Christina Sparkle

Change is hard

So it seems that when shit is going on I can’t write. I can’t find the time, I can’t find the words. I just stand and stare. Change is happening all around me right now; at work, at home, at roller derby. I thought instincts were supposed to kick in to fight or flight mode. Well, I’m definitely not fighting so this must be flighting, but it just feels like standing and staring mode. Staring as everything falls down around me, and not helping, perhaps even making it worse.

What I have been doing when not writing is reading. I’ve been reading a lot of Penelope Trunk. How to be successful, what I should be focusing on at this point in my life and how important it is to homeschool my children. Penelope puts a really high focus on Myers Briggs and I’ve discovered I’m ENFJ. Apparently ENFJ mothers struggle the most because they are ambitious and very committed, very committed to work and very committed to their children, simultaneously. NIGHTMARE. But no need to worry about that quite yet.

Anyway, all this insight has helped shed some light on my experiences with roller derby too. I’ve been ambitious as to where we could take things, what we could achieve and how we could do that. And, I’ve been highly committed, even when I had lost the ability and the love for the main function of the league, i.e. the skating.

A few weeks before our wedding things were getting tense at the dollies, people were feeling unappreciated and complaining to each other and I got wind of a group who were planning to meet and discuss whether to form a break away team. My unhappiness was so obvious that I was invited to the meeting too.

I sat on that knowledge for a few weeks, toiling over in my mind as to what to do. I knew a break away team would be even more work than the one we had. But I would be lying if I didn’t understand the frustrations that others were feeling. That seems ridiculous now when previously, as a league director, I had a lot of control over the running of the league but I’d given that up.

I emailed others that I know who have formed break away leagues and even they admitted breaking away is very rarely good plan – recruitment becomes even harder, venues even more difficult to book and resources are stretched further.

After we got back from Berlin it came to the day the meeting was scheduled and I decided that out of respect to my ex-co-directors I needed to warn them that I was planning to attend the meeting (here displays my commitment) and that I hoped the outcome of the meeting would be to list a set of requests and changes to improve things in the league. I hoped that the group would then wait for the directors to reply before then deciding whether to explore other options (how’s that for ambitious?).

As it happened the meeting was cancelled anyway.

Based on what I had said the directors called an emergency league meeting to try and understand and rectify any unhappiness within the league. There was much confusion amongst the league members as to why an emergency meeting was required and rather than explain this on the forum it was explained at the evenings practice. Unfortunately, my name was also mentioned as the informant.

The league meeting seemed to be very successful, everyone had their say and lots of grievances were highlighted and documented. The conversation continued on the forum with topics created to allow everyone to voice their concerns and suggest improvements. Lists of tasks and owners have since been generated to take that feedback and ensure the situation is turned into a positive.

My name being mentioned however meant that the friendship I had with the person who had invited me to the meeting, who thought I could be trusted with the secret, was shattered. Only when I explained my side, that I felt I owed it to my co-directors, that if I had still been director I would have wanted some warning, only then did I gain some understanding. I have been able to build on that and maintain that friendship, but still I am the person who betrayed the confidence, and that probably will never go away.

I had risked some of my closest friendships out of respect of my co-directors and that respect was not returned.

Over the following days and weeks more came out about the group, people came forward to admit they were involved and names were named. Despite that fact that I didn’t point the finger at anyone, and I hadn’t given any details, except that I’d been invited to the meeting, I was viewed as the informant of it all.

This caused tension between me and others in the league, tension that I had not noticed at first but when I tried to talk to some of my oldest derby friends and was told that they didn’t want to talk to me because I had named them as being involved, that is when I snapped. I explained that in fact that I had not named anyone, I had given no more details except that I had been invited to a meeting.

Of course by this point the trust amongst friends was wrecked, no one knew who to believe, who they could really trust.

I am a strong believer in making choices and sticking with them, no matter the consequences. I can fully understand if someone dislikes me for the actions I take, but I cannot stand the thought that someone would dislike me for something I did not do.

At this point I felt no other choice but to share the conversation where I had informed my ex-co-director, so that it was clear exactly what I did and didn’t say.

Sharing that conversation was a massive decision and it has proved to have massive consequences. It seems I’ve burned any bridges that meant I could still help out with the dollies and there are even some who don’t want to talk to me again. But I respect that choice, I made those tough decisions and these are the consequences which I must accept.

Today, I have stopped most of my involvement in the league; I definitely don’t skate, I attend some socials and if asked for help then I willingly help. All of this pulls at my committed side, I want so badly to see the league succeed in everything that they do. But now I’m focusing on my ambitions in other areas.

Perhaps I did the right thing, at times along the way it sure didn’t feel like it. It seems I’ve caused so much heartache I almost wish I had kept my mouth shut, but then that has always been my problem. And, what if I had? Would we be better off? Who knows?

One thing I do know, change is hard.

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