When derby saved my soul

There is this really great saying “Derby saved my soul but broke my ankle” I’ve always thought this was a pretty cute saying but tonight it really struck me. Derby. Saved. My. Soul.

January 29th is a historically rough day for me and mine as it’s the day we lost my oldest brother Derek. Today will mark 3 years without him and while it’s true that it does get easier with time this day never fails to bring back those harsh feelings of extreme loss and sorrow.

I learned the first year that working on this day is a poor choice. Last year I learned that spending the day surrounded by my family helps ease the pain. So this year I planned a day off and made plans with my family followed by derby. I warned my coaches and many of teammates were in the know, just in case I needed to go to a corner and loose it for a moment. So I’m rocking through my day and I’m doing pretty good. No major breakdowns, shared some good memories and we start doing a drill that I struggle with, which made me emotional which made me find the brink and almost lose it.

And as I was trying to keep it together I looked around at my team. My amazingly encouraging team. Who checked in with me all night. Who pushed me because I needed to be pushed. Who hugged me because I need to be hugged. Who gave me incredibly supportive words because I needed to hear them. Who told me I was skating tonight like the skater I am and not doubting myself. And I realized, that not only derby saved my soul, but that Inland Empower Derby saved my soul.

I have really struggled and I have really felt like I’ve lost myself, especially these past few months, but that being in Boomtown (our practice space) it is my home. And when I’m home I am my truest self. And when I am myself I am happy. So I will derby, I will derby until my body will no longer let me and…

  • I will derby for Derek
  • I will derby for every puppy and kitten I couldn’t save
  • I will derby for every hurt and angry feeling I have ever had
  • I will derby for the joy it brings
  • I will derby for the Cherry Bomb Brawlers and it’s amazing group of kids that I am lucky to be apart of helping.
  • I will derby for my team mates who never give up on me
  • I will derby for my family because I know they like to brag about it
  • I will derby to support the mission and values of Inland Empower Derby
  • Most importantly – I will derby for me. Because I deserve it.

And I will always keep Derek in my heart and his number 128 on my back. Because I know that if he was still with us he would drive 9 hours to watch me play and no one would yell “THAT’S MY SISTER” when I hit the floor louder then anyone (except maybe my other fantastic brother Josh).

Derek and I

And someday, at some bout, I will jam. And right before the jam starts ‘Welcome to the Jungle‘ will start playing and when that happens I know it’ll be because he’s watching.


The Monster

*Disclaimer: This blog is not very derby related*

Winter is a historically hard time for me. Honestly I think a lot of people struggle in the winter. There’s a reason that any good doctor won’t advise you to come off anti-depressants in the winter, because it’s a particular depressing time of year (the phrase ‘don’t set yourself up for failure’ comes to mind)

Regardless, this blog has been a little silent. The combination of work, holidays, derby stuffs and the monster that is depression had stifled my will to write. The monster grabbed me and held me tight. Killing my holiday spirit and my will to get out of bed but I am finally wiggling free of it’s terrible claws. Someday I will kill this monster but until then this is how I’m surviving it.

  1. I like to read other peoples blogs about how they handle depression. Which is really the main reason I’m writing this entry. It helps to know you are not alone, you are not the only person in the whole wide world who feels this way. So read my words and know that others feel the way you may feel right now, which leads me to my next point….
  2. It is okay to be sad. Even if you don’t really have anything to be sad about. Actually being upset about the fact that you really have nothing to be upset about is like giving the depression monster a huge cheeseburger. The monster loves that shit and will hang out and feed off it. If you’re sad, then you’re sad and just because you have a great job and wonderful spouse and supportive and loving friends and family doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to be sad. Be sad, cry, stare at the ceiling and ponder the meaning of everything for a while. Wallow a little and get it out of your system.
  3. Hobbies. Doesn’t matter what it is, but find something that makes you happy. For me this is roller derby. It’s physical, it’s fun and my team is a great resource of support and comfort to me. For you it could be knitting, or  yoga, or playing the didgeridoo. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’ something you like doing. Because when you like doing something you’ll want to do it, and that alone has helped me get out of bed many a time when I didn’t want to.
  4. Take your vitamins. When I finally realized that the monster was holding me tight (sometimes it take a bit for me to realize what is happening to me) I immediately said ‘oh man I have to get better about my vitamins’. In particular I upped my intake of B-12. Which I don’t get enough of in the and it makes me bummed out. I am not a doctor, but I feel like taking the B-12 (I also take D3 for bone health and a women’s multivitamin) has really helped me weather the storm.
  5. Finally, if you need help, ask for help. More then just taking a mental health day (those are really important by the way when fighting the monster). But there will come a point where you may need professional help and there is nothing wrong with that. When depression first reared it’s ugly head in my life I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was just missing my brother that I had just lost. That it was just grief and it would pass with time and as the months wore on it became harder and harder for me to function. Each day was so exhausting just trying to get through it like my normal self that one day I fell asleep at a stop light on my way home. I fell asleep, just for a second, but that was enough for me to say ‘holy crap, I need professional help something is going on’. So I talked with a therapist, worked on some feelings and she, my personal doctor and I decided that an antidepressant was right for me. This also seems to help fight the monster but it won’t be right for everyone so work with your doctor and find what works best for you.

So, if you’re like me and you’re struggling this holiday season, I hope this helped a little bit. Here’s to defeating the monster in 2015!

A look in the mirror

This was suppose to be my year. I was going to loose 30 pounds. Being November I can tell you that is something that defiantly isn’t happening.

So I’m staring at my body in the mirror the other morning and noticing small changes, even if the number on the scale hasn’t moved, I decided right then and there that I was alright with it. So what if it’s a little chubby. This body played in its first ever roller derby bout AFTER breaking its ankle 8 months earlier. Just the fact that I was able to mentally get past and put my skates back on is something I’m very proud of. Then to rehab and play, yeah I think that makes me just a little badass.

I can do more then ten push ups. I can do so many squats. My calves are the same size again. And you know what Internet? I’m not done. After much thinking, budgeting and discussions with Mr. Wrecks I will continue to derby.

Which means I will continue to train. So no I didn’t loose weight I wanted but instead I took a hard look at it and decided that I love my body. Chubby rolls and all.

Attitude is everything

I’m a big believer in the FISH! Philosophy. The basics of which are to play at work, make someone’s day, be present and (my favorite one) choose your attitude.

I’m really try to choose a good attitude everyday, about every situation. Mostly because bad attitudes suck and no one likes to be around someone with a bad attitude but also because I’m an insane people pleaser and I find people like other people who have good attitudes so it’s something I’ve really picked up on doing.

However, my attitude has been in the dump. While I can’t pin point exactly what’s attacking my ‘tude I think it’s a combination of work stress, thoughts of ‘how can I find a way to continue derby next year’, the fact that my last ditch effort for the Year of Jenna is not going well at all and that overall demon of mine, depression. Tonight my bad ‘tude showed up at derby practice in the form of self-deprecation.

One of the things I love about my league is that it has a zero tolerance policy for self-deprecation. You would never look at a struggling team mate and say “man you really suck at that you’re never going to get better” so there is zero reason why you should ever say such things about yourself. This policy is something that I love, that I believe in, but tonight I just couldn’t help myself. I said “oh that was bad, Oh I didn’t do that right, oh that sucked” and rightfully so my coach got all over me.

And I am so thankful for it. She hit my switch. She turned on my light. She made me stop and think “Why the hell am I saying this things to myself. This isn’t how I operates….this is how bad attitude J-Wrecks operates”.

I had to remind myself this morning at work because I think that’s been my main stresser but I’m carrying this home and that’s not okay. An Attitude can be blatant and easily recognized or sometimes it can sneak up on you and if your not sorting your feelings out and choosing happiness the darkness can very quickly try and fill that hole to make you a snarky asshole.

Choose not to be a snarky asshole, not to yourself and certainly not to others.

My First Bout

As I attempt to scrub my number off my arm and wince at a bruise I’m just now finding I am reflecting on last nights amazingness.

I played roller derby. In front of I don’t know how many people. I did things. I hit jammers out. I chained back like I was taught. I was physical. I had a hard core. I had a strong heart. I was empowered.

It was amazing. I don’t know how you go back from what I am going to call one of the best nights of my life. Sure I got shenanigans at the after party, who doesn’t occasionally right? But it was amazing. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for these things:

  • For an amazing team league. The members of Inland Empower Derby practice hard, skate harder but most importantly work hard to make this league and team successful. Everyone pitched in yesterday (and the months before as we planned) and made that bout amazing. They are a positive and uplifting group. They help each other. They encourage each other when we are freaking the fuck out because oh my god I’m about to do roller derby. They care and I am so happy that they count me among them.
  • For my outstanding husband. Who waited on me hand and foot when I was broken. Who helped pay my broken bills and then didn’t bat an eye when I said I wanted to go back. He supports me. He encourages me. He is my foundation in this crazy world and love isn’t a strong enough word for how I feel about him.
  • Family – who also encouraged me to stick with it. Not give up. Who cheered the loudest when I hit people. Who carried me up and down stairs when I was broken. Mom I think I’m finally decent at a sport now. Sorry it took me so long!
  • Life is no fun unless you have amazing friends. So luckily my life is full of FUN. I had SO many friends come out last night. My amazing co-workers, my oldest friends, my new friends. I appreciate your support immensely thank you.

I honestly don’t know if this is the end. My head says yes. Responsible Jenna knows that another major injury would set so many of our long term life goals back but my heart. Oh man my heart is so happy. I feel like for the first time in my adult life that I have found something that is JUST for me. That my defining factor of WHO I am is no longer my job but the sport I love. I’m not sure I’m ready to let that go.


Every year for my job I help to run a booth at the Spokane County Fair. It’s a big event for us and me and one other employee share the duty of leading the booth full of volunteers, splitting the days and nights. Needless to say it makes for 10 very, very long days.

It was during said fair that my 12 week Physique fitness challenge started. So as I did my very best to bring a lunch bag full of fruits, veggies and things that weren’t fair food as I started my challenge. However people kept offering me fair food, to which I would respond “Thank you but I’m on a diet”

Somewhere around the 5th or 6th time I had to say this to someone I thought “Man diet is such and ugly word”

We say the word diet like it’s such a bad thing. Sorry I can’t have that thing your having that looks so good and is making you so clearly happy but I’m on a diet which means I have to eat these carrots and look longingly at your elephant ear. Diet. It’s SO negative. The whole concept is negative. When I think of the word diet I think of people depriving them self from the thing they really want to eat in the name of losing a few pounds.

And you know what you do when you stop being on a diet (I know because I’ve done it) you eat ALL THE THINGS YOU WANTED WHILE YOU WERE ON SAID DIET AND BOOM WEIGHT COMES BACK.

I’ve decided that such a negative and ugly word, neigh philosophy, does not belong in the Year of Jenna. Attention world.

No – I am not on a diet. I am on a fitness journey that ends with me be happy and healthy. 

So thank you for offering to share you candy bar with me but I’m currently eating healthy.

When it all goes wrong

I’m sure you’ve notice that the Year of Jenna portion of my blog has been lack luster, to say the very least. What happened to the girl who was going to loose 20 pounds? Who was going to have this be HER YEAR.

Well she broke her ankle and honestly I’d like to say I tried to keep myself on a path that didn’t include fast food and unhealthy choices but I really didn’t. I hit the Jack in the Box, I slept in instead of working out and for a moment I thought “Perhaps the year of Jenna will just quietly die away”

But then I joined a new roller derby team. I have the opportunity to bout in October before the high cost of insurance takes me out of the game (bouting on the  year of Jenna to do list BTW) and I really got into my practices pushing myself and realizing more then ever. I am out of shape. I need to practice both on and off the track. I need to make healthier choices. I need to finish out the Year of Jenna strong.

So in these last 4 months of the year, or as I’m calling it crunch time, I’m enlisting help. I’m participating in the Physzique 12 Week Fitness Challenge. I wish I could say I’m strong enough to do this on my own, but honestly I’m not and this program which provides accountability, training and what will be most important for me – dietary consults it’s my crunch time plan. 

I can finish out the Year of Jenna strong, and I can loose weight before 2015 comes rolling in. Today I weighed in at 146 with 50 pounds of body fat. I WILL lower that in the next 12 weeks and of course if you’re following along I thank you for reading my journey and appreciate any helpful tips you’d have!