Friday, 29 March 2013

Jamming: Comfort zones and blocking zones

I loved the scene in Girls where Hannah went for a job at an advertising agency. The lady who interviewed her went into thorough detail about their wall art as though it was some very complex threorum that a normal person wouldn't be able to get their head around. The piece looked something like this:
Girls' comfort zones
I'd say that everyone gets this idea, even Hannah couldn't seem to understand why the lady thought it was such a hard concept to grasp. It's whether or not you have the energy to take the first step out of your comfort zone which makes the idea viable or not.

There are hundreds of moments in my life where I've feel totally out of my depth. Whether it's during an argument or a first day of work. Nothing ever feels magical about those situations.

I guess the biggest leap I took away from my comfort zone was moving to Korea, that was terrifying. But a year later and I have an amazing group of friends that I could easily see myself hanging around with, even if I were back in England. In that sense, I've built another comfort zone away from my original nest. Therefore, to 'make the magic happen' again, do I have to move away again? And what happens when I get comfortable there? It'd be like a dog chasing it's tail around the globe, I'd never be able to settle. But I don't think you have to build up millions of air miles to get away from your safety net.

And now to the point, getting away from what I'm comfortable with doesn't have to mean a trek to another country or a big overdraft. The one time I can guarantee that I do not feel in the slightest bit comfortable is when I'm jamming in roller derby. My hips were made for blocking and this 5 ft 11 body of mine was not made for moving at high speed for long periods of time (i know it's only 2 minutes maximum!). I feel comfortable in a pack, I like being the one that my jammer can feel safe around, I like seeing how I can help her and I like the feel of having my team mates right next to me.

As soon as I put the jammer panty over my helmet I start to feel sick, my legs start to shake, and this is just at practice, not to mention the public games. In my head I start to panic; what if I fall over before i even cross the line? What if I can't get through the first back wall of the pack? What if they keep knocking me over and I have to get up again and again? What if the other jammer laps me?

To avoid that horrible scenario, I've noticed I always kind of let the other jammer go ahead, let her take the brunt of the pack formation, let her break it up and then I can hit it when hopefully they're more distracted.

I also try to do ANYTHING to actually get through the pack. Pushing, tugging, must of the time it is only my team mates, but other times it's the other team I'm holding onto. It's ugly desperation to not let the team down that makes me do it. But every time, the whistle's blown and I'm sent off.

Many a time I've been sent off as a jammer, and sit there in the penalty box, mad at myself that I'm letting the team down as I sit there and our score grinds to a halt. The pressure I put on myself. The team would much rather see me keep trying, being knocked over and picking myself back up again, instead of being redundant in a box.

The sense of elation once I break through the pack is one of the best feelings in the world, but that is fleeting when I realise that I have to dash around the track and face the pack all over again.

So, that's me working outside of my comfort zone, every time someone asks me to jam. But it's dawned on me that it's the position that I learn the most from. It's a time I get to focus on my own skill, I know I need to tidy up my stops and my footwork.  What more motivation for self improvement do you need than a whole team of people depending on you?

I've also learned that when it's the challenge of the jam vs. the skill I have to offer, no one sees me as the underdog more than myself. A terrible negative mindset that hinders rather than helps. This is something I'm working on.

When I'm on the track, behind the jammer line, metres away from the comfort of the pack, there's no Expecto Patronum style magic going on, but at the same time, if I can work towards putting on that jammer panty and having some confidence in my self, then that would work a charm. I can't wait for that day!

And even if I don't learn anything more from the times I feel uncomfortable, or I only achieve the Paul Daniels kind of magic, then at least I can look out from my comfy zone and know that I gave it a good shot.

I think I'm long overdue a roller derby post on here, and now that I've started skating a bit more, I can feel the love for it coming back to me! You can see more about me and my thoughts on roller derby here.

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