I wobbled on my skates and cussed under my breath. Perfect timing, I thought.
"I feel like I'm doing something for me, but it doesn't feel natural. I don't trust my body." And there it was. The truth came spilling from my lips.
I don't trust my body.
Those five words triggered so many emotions in me that I would have burst into tears if I had the energy at the time.
I thought about it all night long. The same body that housed and then failed my babies also mastered plow pose in yoga last week.
Derby is stretching me in ways I didn't expect. I'm losing inhibitions and ridiculous amounts of pride (I have an ice pack sitting up against my bruised tailbone as I type.) I'm learning that mistakes aren't always negative and I'm learning that I'm stronger and more durable than I thought I was that day when I declared there would be no more war within my walls. I'm talking to myself differently, praising myself for even the tiniest bits of progress instead of constantly criticizing my shortcomings. I'm challenging myself to learn from my teammates instead of comparing myself to them.
It's a flat-track uphill climb for damn sure.