Friday, April 1, 2011

Ahhhhhh! Escape of the Terrible Tutu!

Derby has turned me into a materialistic, ostentatious piece of ruffled ass.

Before I started skating, I wore gray, black, and brown to school almost every day; my gym clothes were no different. I sported black pants, black shorts, black t-shirts, and one red t-shirt that I got for free when I joined.

I didn’t want to stand out. I didn’t want anyone to notice me. I wasn’t unconfident; I just wanted to blend into the gym walls. I wanted to swing my legs back and forth on the elliptical, blankly staring at a television or magazine page. Sometimes, I would even wear my headphones without my iPod, just so everyone would know that I didn’t want to talk about calorie counting. I didn’t want to hear boar grunts. I didn’t want to make any friends. I didn’t even want anyone to look my direction.

I lost about twenty pounds that way. Of course, twenty pounds wasn’t enough, so when I would come back post-workout to my tilted trailer, I would eat nothing but lettuce leaves and a hundred calorie ice cream popsicle. Soon I had lost twenty-one pounds, twenty-two, twenty-three…but I still didn’t want to be noticed physically. I hid in my black, brown, and gray clothes. I looked great, but I felt tired. Cranky. Miserable if I missed a workout. Cruel to myself if I didn’t do at least an hour of cardio and half an hour of plyometrics.

When I started derby, I gained thirty pounds. I have no idea why. My eating habits were consistent, I still worked out, and I was getting more exercise than I did before. Of course, it could have been the prescription of antidepressants. It could have been that I was unknowingly “feeding insulin.” (In other words, injecting myself with too much insulin and later having to stuff sugar and carbs in my mouth to stay alive. It’s a vicious cycle.) It could have been that I was turning twenty-seven, and my body was preparing me for the brutal snowstorm of my thirties. I have no idea.

I don’t know where the weight came from, but it returned right where it belonged: my stomach and enormous boobs. It was back, and it was here to stay.

But without me even realizing it, something else about my appearance had changed. The brightly colored tights, floofy tutus, and booty shorts crept up on my body more slowly than the weight, but they were there too. There to stay.

Soon, my closet was overflowing with tangled tights, fishnets, striped booty shorts, ruffle panties, and a pair of kitty cat ears to wear for pictures and bout introductions. (I know, I know, my name has nothing to do with cats…but I am kind of obsessed with them.) Every practice and bout became an opportunity for me to put together an outfit in a way that I had never done with regular clothing. Do highlighter yellow tights go with a black sport skort and that red shirt I got from the gym? No. Did highlighter yellow tights go with a black sport skort and turquoise jersey? Why, yes! Of course!

And you know what? I discovered that an obsession with image had been a latent part of my personality all along, and it wasn’t a bad thing. I wasn’t the greatest skater when I started (and I’m still not), but I thrived from the attention my boutfits got. Don’t get me wrong; I am not one of those Myspace derby girls who only join the team because it’s the cool, alternative thing to do. I did, and will continue, to work hard and strive to improve.

I just want to look hella good doing it, extra thirty pounds or not.

These days, I want people to notice me.

Of course, having an ultra bright, flamboyant boutfit makes it easier for opposing blockers to knock the glitter right off the tutu. Still, I just can’t let my short lime green petticoat go. (Unless we play Knoxville, of course. I learned my lesson the first time on that one.) I cringe at league meetings when girls bring up the idea of dressing alike at every bout. I cringe harder when they want us all to wear black shorts. (Why can’t we all wear cute turquoise ruffle panties?)

I won’t say that derby has given me the confidence to wear my underwear outside my tights. In some ways, derby has made me less confident. However, derby opened up a new part of my personality that was, um, slightly brighter than I imagined.

These days, I have an edgy, asymmetrical haircut. I tend to buy regular clothing in a rainbow of colors. Sometimes, I even wear blue eye shadow to work. I don’t mind that my mom’s coworkers alert her when I change my facebook profile picture to me with one panty on my head and one under my tutu. I don’t mind when my mom calls and asks me why I decided to dress that way. (Though I have told her that my boutfits cover way more than a bathing suit would.)

My teammate, Ziggy Bloodlust, told me that one night, she browsed through all of the Burn City Rollers’ pictures. Start to finish. She said to me 9, when you started, you looked so…young. Now you look so much more womanly.

I just smiled and gave myself a little pat on my materialistic, ostentatious piece of ruffled ass.

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