He was talking about how and when people find their identities and how can you reconcile having more than one? He said most people have many identities – the one their family gave them that is filled with their heritage and genetics; how others are found in their adolescents and teens because of who influences you or when you really start to know who you truly are and how sometimes that all changes as you grow and learn. That got me to thinking.
I have always been a little sister – the only girl in my family, the one who had older brothers my “friends” wanted to date and the one coaches wanted – no expected – to be in to sports because “all the Pedro boys play sports, so you have to too”. Teachers who expected me to be good at school because my oldest brother was; or artistic like another one was; or funny; or a hundred other things. I remember my mom arguing with a teacher after he pointed out many of my shortcomings in math and in general and how he couldn’t believe how unlike the Pedro boys I was and she responded, “well, in case you haven’t noticed, she is a girl!” I knew at that moment my mom would always be ok with who I was and accept me for me. Then when I got older and moved away from my family, I slowly realized the people I was meeting did not have expectations of me and I could be who I wanted to be. Problem was I didn’t know who that was. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was – hell, I still do! I have had so many moments in my life when I can’t believe I am where I am and have wondered how this all happened. How I got here and where I’m going and why I don’t have it all figured out yet! Wondering how the hell I’m considered an ‘expert’ in things at work and why people ask me my opinion or even listen to what I say. Probably all signs of insecurity that I don’t usually share with friends and here I am writing about it in a blog that will be read by others. I guess one of my biggest problems is I don’t feel my age – a lot of times I still feel like that high school kid trying to figure out which big brother I’m supposed to be like and how I’m going to live up to it all.
But then, there are other moments… moments like Saturday night. When the world feels like it’s in perfect alignment. Like I’ve got it all together and figured out. I knew that night that roller derby brought my life into better focus that I ever expected to find. It’s hard to explain, but being crammed into a small room with officials that I respect and admire after 2 intense bouts was surreal to say the least. I thought how being an official was not my plan for derby but in the last few weeks it has occurred to me that it is truly where I am supposed to be.
Right near the end of the second bout that night, everything slowed down, almost freezing and I felt like I had tunnel vision. At first I thought I was about to blackout – but then I realized, it was a moment I wanted to remember. It wasn’t anything spectacularly special which confused me – it was just a moment. But in that moment I realized that the work has been worth it. Officials are not the center of attention and don’t get glory. And for me, that’s ok. The work is hard. The hours are long. And the appreciation isn’t always there. Kinda sounds like being a parent, doesn’t it? And I’m ok with that too.
My identities are many… I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m an employee, I’m a friend, I’m an official, I’m a leader, I’m a follower, I’m a salesman and I’m a mom. And some days I think I’m not enough. Others day I think of all the titles I hope I will gain some day. But that night – that night for that one moment in time when I was standing in the middle of the rink, watching teams move on and off the track and officials getting into position and glancing up at the scoreboard… it just all seemed so right, so perfect. At that moment it just made me wish it would all never end. It made me think how good it all was. It made me think that being there, in the middle is right where I want to be.
~ Boo D. Bloxx