Community in general is something that I struggle with. In high school it wasn't that difficult because you see the same people everyday and are a bit forced to mingle (something for the introvert in me that was really nice to have!). In college I had a lot of male friends and very few girl friends. I didn't know how to relate. As I've gotten older, I've realized the importance of having the female presence around. I still find it difficult to relate to a lot of women. As my counselor would say, I'm still learning to be the ME that I was never allowed to be while growing up (more to come as I develop ME). However, there is one group of women that I'm relating to more and more and that's the Apple City Roller Derby girls, in particular, the FRESH MEAT. Fresh Meat is exactly as it sounds. We're the Fresh Meat of the league, skating our little hearts out to be on one of the coveted league teams: The Hydro Elektras, Black Label Barbies, and the Jawbreakers.
I've been skating with the Fresh Meat team since June, but have had very few practices due to business trips. But whenever I was gone, the other Fresh Meat checked in with me. At practices, there is a bond that I haven't experienced in a long time. I enjoy the workouts, the encouragement, and the community that this group of ladies (and men...the refs and coaches) bring to the POD (Pit of Despair). There have been times that I feel like I can't skate another lap, but they keep you going. They want you to learn and have fun. The best thing about this particular community of derby is that you can go anywhere and contact the local derby leagues to hangout with them. They truly know how to share in community.
In my own experiences, this has been the only community that I've seen that is very accepting. It doesn't matter your race, sex, sexual orientation, body type, creed, political stance, etc. You are ACCEPTED. It breaks my heart to see my fellow Christians judge others so harshly. I know I'm not perfect, nor do I claim to be. And I know they're not either. I have many struggles in my life, but it pains me that there are very few people, Christians in particular, that I could share these struggles with for fear of losing whatever community I have with them. I want to be ME. Is this selfishness? I don't think so. I think that I'm trying to be the person that God has always intended for me to be, but fear has squashed ME to become what I think others want me to be. What breaks my heart even more is that I'm still trying to learn to be ME with my own family; my own blood. But that's where God comes in to help me overcome these fears. He has helped me to seek out community where I can learn to ME. And derby has been such a blessing and a kick ass workout. So thank you Jesus for giving me the courage to sign up. Thank you Apple City Roller Derby for having a great environment for community. And thank you to my dear, near and loving friends who let me be ME...always.