I love driving, my sister thinks I’m nuts and it’s true, I’m nuts about driving, long distance especially. One thing I really enjoy about driving is going over the same route year after year and seeing it with new eyes, discovering details I hadn’t noticed before. This past weekend I combined the love I have for driving and for roller derby, I drove to Vancouver for the playoffs. As I was rolling along on the Coquihalla between Kamloops and Hope, it occurred to me that I am filled with so much joy every time I get to that stretch of the road, doesn’t matter what season of the year it is, if I’m going west on Highway 5 I know I’m going the right way. Those 186km are magical, not just because of the high peaks and the beautiful valley below but also because it reminds me that I may be trapped in an envelope of flesh but just like the mountains surrounding me, I am divine and powerful.
Friday as I got to my destination, I parked my awesome Fit (less than $70 to do YYC to YVR) and I wandered around, happy and relaxed.
I closed my eyes and let my other senses take over.
That’s how it starts, the thrill of the new environment. The air is filled with infinitesimal ocean mist and as I breathe it in, it washes away the Alberta dust.
Walking around aimlessly, going wherever I feel like, letting my eyes catch the next interesting thing to see and explore, like a child chasing a butterfly, taking it in, letting my spirit connect with the energy surrounding me.
I have spent many years being closed off and afraid of everything around me, these feelings they may seem ordinary to some, but they are extraordinary to me and sharing them is no small task. I feel proud that I’m able to open up and share, it’s a lot cheaper than therapy!
This Sunday was also a magic moment for me, I saw high caliber roller derby, teams I have only seen play online. Women, strong and agile, fierce and looking ahead to a common goal. The raw power displayed was such an inspiration for me to push through and keep practicing my skills. The energy of the crowd was also quite an event but I struggled with my sense of belonging and feeling alone surrounded by so many people. I know derby is very inclusive and when people get to know you, you become family but no one knows me, they have no reason to, I’ve not played, I’m just a small pebble that has just landed in a new pond. I tried, awkwardly, to talk to a few peeps sitting beside me but I’m socially inept at times and feeling the clique wondering who I was compounded those feelings into shutting me up. Nevertheless, I believe my passion (or is it an addiction?) to roller derby has deepened a thousand folds just from sitting through five bouts in a day.
I am now absolutely ready to drive again, on many different highways, some old, some new, just so I can witness the voodoo of eight wheels gliding over a smooth surface.
*Kw’ikw’iya:la (Coquihalla) in the Halq’emeylem language of the Stó:lō, is a place name meaning “stingy container”. It refers specifically to a fishing rock near the mouth of what is now known as the Coquihalla River. This rock is a good platform for spearing salmon. According to Stó:lō oral history, the skw’exweq (water babies, underwater people) who inhabit a pool close by the rock, would swim out and pull the salmon off the spears, allowing only certain fisherman to catch the salmon.