But I’ve never even had a Ho-Ho.
Indignation, shame, anger all coursed through me and flushed my cheeks. That boy radiated judgement and assumptions. I knew he was wrong … about most of it. Of course, I said nothing in my own defense. Instead, I mentally added sit-up vigor to a growing list of body-conscious issues to worry over.
Such an encounter was nothing new. As early as first grade, I towered over most of my class, including the boys. In the second grade, my girth caught up to my height. Sometime around third grade, it began to outstrip my height. Next to cute, petite little girls, I felt like Shrek with my supersized body. I became ashamed of the space I took up. I learned to suck in my breath, shrink into myself, pull in my arms and legs tight, try to occupy no more space than an average person. It was my burden to carry, along with all that extra me.
Dazed, I skated away from Schoopie on a cloud.
On the car ride home, I mulled over her words. I would probably never be fast and nimble like Lola Blow or Queefer Sutherland. With just a few words, the imaginary skater in my head was hip-checked right off the track. Another skater was forming in her place. She uses her ass like a weapon, harnesses her mass and strength for offense and defense. She may not zip through tight spaces between skaters, but she makes her own holes on the track. This skater holds her own valuable place on the team.
So what if my ass knocked things off shelves in a store? It could OWN a bitch out on the track. So it took me ages to track down a pair of jeans with enough fabric to cover that juicy butt. Nobody was getting past it on the track. So what if I towered above the rest of the pack like a giant? I could get loooow. And then? Good luck knocking me down.
Through derby, I stumbled on the most honest relationship with my body I’ve ever had. The transformation was huge, but I didn’t understand it fully until a Derby Lite student told me a story about one of my classes.
“You said something like, ‘with all this mass, I was meant to be a blocker.’ You just owned your body … all of it. It was like you realized the beauty and power in your own body, regardless of its size. It was so inspirational and empowering.”
I remember that moment and several others like it. There was no shame in my body, no apology or vain efforts to make it what it wasn’t. There was only truth and acceptance.
That student was more right than she knew. It was beautiful.
It was a goddamn miracle.