I am a woman. I am a woman who has friends. I LOVE that I can say that. Logically speaking, it would be easy for me to have friends who are women , since we have this basic gender thing in common. Similarly, logic would hold that when I was a girl, I would have friends who were girls as well. Well, clearly our world is not always logical. As a girl, teenager, and finally a young woman, I failed miserably at obtaining and maintaining girl friends. As a child, there were a small handful of neighborhood girls I was friends with, each in their own time. I was never surrounded by the gaggle of girls I saw swarming some of the more popular girls. Rather, my friend and I would tromp around outside and see what the neighborhood boys were getting into. Eventually, my friend would find more popular friends and I was left to tromp after the neighborhood boys myself. As a teenager, this scenario didn’t change much. It went from tromping outside to exploring neighboring towns in our cars. Always had more guy friends than girls. I filled up that need for a good girl friend with an aggressive swagger that actually probably scared away any potential BFFs. I found myself in college working full time and going to school full time, always had my head down trying to make the right choices to get school paid for and money saved, that I missed that college experience. In a way, I have mourned this perpetual absence of “the friend experience” for a long time now. I would get terribly envious when my classmates or coworkers would talk about recent trips they took with friends or concerts they saw. As the years passed and I married my spouse and we started a family, I had even fewer opportunities to meet people and make lasting friendships. Most of the other wives and mothers I would meet at work or through my husband’s friends already had huge and complex social lives with girls they had known since infancy-or so it felt. I was a lonely lonely duck.
That is, until my current best friends came into my life. (Of course it’s roller derby. It’s ALWAYS roller derby !!) I had a great conversation with one of my good friends Tank Goodness about why I am so in love with being around not only my teammates, but most roller derby players. Her thought was that we are a ragtag bunch of girls who never made friends with girls growing up and we somehow made it through childhood and adolescence and crazily enough, we found each other. I had to agree with her. Sometimes I feel like it is out of sheer luck that we all found each other. Of course there are plenty of derbies who were the queen bees of their respective schools, childhoods. And more power to you, we learn how to be great girlfriends from you. Thank you. But I want to wax poetic and relax into the idea that these women I have met are like a comfortable, down -filled chair that envelopes me when I wasn’t aware I was weary. We wrap our arms around each other and offer love and support even when we don’t know what’s wrong. Interestingly, sometimes my teammates will ask what’s wrong, but usually they don’t-they just offer their attention and support where it is needed, a reason is not necessary.
It’s wild to me because I have only be in derby since October and I have made the best friends I have ever had in my life with some of these girls….and with all the others, I can’t wait to get to know them better. Check out our Facebook statuses and you will see what I mean. My Facebook wall is littered with affirmations of all different sorts from my team. Platonic exclamations of love such as “You did awesome tonight!“ and “I need some Kittie Fantastik!!!“ rock my world and fill my heart to brimming. Truly, this is the amazing thing about roller derby-or maybe it’s just my team!-the very open, supportive, affectionate, loving women here are all willing to embrace you, who you are, and who you want to be. In this day and age of cattiness, bullies, queen bees, and all-around toxic-ness, I found dozens of BFFs in the most aggressive, physical sport for women. Who says we are scary bitches?