Some recent freelance illustrations I’ve done for some fine folks …
Some recent freelance illustrations I’ve done for some fine folks …
Recently, I had the pleasure of designing not just one, but two logos for this amazing upstart roller derby team in Florida called (awesomely enough) the Thunder City Derby Sirens. Of course, with a name like that, this Greek Myth Nerd was super excited to be a part of their branding. All hail the Sirens!!
Okay, I did it. After 3 months, I put the skates back on Sunday. (Well, if we’re being truthful, I put them on Friday and rolled around my kitchen – SHHH.) And you know what – I didn’t forget how to skate! It’s unbelievable!!
True, I was just as unwilling to turn right as I always am, but hey. I skated consistently instead of my default all-eight-wheels-on-the-ground position (which is what I do when I’m scared/tired/exhausted and need to reset). And we went around the 1.3 mile track 4 times – impressive when I think about how when I was training to try out for derby, some days I could barely go around twice. ‘Course, I was skating with a friend who just recovered from dislocating her knee and she was keeping up with me fine … and I ran into another former rollergirl who was whizzing around the track way more times, wearing way less padding … maybe I shouldn’t pat myself on the back too hard.
But – skating! Yay! Something I can still do!
I miss derby. I’ve been avoiding it a bit at the moment, mainly because I hate not being part of it and knowing that I won’t have time for it for a little while. Still … all the skating and fun and fitness and outfits and FRIENDS … I miss them so!
And yes, Smearin’ is wearing a monster bra.
Tomorrow is going to be my first bout since I decided to go on a leave of absence. It’s now been a year (almost exactly) since the first bout I was going to play in (which, then, got snowed out and I ended up playing in February instead – but shh. I’m calling it as a year!). This brings up some feelings. I really want to go to help make things happen and cheer on my team and support all the many derby peeps I’ve come to know and love. I want to make sure I stay connected so I don’t feel completely alienated, now that I’ve had to take a break from practicing.
But I just feel so sad. I was SO excited and into derby before, and it’s terrible that I can’t find time for it. I don’t want to complain, because I’m happy with all the other things going on in my life, and I feel it’s totally worth it to take a break while I work on other things this year. I honestly don’t have time to commit fully to derby, and you have to commit fully to derby. In the short time I’ve been involved, I’ve seen a bunch of ladies struggle with this – the attrition rate in derby is crazy high, and there’s a reason for it. The holy trilogy – injury, pregnancy, and – well, life.
I guess all I’m saying is – it feels really weird to be on the outskirts. It’s hard for me to see something that huge put to the sidelines. I’m worried I’ll never be able to come back.
. . . The bright side is my derby l’il sis is going to be skating in my uniform tomorrow.
I’m a fan of resolutions because I like creating “fresh starts” for myself all over the place. It’s an excuse to reinvent myself in some small way, or shake up the humdrum of my routine, or just a way to figure out how to tackle a problem I’ve been struggling with. Just like Valentine’s Day, I view New Year’s Day as an opportunity/excuse to do something fun and positive and productive. I don’t whine about the reality of whether or not resolutions “actually work”. I don’t scoff at someone I love trying to do something nice for me on Valentine’s Day because “it’s a fabricated holiday”.
So unfortunately, this year I’m already having to make some tough decisions about what I want to do, and what I have time enough to actually do. This year I’ll be working on a 2nd graphic novel and more responsibility at my day job. And since I’ve already been operating as a crazy person from having to juggle work, comic work, freelance work, derby, and derby art committee work, it came time for me to choose.
(And this is really difficult. I’m a Libra, you see.)
So after a lot of hemming and hawing and asking everyone else I knew for their opinion, then promptly ignoring their advice (as is my custom whenever debating anything), … I at last came to the conclusion that, sadly, I have to hang up my skates for the moment. This is a big, big frowny face for me. Never in my life have I taken on something as challenging and thrilling and wonderful and had to work so hard to earn a place for it in my life. But the sad truth is I can’t just skate and go to bouts. Derby requires a lot of love, hard work, participation, and perhaps most wonderfully – it asks for your help in creating it. You don’t get to just be a visitor in the land of Derby. Oh no. It loves you, but it asks a lot out of you. And if you’re not careful, you’ll let it ask for more than you can give.
So I don’t want to dwell at this for the moment, because honestly I still haven’t made any final decisions about everything (Libra). All I know is if I stay in derby, I’ll do a shitty job and will end up bitter and annoyed at every aspect of my life because I’m stretched too thin. For right now, I’m taking a break from the skating part, and helping transition other people into doing more of the committee work I’ve been doing. Ease my way to the side. And then, when I’m ready and have my act together, I can come back to derby a healthy and whole person again. Because it deserves no less.
My cat has the right idea – let’s move forward and enjoy it, okay? My resolutions are going to be gradual but ambitious. Set goals and inch towards them. Unlike the dude I saw shoving chips into his mouth while driving, talking on his cell about his new gym membership, I will be under no illusions as to what I can and can’t handle.
Omigod it really works.
A couple weeks ago, I tried an experiment: to get up and exercise each morning, pre-work. At least 30 minutes of something, be it jogging or following along with the wonderful Roller Derby exercises here. And you know what? All those crazies were right! I felt happier and more energized throughout the day. I walked through the halls with a spring in my step (okay – maybe a hobble, since jogging makes my hips sore). I woke up less tired and more motivated, and all day I patted myself on the back.
This is just one step towards being a happier Morning Monica. M. M. is the one who shuffles around in a.m. darkness, angrily snapping off overhead lights, grumbling to herself and frowning at her boyfriend and cats. She answers every question with “no”. She battles through morning rush-hour traffic and even though her commute is 45 minutes long, still isn’t prepared to be friendly to people when they try to say “good morning” to her in the parking lot. The attitude can’t be blamed on “let me get my coffee first” – no. Morning Monica is a scary, frightening creature who reacts to everything poorly until at least 9:00.
Next step? To read pretty blogs every morning before getting ready. Not just any blogs, pretty blogs. Like this one, that brings well-lit photos and inspires me to create new outfits every day. Or this one, that makes me think of ways to make my house more morning-friendly. Pretty blogs leave me with nothing but positivity on my way out the door, and so what if traffic still unravels me? I’ll have knocked out the morning with an energy boost and by looking at pretty things.
I’m a huge fan of Greek Mythology. Somewhere around the age of 11 I got a little obsessed, when we started going over the Pantheon and which god was responsible for which cool attribute. I felt like they were divvying up superpowers. Over the years I’ve read about it, taken extra college courses about it, and started a comic about it. I still get a little thrill every time I see a reference to it in the real world. (Which, in the Western world, is all the time).
So a couple weeks ago, when my family and I set out to Fort McHenry for some good ol’ fashioned history-learnin’, I was pleasantly surprised to see a giant sculpture on the front lawn of one of my old friends:
This particular one is Orpheus, son of Calliope, famed for his mastery of music and poetry (superior to all mankind). I like Orpheus, I don’t know much about him except for what he’s famous for – his death (beautifully reference in The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman). So it was funny to see him plunked down in the middle of a historical site, and then even funnier once I read his name – “Orpheus With The Awkward Foot”.
Immediately I identified with the sculpture. Not only does it appeal to my greek myth nerdiness, but with the name, and the stance of the figure itself, I instantly formed a connection. Awkwardness is embedded in my daily life. I’m not sure why, but it’s there. My limbs are so all over the place, it’s hard to keep track. Besides that, I often stand a little pigeon-toed, and on skates it’s much much worse (which is not good). I usually only get self-inflicted bruises, from banging my way around through the world. And here is this stunning, majestic, imposing figure, sculpted to signify pride and creativity in our country and its founding …. aaaand he’s just a bit awkward.