Last night I skated in my first roller derby bout at our home venue. For most of my friends and family, this was their first chance to see me play. I had a busy week leading up to the event and a stressful day running around getting everything done so I could be in the locker room on time. The game was awesome. I had a ton of fun playing and enjoying the after party. I crashed into bed last night with a beer buzz, feeling exhausted and thrilled with the experience.
As I drank my coffee this morning (and stretched my sore muscles), I scrolled through photos from last night. Most of the ones on my camera were taken by my boyfriend's sister and there were a bunch on FaceBook already, posted by friends and teammates. As I took in all the images, I was struck by great feelings of love and gratitude for all these amazing people who are in my life. My teammates have supported me and cheered me on when I was feeling low and ready to quit. My boyfriend and his sister dressed up for the Kentucky Derby theme so they could sit in the front row. A friend I went to high school with is pregnant, yet she drove two hours each way to volunteer because we were short handed. Friends who I didn't expect to show were in line at the end, giving my whole team high fives. Even my life coach was there! To say that roller derby has changed my life is an understatement, so to see all these people come together to support me and celebrate was incredible. There was so much happening at once last night, that it wasn't until I was alone with my thoughts this morning that I realized how amazing it was.
One of the most important things I've learned as an adult is that I can choose who I allow into my life and who I don't. It took me until I was thirty to figure it out but once I did, my quality of life improved immensely. When I first moved to Montana I didn't know many people and I made one close friend. Long story short, in less than two years I figured out she wasn't a good person and I didn't really want her as a friend any more. I'll admit I probably didn't handle the situation in the best possible way, but I did what I thought was right at the time to make a clean break. I was lonely as hell for a while. Then, I reached out to some acquaintances I had always admired. Going forward, I made the choice to associate with people who I felt were well intentioned and would support me in my journey.
Sometimes a person turns out to be different than what I originally thought. Or a situation arises that stresses someone and they show their true self and it isn't pleasant. This has happened to me a few times over the years and I find myself at a crossroads: do I continue a relationship with someone or choose a life without them? It isn't ever easy but the older I get, the better I know myself and what I want from the people I share my life with. Now that I find myself with an extraordinary partner and friends who are funny, positive and supportive. Sometimes, like last night, I am amazed to see all of these people together having fun. It makes me feel good to know that I created this support system and contribute to it. In turn we are all providing for and supporting each other, enriching each others lives.