Apr 152011
 

Are all Swedish chics this retardedly stylish? I'm expatriating.

Editor’s note: Swede Hurt is a mysterious and illusive creature. She’s the kind of girl that says, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” and even if you consider yourself pretty fucking cool, six months later you’ll still be waiting by the phone and pining for her. I am super happy to have her and her adorably idiosyncratic grammar back on LDG. And the captions are mine, not hers. She’s not like that.

Sooo there are lots and lots of things that have happened since I wrote here last, and I guess it will take a couple of posts for you guys to catch up with my life. Since I wrote last I have gone to WFTDA Championships and gotten a bronze medal. I have moved back to Europe. I have become head coach of a Swedish league and of Team Sweden , I have opened a rollerderby store called SwedeVix with a friend. Somewhere in between there I have also been reporting for DNN at the German Championships and Anarchy in the UK, written an article for Five On Five, lead sessions at the European Rollerderby Conference and played a banked track game in LA with Team Legit, and also played in the first ever Swedish bout… yeah…

Hottest couple in roller derby. Hands down, no contest.

I also moved in with my girlfriend Mad Maloony in Malmö, Sweden, Europe… well and if you wish to catch up on all the details there is always my own personal blogg that I have tried to keep updated under Swede Rambles. It started as a fitness blog and turned out to be random reflections on the world of derby. Itwould be  a lie to say that I am completly happy – I miss Gotham – very, very, very much and I think that will also turn into a separate blogg.

Well, this was my short little reintroduction to me – I have had a very busy few months – and life has gotten very different in just a very short time, and I really think it is for the best… more to come really… really soooon…

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Mar 112011
 

I know I owe you guys another installment of Sex and Roller Derby.  And I promise it’s still on the horizon.  But remember how I warned you I might come up with something more important to say?  Last night, when Moxie posted about the oft-contentious topic of derby dress, I realized I DID in fact have something to say.  Because what I wear to derby matters to me.  It matters A LOT.  Because I’ve been worrying about my clothes for way too long already.

I had my first conflict over clothing when I was about 10 years old.

I'm the one in pink. I am 6 here. I am already developing hips and thighs.

I’m one of those kids who developed really early – earlier than is strictly reasonable.  I was full height by age 9 or 10, already sporting breasts and hips and an ass that, for an elementary schooler, could only be referred to as “epic.”  Whenever I mention this aspect of my childhood in mixed company, my male friends say, “That must’ve been awesome!”  Girls know better, though.  When I mention being the first kid on the playground with a C-cup, girls cringe silently or offer commiserating stories of their own.  Because girls know that being sexualized early is rife with complications.

All of a sudden, my uniform shorts looked a lot different than everyone else’s.  The baggy fabric was hugging me so tightly that preventing panty-line became a daily challenge.  My new bra (like actual bra; no training for these tits) was absurdly visible through the sheer fabric of our Peter-Pan-collar innocent-schoolgirl shirts.  Boys popped my straps on the playground.  They asked me if I’d be willing to show them my tits.  Up until that point, I don’t think I’d ever even heard the word “tits,” much less some of the other super-creatively-gross euphemisms they’d come up with.  I had no idea what they were so interested in.  As far as I could tell, I wasn’t any different than I’d been the year before.  I was the same mousy, quiet girl I’d always been.  Now, all of a sudden, the other kids were paying attention to me.  But the attention didn’t feel good.  It felt strange and awkward, unfounded somehow in anything I could comprehend.

I’m not saying I didn’t know what sex was; my dad is a scientist, and as such he always made sure I had a scientific explanation of the world around me.  But understanding the mechanics of sex does nothing to help you analyze the skeezy feeling you get when the class bully unhooks your bra during math, or tries to bounce a penny off your ass whenever you bend over.  Those feelings have nothing to do with making babies, nor with the “mutual respect and affection” that you’ve been taught are supposed to accompany human sexuality.  (Yeah, I know.  ”Mutual respect and affection” is kind of high-faluting language to use on a kid.  But you’ve never met my dad.)

My mother and I began to have near-constant conflicts about my clothes.  While school days were taken up with required uniforms, my weekends had always been a long string of shorts and tank tops.  Now, suddenly, I found my mother trying to convince me to “layer.”  She took me to Dillards in search of jeans to replace my well-loved outdoor shorts.  Whenever I tried to ask her why I couldn’t just wear my old clothes, she would hem and haw, telling me only that “those clothes just don’t look right on you anymore.”  When I got a little older and babydoll dresses with spaghetti straps got popular, I had to continually insist that wearing a t-shirt underneath the dress kind of hurt the look.  The same held true for wearing biking shorts underneath a skirt.  My mother didn’t breathe again until I got into grunge and started wearing figure-masking flannel shirts and overalls.

It took me years to understand why clothes that looked so cute and fun on my friends somehow looked slutty on me.  Things started to even out a little as I got older and my peers began catching up to me.  My body didn’t stand out quite as much outside an elementary school classroom.  But the weird feeling that there was something wrong or immoral about my shape never quite left me.  My breasts and hips were intruders that made my life confusing and complicated, that asked people to read my body separately from my personality.  They had their own grammar, sent their own private message to the world.  And I hated them.

By the time I hit my senior year of high school, I was a full-blown anorexic.  I had dropped from around 130 lbs (about what I weigh now, for those who know me) to 100.  My freshman year of college the numbers climbed lower, first to the lower 90s and then, after a bout with stomach flu, the lower 80s.  I bottomed out at around 82 lbs before I finally got some help and started the slow crawl back to normal.  And although I can’t guarantee a causal relationship, I can’t help but think that my early experience with T&A helped push me over the edge.  If I could just lose a little more weight, just a few more pounds, maybe my hips would disappear.  Maybe my breasts would dissolve and never return.  Maybe I could live a life where the clothes I draped myself in didn’t matter so much.  Maybe I wouldn’t look like a slut.

Me, parodying "sexy", at the 2010 Running of the Rollerbulls in New Orleans

I had to begin dealing with my body dysmorphia in order to get healthy again.  I had to learn that food is good and starvation is bad, that my body is my friend, yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda.  But it wasn’t until I joined derby that I really became friends with my body again.  I learned that giant asses are tools of power, that tits can be used in strategic positional blocking, and that thunder thighs help me get low and gain stability.  So when I dress for practice, I wear outfits that highlight my most valuable assets.  As Moxie mentioned in her post yesterday, derbies have long been proud of their hot pants and fishnets and low-cut tops.  But they’ve also been criticized for them, taken to task for not dressing like “serious athletes.”  So when I don my hot pants, I’m sending an important message to the world.  I’m saying “fuck you” to all the people who made me feel ashamed, who tried to teach me that asses and tits and hips were nothing but sex tools.  I’m reminding myself and my audience that women’s bodies – no matter their shape – are powerful.  I am proud, not ashamed.

So if the world wants to keep staring at our hot pants and telling us we’re nothing but sex kittens, that’s their own damn fault.  I know better.  I know that my body – while sexy – can do a lot of other things besides fuck.  And until the world learns that women have a right to display their bodies however they choose, without judgment, I’m going to keep skating – hot pants and all.

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Jun 092010
 

In Portland February 2009

When I started skating I almost only jammed, I was told at boot camp that I would be a jammer and since I barley knew what a jammer was, I googled it and then went with it. I was a very very sucky blocker, but I jammed, I was one of the fastest skaters on Jet City after a year, and I was also quite determined. So I skated, skated, skated and mostly jammed. And I didn’t particularly love it, but I didn’t hate it, it was what I did, I was a jammer, I scored grand slams and I helped my team. At some point the pressure just got to high, I became that jammer that everyone chanted ‘grand slam, grand slam, grand slam’ for, and I buckled under pressure and I started to feel anxiety every time I slid the star over my helmet.

I got picked up by Rat City, and my jamming time started to diminish at the same rate as my blocking got better and better, I enjoyed killing the other jammer. I realized that I was a very effective blocker, and I did good, I got good feedback on blocking, maybe because people saw me as a jammer that suprised them with blocking skills. I was still expected to go out and jam, and score, score, score when I did, no matter what my pack looked like. I held myself to really high standards, and when i couldn’t live up to them, I avoided jamming even more. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing good, I just wasn’t doing as good as I felt I should.

Sockit Wenches vs. Grave Danger 2009

Sockit Wenches vs. Grave Danger 2009

I still enjoyed jamming, but my jammer anxiety was just out of hands, and I felt like I was needed more as a blocker. And about the same time as my second home-season came to an end and I was committed to the travel team fulltime, I was never really jamming. The travel team  never practiced me jamming and I never stood up voluntarily to jam, I had turned into a blocker over the course of three months.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do love jamming, I think it is fun, and I have slowly been trying to get back into it. My current team needs me to jam, and I do it, because I have to. But I still stand on the line questioning myself, always being nervous that I will not live up to expectations. Nowadays I am in many times more effective as a blocker, I am a jammer-killer, I have awareness on the floor and can help my more rookie skaters more on the floor than with a star on my head. I can try to make out jammer look great but I have to work on my offensive blocking, I am not a whipper, but then the question is, am I a jammer??
I can score, I can pass, I do get lead jammer at times, I still hesitate to jam, and only I am the person that can remove the mental block I have for jamming… and I am working on it… but it is hard when you line up against Bonnie Thunders or Suzy Hotrod with Beyonslay or Donna Matrix in the pack, just waiting to kill, kill, kill you…

Isn’t derby just great so say!?

And I have already started my plan on how to get into better jammer shape… please follow and give me happy feed-back!

Swede Hurt Goes Fit blogspot dot com

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May 152010
 

Psycobabble at Western Regionals (photo by Jules Doyle)

I love derby so much, I love to skate, I love to hit, stop, go, run, jam, block… the whole package. I also love the women that play derby, but there are a couple of skaters where their skating, their awareness on the track and sometimes off the track just have captivated my heart and I have formed a derby crush on them. A desire to get to know them better, to skate with them, to just be someone that they want to skate with.

So I have had a few, I think my first real derby crush was on Summer Assault, I saw her play in a Rat City game and I thought she was just incredible, so at RollerCon that summer I walked up to her and told her she was amazing and that I had a derby crush on her. We ended up becoming real good friends, and I have learned a lot from her. I will unwillingly admit that my second derby crush probably was Ann R. Kissed, the woman is insane, both on and off the track, playing with and against her also taught me a lot, and I love the girl, even if she might be a little crazy. But who am I to judge crazy?? So time after time I had some mini derby crushes, Demanda Riot, Malice with Chains, Miss Fortune, Trish the Dish, Jackie Daniels, Castro and so on… yeah…

At Battle of the Bank I met Krissy Krash, and it was love first sight, and we are still heavily involved in our derby crush, I adore to skate with her, I love to skate against her, I just love to derby with her, but I have to be honest I also have a huge derby crush on Blood Clottia, I think there is something about her shy smile and awesome moves on the track. Just the way she blocks or her agility, it is very intriguing. She might also think I am insane… she might be right…

Summer jamming against Bravo, Sockit Wenches vs. DLF, Key Arena 2009 (photo by Jules Doyle)

But for all you who know me, you all know that my current and greatest derby crush is on Psychobabble from Rocky mountain, her sister is awesome and amazing in all ways, but when Psycho is on the track, I just can’t stop staring in awe at her. She is just so fantastic, I know, I know, she is just human, she paints her face like the Joker, but still, I just am in love, my crush is very serious. She skates like a maniac; she is so crazy, yet refined and precise. Her eyes twinkles when she skates and still they have a determination ‘KILL THAT JAMMER’. I probably could go on and on about how she just hit the toe stops on the right time, how she taunts the jammer, how she moves on the track like her skates were magic, but I think I probably just would start to sound silly and maybe a little stalkerish. Oh, and I just realized the other day when I was practicing that I might have a derby crush on Suzy Hotrod, but damn that girl is funny!

So who is your derby crush?

Wile and Ann R. Kissed playing Windy City (photo by Jules Doyle)

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Derby Divine

 Posted by at 12:00 pm  2 Responses »
May 142010
 

Kickass practices feel like this.

It’s 10:42 p.m., Thursday night, and I just got home from one of the best practices we’ve had in some time. I had a little smile on my face the whole ride home, driving the car I’ve borrowed from my RSRD teammate, Violet Reaction (thanks, Violet!) through the humid, murky Baton Rouge night. I played Tear for Fears’s “Shout” as loud as possible with the windows down and the hot, dark wind blowing in, and only blushed a little when I realized my stoplight partner also had his windows down and was privy to my ecstatic ‘80s nerd-out.

Best of all, the song ended the moment I parked for the night. Perfection.

And this ballad-worthy endorphin rush accurately reflects the tone of the practice I was driving home from – for two hours, I think every one of us had a good time. We laughed. We yelled more encouragement than criticism. We skated at our personal top speed when asked. We communicated more when asked. We communicated more, period. Our pivots were loud, our #4’s swept the back, our jammers juked and charged like mad. People called formations and worked in them. Sure, not everything was perfect – a lot of those packs were sloppy – but we identified things that weren’t going so great and worked on them. I think our leaders for the night – Turbo Tyke, Unholy Horror, and Sigga Please – had a lot to do with this. They each have a supportive, encouraging style, and people don’t seem to mind listening to them. But in addition to that, there was some sort of derby-magical thing happening. I’m tempted to say it was the one-minute jams that kept everyone in a good mood, but I think we were just on, and then, as a group, we recognized that we were on, and everything got, well, fun.

Keep trainin', kiddos.

Remember fun? We’re rollerskating two or three times a week with like 30 of our best friends. Wouldn’t you have just died if someone had told you, when you were about 8 or so, that you would get to do this when you grew up?

I’m grateful tonight, and not so wordy.

Tricky out.

Photo credits: TKBBBlog, Tears for Fears fanpage on Ning.

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