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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Proof Positive

This blog is proof positive of two things. One: I’m clinically insane. Two: I was born to skate.

Let me start at the beginning. I just got home from a trip to LA. I’ve been traveling a lot in the past two weeks and my whole life has been up in the air. I’ve been super stressed out and it all came to a head on the 5 hour drive home. I just had no patience left and I was running on about 2 hours of sleep and I just erupted in a crazy yelling crying tantrum while I was driving up the I-5. I knew I was being nuts. I just was at the end of my rope and I was really sick of being in the car.

When I got home, I literally collapsed on the kitchen floor in a fit of exhaustion, and I think I actually cried a little more. I was just so relieved to be done driving and home and it was like my body finally gave out. I lay helpless on the floor while my mom asked me if I wanted some dinner. Jokingly I said, “ya sure, but only if you can feed it to me intravenously, I’m too tired to eat.”

I told my parents I was too spent to talk about my trip and I just needed an hour to decompress. I began telling my parents about how during my moment of impatience on the road, I began yelling at a conservative radio host who had said something to the effect of “every person between the age of 18 and 30 thinks they’re just going to make it easy and get their own reality show or something. It’s scary.”

I went ape shit.

My dad says stuff like this all the time. I am so sick of the older generation scoffing and belittling and saying things about our generation not being able to get our act together, when it was THEIR generation who did not leave us with the tools we need to fix it. Excuse me old man, YOU think it’s scary!?? You’re gonna die before it get’s real bad. Meanwhile I have NO FUCKING CLUE how I’m going to retire, LET ALONE ever have a shot at affording health insurance. You think YOU’RE fucking scared? Screw you.

These old people want to bitch about MY generation and have no fucking solutions to offer while they were the ones who screwed everything up in the first place. It’s like, everyone thinks they’re going to have kids, then the young people are going to be innovative and shit, and make new technology and shit, and then everything will be just fine. It’s like they think, “I don’t need to fix anything. I’ll just make a baby. And then I dunno, my baby will figure it out.” People think if they just teach THEIR OWN kids to think like them, that their own kid will grow up and save the fucking planet or something, while they talk shit about every other poor stupid fuck that can’t stop playing video games in their parents’ basement. Shut your fucking mouth or offer a solution.

Anyway. I wanted to say all that. But before I could my dad had to interrupt and explain to me why the radio guy was right and why my generation has it better than any other generation and how we’re all just spoiled brats who need to get our heads out of the clouds and stop watching reality TV.


First of all, it becomes infinitely more offensive when the person holding said opinion is not some asshole on the radio, but your dad. Plus, the stress I’ve been experiencing over the last two weeks has been purely about trying to soul search and find a life path and discover what I wanted to do, all the while struggling to make use of my college degree, which seems obsolete since the “crash” happened. Not to mention, I came into the house and collapsed on the floor and had explained that I needed some time to decompress because I was stressed the fuck out.

So I couldn’t take what he was saying. I was infuriated. I picked up a handful of mashed potatoes and rubbed them all over my face while yelling wildly. I’m not sure why exactly I did this, except that I can say right before I did it, my eyes scanned the table while having a thought similar to, “I wonder what the craziest thing I can do right now is.” Then I think I knocked some other stuff on the table over. Some more yelling ensued, and I smashed the butter with my fist.


So that was the first confirmation of something I already knew: I’m crazy. The fact that I was born to skate however, (that I was ACTUALLY put on this planet just to roll around), has slowly been creeping into my consciousness as a personal truth that I am finally beginning to let myself accept and embrace. Growing up I was a band kid. And since I lived in an affluent, upper middle class community, music in our schools hadn’t been cut and I actually got a really quality music education. Clifford Brown the famous jazz trumpeter’s grandson actually transferred to our school for our music program. I don’t know if that means anything to anyone, but we were pretty good and a lot of my childhood friends are established professional musicians in SF, LA and NY.

Growing up around that, you are exposed to incredible artistic talent in very young bodies. It’s always surprising to meet a 15 year old with perfect pitch. Robbie Koenig could actually SING a chord. (That’s right, he could sing two notes at once!). Circular breathing just came natural for some kids. I remember sitting at the lunch table once and catching my friend Phil running scales on a pencil, holding it like it was a trumpet. There were the naturally inclined prodigies, and then there were kids like me: ones who tried and loved it and practiced and made friends, but deep down we knew the truth: we weren’t like them. We’d never be professional musicians.

But that didn’t stop my mom from trying. That didn’t stop my mom from wanting to believe I could be one of those kids too. (Hey, plenty of parents do this with sports. They become convinced their kid has a shot at being recruited for some college team when it’s been clear since the kid was 5 they exhibited no special talent whatsoever). But that’s the beauty of parents; their unwavering support.

In the same vain, sometimes my mom would talk me up as a musician and make me out to be something I wasn’t. (You know how moms are). She’d say, “Oh Lauren, she just LOOOVES to play her flute. I think she NEEDS it. You know how some people just NEED to do things in life? Well, she has a passion for it, she has a PHSYICAL NEED to play her flute. When she can’t play it, she misses it.”

And my cheeks would flush and I would get embarrassed, but I would never ARGUE with her that it wasn’t true. Because in all honesty, I WANTED it to be true. I knew deep down that it wasn’t, but I was young and I guess I hoped that maybe I didn’t know yet. Maybe I wasn’t sure yet if I loved the flute so much I couldn’t live without it. I thought loving the flute and NEEDING to play it could grow on me. I played my flute all through college. But in hindsight, I realize I stayed with band for as long as I did because I knew that when I no longer had it- exactly what DID happen WOULD. And that is- I stopped playing my flute. Do you know why? Because I don’t have a “physical NEED” to play it.

But I can’t live without skating. I hear a song I like and my body WANTS TO BE ON WHEELS. If I smoke weed at midnight I end up cursing myself because it gets my body and muscles so excited I become angry and disappointed I’ve got nowhere to roll around in the wee hours of the night. I have always been this way, and I have always skated around by myself. One time in 5th grade I actually had to tell my teacher that I FORGOT to do my homework because I went straight home and rollerbladed all afternoon. She did not believe me though because it had RAINED the previous afternoon. But I vividly remember rollerblading around all day after school in a sweatshirt with an umbrella. (And yes, I’ve always been such an honest kid that I actually told my teacher I didn’t do my homework because I played instead. One time in High School my mom asked me what a lighter was doing in the car and I said me and my friends used it to smoke pot).

Last night I had completed two days of training at a new job, and then spent the evening wandering around Hollywood. When I got back to my hotel at midnight my body was so fatigued I could barely move. For some reason as I entered my room, the thought occurred to me, “I wonder if I could skate right now if I had to. Geeze, I’d probably be spent.” But not a moment later the thought was followed by, “But ya! I’d probably get my second wind!” It was as if I was so tired, skating could still possibly rejuvenate me.

I often challenge myself to thoughts like this. In towns where the pedestrian street signs count down the remaining seconds you have to cross I see it as a challenge. (I have even dreamed of racing back and forth in the street to see how many crosswalk laps I could do in the allotted time. I’m actually surprised I haven’t done this). I also try to track my speed on street radar signs and every night at the rink when they announce it’s the last song, I like to pretend it’s the last jam of a really important game and winning or losing all rides on me. Even though I’m usually already tired from a whole session of skating, I give it my all, just cause it feels like a challenge.

I was never like that with music. I never wanted to rush home to practice scales or challenge myself to do something. But I’m constantly looking to excel at skating and if I can’t do it for some reason, it really does feel like torture to me. I’ve said before, I’m addicted to skating. (And could there be anything better to be addicted to? I mean, really.) Right now I’m trying to learn jumps. When I was a kid I stopped short of learning all that cool stuff with my brother and his friends when I broke my arm trying to grind. But now the time has come to conquer that fear.

Anyway, driving home today, I had a crying fit. I got home and collapsed on the floor. I even thought to myself a couple times along the way, “Man, the crazy in me would probably want to go to the rink tonight. But that’s nuts! I’d probably suck! And I need to recuperate. I need sleep, my feet should heal a little…” I say all these things to myself to try and convince me what I think a reasonable person would do, and that is to rest. But a reasonable person wouldn’t come home and rub mashed potatoes all over their face either.

I ran from the dinner table sobbing and sat in the shower and realized immediately I NEEDED TO SKATE. It didn’t MATTER how tired I was, or how shitty I would probably be. It’s the only way I know how to unwind. It’s the only way I know how to smile without ceasing. It’s the only way I truly 100% just love life. As active and physically tiring as skating is, it’s what I NEED to relax. It’s what I love, it’s what I’m good at.


(I’ve kind of said before that I thought I was put on this planet to spread the roller derby gospel, but this was more about realizing that the whole “physical need” hobby I searched for in music as a kid, I’ve always had on wheels.)

1 comment:

  1. HAHAHAHA! Look how many times I use the word "just"