Leaving Leon, at least for the weekend

Leon, Mexico to Portland, Oregon and back

Zero Miles ridden

I spent the days after Moto Fiesta doing some coaching with the skaters of Leon Roller derby and spending as much time as I could with Montserrat. Cat and I were talking and while she was apprehensive of my attraction, she was also understanding of my emotions and our continued commitment to talking about things as they happened. While we were not in an open relationship, she was willing to let me continue to spend lots of time with her despite my growing feelings.

While my plans had been to depart Leon on Wednesday morning, I was invited to come to Champs and do some writing for Derby Central as well as work with the amazing folks at Mota skates in their booth.  It was all really spawned by a simple message from Stephen “Rollomite” Carter asking if I was coming.  I didn’t really have a good reason not to come and wanted to see my friends so I made arrangements and set out on a course to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, WFTDA, World Championships in Portland, OR. This meant that I would be staying in Leon till my departure and again for a day or two when I returned.

The days were spent relaxing and watching movies with Montserrat and both of us working on our respective projects.  Me for Expedition Recovery and her for her jersey company. The time flew by and was remarkably easy. We talked and worked side by side like we had known each other for years. Most nights we went out to eat or for me to coach Leon Roller derby as well as a small group of skaters who were getting ready to tryout for Team Mexico Women’s Roller Derby.

During the week I felt inspired by a fellow veteran and roller derby skater to stop doing things with who I am for what others will think about them. It took her a bit of convincing that it was really what I wanted, but Montserrat did finally help me cut my hair to better represent who I am inside and in my heart.

On departure day, an early morning Uber took me the 45 minutes to the airport and then it was off on my way to Portland with a few stops along the way. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay with the same good friends in their home along with a few visiting Alaska skaters who had made the trip down. Arriving at the airport meant linking up and all taking the monorail down to the house. It was a great reunion, and this time no decapitated bunnies to great me….

The early part of the weekend was dominated by the rush of tournament weekends.  Since I was both recapping for Derby Central and working the Mota Skates booth, there was lots of set-up to be done and familiarizing myself with the venue. It was a large venue and Rose City had done amazing work to make the event into a really professionally run weekend.  The addition of ESPN to the mix was even carried out rather flawlessly from an outside perspective.   

The derby was spectacular with Rose City managing to take the top spot over Gotham for a second year in a row.  While I only worked a few recaps, I continue to enjoy the process and learned a lot from the three editors who I worked with over the weekend.  My recaps can be found here:

While my writing was limited, I spent a large amount of time working the Mota booth fitting and selling skates.  In addition to Luz Chaos, and Doug and Julie Glass, I also got to work with U’rkn Martin for the weekend.  She was a ton of fun and the time seemed to fly by despite the long hours.

I found I was hard pressed not to spend a lot of my free time flirting with a beautiful and amazing women I had met earlier in the trip and tried to not notice her as much as I could.  It was a losing battle but I was feeling very conflicted with myself over my growing feelings for Montserrat, my continued attraction to this amazing women, and my love for Cat. Thankfully the weekend was full enough that I wasn’t left with too much time to dwell on it. 

The weekend allowed me to see some great friends, like Carter who had started the ball rolling on me showing up, Tony Muse, Erin Go Brawl, Miracle Whips, and my original derby crush Suzy Hotrod.  I also was able to see many of my favorite people from Alaska who had come down and a few who had moved away.  Titan Young, who had started with the Fairbanks Rollergirls before moving to the Juneau Rollergirls and then to the Sitka Sound Slayers, agreed to come on board as the second shop sponsored skater for me at Mota Alaska.  It was great to have her join and she even jumped in at the booth helping when we got slammed in the mad rush between games. 


Van Essa “V-Diva” Sites was on fire all weekend and I was so glad to get to have a wonderful dinner with her during the weekend and get to catch up on all the happenings in her life and her change from Philly to Gotham this season.  No inside baseball, but she is an amazing human being and there is a lot going on there that the public doesn't see. 

Following the championship game I had dinner at a great little taco place with all the Alaskans.  While we hadn’t planned on meeting up, we all just ended up their anyway. It was really nice to see so many of Alaska’s amazing derby community, past and present, come down to champs.

After dinner I chose to go out to the after party. I only intended to stay for a little bit but one thing led to another and I ended up playing a bit of bashful party hide and seek with my crush. What had been a spark over shared interests and turned to a touch of booth flirting became buying a few drinks, dancing, and ultimately having a bit of a throwback to my youth in the 90’s with her asking if she could kiss me.  The excitement, attraction, and my lowered inhibitions all led to me enjoying several moments of passionate kissing inside the club, and again as she got into her cab to leave.  I was just barley clearheaded enough to decline leaving with her and her friends and instead closed out the night with an Uber back to the house.

As fast as the decision to go had been made, the weekend was over.  I spent my last morning calling Cat to tell her what happened.  While there was hurt for both of us, we talked it through and made some choices to continue to be partners and that the reawakening of my polyamory after years of forcing it down was something we could and would work though. Her support has been amazing this whole trip and I can't imagine being on this journey with any other partner.  We talk almost every day and about everything with full honesty.  It is the only way this could work and I am so glad she is willing to work with me as I find who I am again.

From having never been to a WFTDA tournament, to having officiated The Big O, reported on D2’s in Lansing, D1’s in Vancouver, and finally attending both the men’s and women’s roller derby world championships all in one year was one hell of a ride.  While I thought that would be the end of my season, the trip had one more surprise in store for me. 

So now that I have had my say, it's time for my wonderful partner Cat's thoughts.

Zack asked me if I would like to possibly do a bit of composition writing for the blog. Since a lot of what he is blogging about right now has to deal with us and our relationship, he thought it might be a good idea to give a voice to my side of the story and have the opportunity to share my feelings about some of what he is going through and how it affects me and our partnership. As soon as I read his suggestion, I thought it was a fantastic idea. Not only is this something kind of original and really cool, but it gives others a perspective that they may never otherwise be exposed to.

As Zack did when he started this blog, I think it is important to give a little background about me, specifically my relationship history. It will put a lot of what I share into perspective and plays a very large roll in what I think and how I react and respond to situations. I got married when I was 20 years old and the marriage lasted for 6 years.  While it did not start out this way, it soon became a very emotionally, mentally, and verbally abusive relationship. Yelling, manipulation, lying, fear, and control were all too common in my life. Having someone yell at me for trying to hold his hand, berate me for asking how his day was and demean me for sharing with him him how I felt and then tell me that my feelings didn't matter became very normal for me. He would critique, question and criticize me so often that I soon began second guessing everything I did.  I often wondered if what I was feeling was “correct”. He used my feelings to his advantage to get exactly what he wanted without any regard for me. I lost myself completely in that relationship and worse, I started to believe him. As if that wasn't bad enough, he also cheated on me and lied about it on numerous occasions.

It has been a little over two years since I have been out of that toxic environment and I have worked very hard to become the strong, beautiful, independent, amazing woman that I am today. I am still working on recovering and finding myself, but I make the choice each day learn from the circumstances and situations in my life and try to find a silver lining. I think it is also important to note that when Zack left on this trip I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would not sit idly by and wait for him to come home but I would go on my own journey of healing, processing, and growth. It certainly hasn't been easy, but it has been completely worth it and made me stronger for it.

From the moment Zack arrived in Leon he had been very open with me about his feelings for Montserret. Because we talk about everything he would often share with me compliments that he gave to her or conversations that they had. I very quickly realized that there was a genuine connection between the two of them. Even with his growing attraction, every time Zack shared something with me, he was very quick to follow up with how much he still loved me, wanted me in his life and was thankful for our partnership. As he put it, “I know it is easy to think the grass is greener on the other side but my experience has taught me that the grass is greenest where you water it, love it, and care for it. The grass is green and lush right here.” 

While the reassurance felt good and did helped calm a lot of my fears about him leaving me for another, I will admit, I was hesitant and I was jealous. I also immediately revered back to my old way of thinking and was becoming doubtful and critical of myself and my feelings. There was that little familiar voice in back of my head saying, “What if you’re wrong about yourself? Are you really sure you feel that way?” For so many years, I was teased and criticized and told that my thoughts and emotions were “wrong”, maybe this isn’t how I actually feel, maybe it is just how I wanted to feel.  The more I second guessed myself, the louder that little voice became.

The following weekend was Champs and I remember the weekend quite well actually because it was the first time I had really begun processing what was happening with Montserret. I spent most of the weekend trying to distract myself and desperately trying to sort through my emotions. To make matters a bit harder, Zack then shared with me what had happened at the after party with his derby crush.  While I was very glad that he was so upfront and honest with me about what happened, but it also hurt, sad, and confused. I quickly went back to second guessing and doubting myself and my emotions.  Not only was I trying to sort through how I felt about my partner being attracted to other women, and now having acted on that attraction, it also brought back all the memories of pain, hurt, betrayal, and scars of my past.

I quickly recognized what was happening and understood that in order for me to process my feelings about Zack, I had to also work through my feelings about my prior abuse.  Specifically, how it affected me and what I was feeling. I did not want my emotional baggage from my past relationship to interfere and affect this one; I care too much to let that happen.  I immediately came up with the idea of doing a personal word collage. I wanted something that represented my progression of thoughts and feelings over the past year or two and validated and celebrated each and every emotion I had. 

Even before the last bit of mog podge was dry, I could feel myself letting go of some of the weight that I had been carrying around with me. I could see where I came from and I could see where I was going. I went from a place of crippling and immobilizing fear and hurt and pain to a place of complete openness and trust and communication. And it was in that instant I knew that no matter what, I would be okay.   


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