I dreamed of roller derby last night. When I woke up, I remembered that that is not my life, and I cried and sobbed and howled on Mary’s chest.
I did not even dream of skating. My mind somehow remembers that much when I sleep. I was simply at a venue, waiting for the teams to arrive. Watching the groups of women show up in their uniforms, with duffle bags of gear over their shoulders. One team, of course, was mine. In my dream, a friend of mine who also has been recovering from a brain injury was there, in a uniform, ready to compete (she has never played roller derby in real life). We talked, and I told her that I had promised Mary that I would not think of doing anything with roller derby through the end of the year… but, a new year was just a week or so away. Maybe I could coach the team. Slowly reintegrate.
A mild dream, as dreams go. And I woke with my heart knowing that maybe it was time for me to start coaching roller derby. But then my conscious mind looked at that dream, at that thought, and reminded myself that it was not true. It is simply not true. I think it is that disappointment – believing then waking to find something I want to be true is not – that is why I cry today.
Dude. For those of you who do not know – roller derby is a commitment. Coaching is a lot of commitment without the skating or hitting. It is amazing how much conversation and drama several dozen women can create about something they all value deeply. The rules have changed twice since I have been gone so I would need to relearn them. Plus, to coach one needs to keep up on strategies, watch derby, connect, read, learn, give feedback. Did I mention all of this responsibility and effort without being able to hit others on the track? No hitting nor having the satisfaction of others falling. Something vital to me that is missing when I am not on the track.
I am not able to work full time, and if this break is any indication, I am not able to work much part time either. I have carefully edited derby drama, communication, thoughts, needs, strategy out of my mind and my life – there is no space for such things in my head right now, no extra to spend on non-essentials.
Yet I miss it. And it hurts. And even for one brief moment thinking that I could get involved with derby – even if that brief moment is in a dream – it is like losing my life all over again.
I have not dreamed of derby for most of my recovery. Just like watching women get slammed around on the track elicits a visceral knowledge that I am not up for that yet, my mind has known I have nothing to give to derby, so I have not even dreamed of that possibility. To be all fucking positive, I take it as a sign of progress and healing that I am dreaming that I could get involved in derby again. A sign that maybe sometime soon – in June, July? – I could fill a useful roll in a sport I love so much.