Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've always been of the mindset that you only have one life, so live it to your fullest enjoyment.  Furthermore, I believe that anyone can accomplish anything they set their mind to as long as they are willing to put in the work.  I have a lot of people that come to me for advice, which I'm happy to give, but I really feel like its as simple as the diagram below.

The diagram seems pretty self explanatory, but we as people in today's peer pressured, guilt tripped, haterade society, we sometimes have issues seeing "the forest thru the trees," towards making actual, positive change in our lives. 

So, here's my attempt at trying to break the process of positive change down into manageable, eye opening steps.  I hope any of you looking for some positive change find it helpful.

Before you start, remember that this exercise is for YOU.  Be completely honest with yourself when answering these questions.  Focus on you and your desires without letting how you think other's will react or feel about your thoughts get in the way.  Don't get ahead of the process by worrying about the next step or trying to figure everything out, just answer the specific questions one at a time.  Allow yourself to green light brainstorm, sky's the limit! 

This is a step purely to build confidence for the mentally taxing steps ahead.  What do you have in your life that you enjoy?  That you can be proud of?  That makes you happy, confident or unique?

For #2 thru #5 - Make a table w/four columns labeled CHANGE (#2), OBSTACLE(#3), OVERCOME (#4) & PLAN (#5).  The number of rows depends on how many answers you come up with in #2.

What do you think that, if it were different, you'd be happier?  Remember, don't hold back!! 

There is very little in life that you can't accomplish if you're willing to put in the work, so be honest about what's truly keeping you from making your life as happy as possible.

Really think "outside the box" on how you can move forward with these changes you desire.
"So often we live our lives in chains, never knowing we have the key." ~ Don Henley


You've already built the framework for your plan by answering the previous questions, now you need to strengthen the framework by developing a solid plan. 
For example, maybe it was your finances that were in your way, now you must develop a savings plan.  Maybe it was other people's attitudes holding you back, setup a plan for how you are going to communicate to the person(s) and how you will move forward with or without their support. 

You can make any change you want to make, you just have to lay the framework, develop a solid plan and then FOLLOW THRU!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gwen's Exodus: The Time Has Come!

To talk of OTHER things.......

Since mid 2007 the talk has been of derby, derby, derby.......

.....with it having an ever increasing presence in my life. 

I learned about roller derby and it's comeback from watching the A&E "reality" show, Rollergirls.  Then I learned that we had roller derby in Phoenix via the events listing on  And then, drum roll please, I saw the TRYOUTS flier in the program!!!

I fell in love with watching a sport.  Then being a fan of an AZ league.  And, ultimately, playing the sport myself, helping to run a league/team and being a part of an ever growing community of people all intertwined due to their love of this unique sport.

I've been part of a league that had a very grass roots beginning with a punk rock, "we just wanna have fun," mindset.  The league has since grown to a highly respected organization that puts on professional bouts with competitive and athletic members.  It's been an amazing adventure and I'm sooo lucky and proud to have been a part of it!  I've had roles in management, event planning, bout production, co captaining a team, etc.  It definitely takes a village and any hand is a helping one!

The time commitment related to roller derby is no joke.  There are practices, events, meetings, games, track builds, fundraisers, photo shoots, team dinners, and more!  These all require time away from kids, work, family, nonderby friends and nonderby events.  And as a league grows, so does the time commitment.

Being a half time, single mom (the ex and I have joint custody) trying to keep up with the time commitment and the increasingly competitive nature of the sport, has been extremely taxing, to say the least.  I'm constantly trying to balance the two most important things in my life (kids & derby).  In the end, it leaves me feeling as though neither is getting my full 100%.  

I've come to the conclusion that as the sport excels and becomes more and more competitive, there's no longer a place for skaters like me.  I don't mean this in a harsh way.  I'm soo happy to see the sport excell and get international recognition.  It's what we've been working towards!  I'd say though, that with my time commitment issues, I'm more of a "hobby level skater."  I'm not in this to live, eat, sleep and breathe roller derby.  There are plenty of girls that do and I have sooo much respect for them, to the point where I'm in awe of their commitment level.  It's just not something I literally can do, nor would I probably want to do.  I'm more of a jack of all trades gal.  I like to have my hands in many things at once.  I like to do different activities throughout my week.  To each her own, right? 

Also, derby can be an emotional roller coaster at times. 

You are not only dealing with 100 plus women, you are dealing with passionate people who all care very much about the sport, the league and it's business.  Don't get me wrong, my league has done a great job of becoming a well oiled machine that normally works out issues in a fair and respectful way, but the strain of the situations is still there and there are other smaller things that happen at the skater and/or team level.  Plus, we are a huge family, a community even, there are lots of interpersonal relationships that have their own ups and downs only related to derby by proxy.

Season 6, my fifth season, has been the most tumultuous season of roller derby that I've experienced.

Derby is like motherhood, extremely hard work that is uber rewarding and something that you can love even when it pisses you off! Lol.

I don't intend to go into detail, sorry to disappoint any gossip lovers.  Let's just say, I've had some heartbreaking situations within the past year, related to derby, but I've made my personal peace with those situations.  I'm not one to hold a grudge and I'm extremely forgiving of people due to the fact that I understand that not everyone sees the world the same way and that can cause resentment, confusion, jealousy, miscommunication, etc. 

On the other hand, the ups have been so amazing that I'm not sure that they could be beat!!!  Things have happened this season that will stay with me for the rest of my life!!!  And I thank everyone who had a hand in those moments!! 

I hate to call it leave or quit or any of those potentially negative terms.  I will always be a fan of roller derby.  I will always love my league and my league mates.  The friends I've made in derby will last a lifetime.  I just don't see a place for me on the track at this time.