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Whitesnake. Getting My Ass Kicked In Derby. And Using My Own Ruler.

Right now I’m staring at a softball sized, black and blue lump on my right shin. Straight down the middle is a cut that is starting to scab over.

Monday night was my second practice of full contact roller derby at which I got slammed into a wall, fell, got tripped, kicked in the shins, and elbowed in the ribs. I knew this was coming. It’s all part of the sport, but on the way home from practice, I called my mom. Before she could even get a word out I started bawling.

It was a culmination of a lot of things that had come to a head, but the bottom line was that I was feeling beat up. Beaten down. Literally, and figuratively. Up to that point I had been working hard, skating hard, trying hard, putting out so much energy…hard. Not just in derby, but everywhere. Business, love, my personal growth, activities. And it felt like all I was seeming to get was being slammed into a wall. Efforts not producing results. One step forward, two steps back. Over and over again. And this night, it was all just too much.

And in between my sobs, where I was questioning whether or not I wanted to do derby, I started feeling bad about myself in a way that was very familiar to me. The old belief came creeping in that I’m a quitter. That I don’t push myself hard enough. That I give up. And how could I be a Life Coach who talks about personal growth and the like, but be so willing to leave (derby?) when the going gets tough, and just because it doesn’t feel good to me?

And it reminded me of a couple buddies of mine who own a Crossfit-type gym. I often listen to them talk about their opinions of fitness. They train elite athletes and whoever wants to train like one. They talk a lot about pushing yourself physically. Working hard so that you can grow beyond what you thought possible.

I see the results that their members get and it’s incredible. People reaching beyond their personal goals, feeling proud and empowered, looking amazing. Performing better in all aspects of life. And I love these guys. I love what they’ve created with their gym. But I just don’t go. Almost ever. And up to now I’ve felt bad about myself. Like, what is wrong with me that I don’t enjoy pushing myself in this way? That I don’t push it to the max? Lift as much as I possibly can? Finally do that pull up?

Up to now I’ve seen these people as different than me. Better. More motivated. More determined. Stronger. And my thoughts have been “I must not be tough. I must be lazy. Or weak. I must not push myself in life. I must be……a quitter.”

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was using someone one else’s ruler to measure success in my own life. I may not have a goal to lift a certain amount of weight, I may not have a goal to be tough in that way. But that my toughness comes in a WAY different form.

My pushing myself to the max looks very different. They may be sculpting bodies, that may be their goal, fitness and health, but in my life, my goal is to sculpt my heart.

I go to the edges of the earth, the cliff of total discomfort and fear and danger and I jump off of it in the service of my heart being as wide open as possible. For my soul to experience every single thing it came here to do. I push and I pull and I rest and I work hard. I train. Just like they do. But in a different realm. I’m fierce about it. Dedicated. Do it every single day. Fall and get back up. Mess up and then try something different. Think I can’t go any further, and then I do.

I take classes to get new skills. I read. I hire my own personal trainers in the form of coaches, healers, intuitives, and business people. I’m always learning, growing, changing and evolving. And that is no less important than how many kilos I can dead-lift. It makes me how I see them…dedicated, courageous, fierce, never giving up. It just comes through in a different form. And that’s ok. This is my measuring stick of success in my life. It may be a totally different ruler than a lot of people use, but it’s mine. My life.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was beating myself over nothing. The important things to me in my life, I never quit. I never give up. I keep going even when the peak of the mountain seems so far away.

This is the path I chose. A lot of times it feels lonely. I almost always feel lost. And although I am doing it on my own, in that at the end of the day, it’s just me, my big heart, my vision, and my determination, I have an army of Wildhearts in my life who are there on the side of the road extending their arms to help me up when I fall. To hand me a towel when the sweat, dirt and tears are in my eyes from feeling like I can’t go any further. To hold up a sign saying “YOU CAN DO IT SALLY! YOU GOT IT GIRL!” when I’m ready to quit.

I’m going on my own, but I’m not alone.

And as I’ve been thinking about this all week long, a song came to my mind. And I wanted to play it for you.

It’s true. None of us really know where we’re going. A lot of the time, we feel alone. And often…no matter how much we search, the answers don’t come.

But I know for me, I AM going to hold on for the rest of my days. Keep walking. And know that the answers all lie within me. And the more I walk down the road, the more I know this.

What we’re looking for lies within us. And the more we seek it from outside sources, the less we’ll ever be able to find it. Only by looking inside will you ever find what you’re looking for. Freedom. Freedom from the pain of your wounds. Freedom from the way you think life needs to be. Freedom from having to have it all figured out.

If you don’t want to do derby, don’t. If you don’t want to go to med school, don’t. It’s not that you should give up, but more it’s about finding what matters most to you, and doing whatever it takes to get there.

Me and the other Wildhearts will be here to wipe the tears.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt bad about yourself or situation when comparing it yourself to others? Do you ever feel lonely walking down your path? Leave a comment below.

From my Wildheart to Yours.

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25 Responses to Whitesnake. Getting My Ass Kicked In Derby. And Using My Own Ruler.

  1. Catherine says:

    I can’t get over how in sync we are. I have been having very similar feelings lately. Starting my own business was really one of the scariest things I did – and to continue it is scary because what if I’m not good at it? What if people stop liking me? What if I’m doing the “wrong” thing and this isn’t what I’m meant to do? and I keep thinking (honestly) that I need to LIVE somewhere else in order for me to experience my full wildheart self (because people in Boston aren’t like me) it feels very lonely. and the voices are strong – the ones that tell me I’m not good enough, I’m not brave enough (ie. i wasn’t brave enough to quit my fulltime job yet) and that it’s not in the cards for me to be successful and help other people and I should just stay put. blech!! and sometimes I cry myself to sleep, and sometimes I bang my head up against the wall, but recently I’ve thought to myself that I wonder how caterpillars feel right before they turn into a butterfly… do they think the transformation process is fun? probably not. AND if it happens slowly, if the process is sped up AT ALL the creature dies. So maybe my steps back are just part of my process, that the journey can’t be sped up, and that I too am so committed to the wildheart, authentic journey of sculpting my heart and allowing myself to FEEL the depth of my limiting beliefs and my fears and to let go of my need to be “perfect” and realize – I already am. Exactly as I am. With my own wildheart.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Oh girl…I couldn’t agree with you more about the caterpillar. That’s right. Transformation isn’t always fun in the moments, and sometimes it takes forever for the transformation to happen, but on the other side of it is a butterfly. :)

      Fly on fellow Wildheart.

  2. WOW, would be the word to describe this, and almost all your content/posts!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your Authenticity, and Vulnerability (PRICELESS) Keep on, Keppn’ on Girl :)

  3. Kelly says:

    I sense a new band name for you…Sally Hope and The Wildhearts. :)

    • Sallyhope says:

      I am DEFINITELY not opposed to this. And in fact, the Wildheart Revolution umbrella definitely has a “music” wing and a band.

  4. Michelle says:

    Hey Amazing Sally,
    Lady, this song has always got me right in the heart……chokes me up when I have heard it, “lonely street of dreams” and going down the road, a heart in need of rescue—all such powerful words for those of us brave enough to follow the path of heart. I have definitely felt that feeling of being beaten up by life, (more than likely the story that I keep buying into) and the agony of comparing myself to others (shouldn’t I be further along by now, why don’t I have this mastered like so and so?!)
    As far as the super challenging work-outs, those are so not for me…..about 8 years ago, I decided to be gentle with my body….hmmm, maybe I could choose that for my emotional and spiritual practices too.

    You are singing my song ……..Keep singing, Keep shining.

    I am choosing to make things simple….and by way of what you have shared, if it is right and simpler to let it go, then so be it.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Amazing Michelle! :)

      Seriously…ME TOO. It always gets me. I think the lonely part of it happens in those moments we have to ourselves where we wonder if anything is EVER going to look how we want it. This is inherent in being a dreamer and having a visions. Those moments ARE lonely. I totally feel it.

      As for being gentle with yourself…YES! This is all part of making things simple.

      I will keep shining and singing, as I trust that you will. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.


  5. Michelle says:

    Love it! Love it! Love it!
    Just what I needed today…. Am so grateful for the book referral….. Intimate Communion – it has been helpful for me to reframe my thinking and get in touch with my more feminine self…. but then…. “what am I doing?” “am I doing it right?” “when will I feel more whole?” those questions creep back in…..
    So thank you….. I wrote the the paragraph about going to the edge of the earth in my journal…..

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Michelle…oh girl I’m so glad it resonated and I’m so glad you like the book. Seriously…it changed my life. And I had so many awakenings from it. Your questions are totally normal and just keep trying different things and seeing what works for you. And keep doing it. Over and over. Being patient with this stuff is super important. It may not all happen overnight, but everytime you try, you get closer to what you’re looking for.

      XO Wild XO Heart

  6. Paulette says:

    So touching and beautiful, Sally. True courage and bravery, risk taking and leaping into the unknown. And I so love hearing you sing.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Thanks mom. You were a part of all of this. What’s it like being on the other end of the phone, then reading it here? Also…thanks for saying that about the singing. I still really don’t like my voice and am thinking of taking some singing lessons because I just have a feeling that’s partially how I’m supposed to express myself. :)

      • susan says:

        Hey California cousins,
        Sally…YOU SING! As a vocal coach one of the things I do is online critiques. I’ll watch a video and then do a write up. I watched your vid and heard you sing and saw sooo many cool things I would love to share with you. And you too Paulette. It’s all good. Let me know!

  7. Ryan says:


    You hit the nail on the head “I take classes to get new skills. I read. I hire my own personal trainers in the form of coaches, healers, intuitives, and business people. I’m always learning, growing, changing and evolving. And that is no less important than how many kilos I can dead-lift.”

    Working out your business and life skills in a lot of ways is a bigger stretch than Cross-fit. The results aren’t always easy to measure like going to the gym.

    Love the Whitesnake btw!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Ryan…thanks so much for chiming in. I definitely agree that the result of personal and business growth are a lot less easy to measure than anything physical.

      I think Crossfitters are awesome. And whatever someone wants to do to push themselves is cool with me. I think I just realized that I was feeling like I wasn’t pushing myself simply because I didn’t do stuff like that, and then was all like “wait a minute! I push myself like crazy!!”

      Happy Friday!

      P.s. How’d you find me?

  8. Stephanie says:

    Oh Sally, I love hearing you sing! You have such a beautiful voice that comes out through this song, through your writing, through your life.

    Who’s ruler? is such a good question to ask — timely blog post :)


    • Sallyhope says:

      Coming from you lady that means A LOT. Your voice is so amazingly beautiful!

      And timely eh? You been using someone elses ruler too? Do tell.


  9. Michael says:

    Yeap. Thanks for another great post. Some days are like you describe and then some days you knock the bitch down. I could never roller derby. As hard of a work ethic as I have, I came to affirm something. “It isn’t about winning or losing but living.” I have to keep coming back to that personal affirmation in my own life. Thanks for a great reminder of that this week.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Ooooh I think I’m going to have to borrow your affirmation. I love it. Honestly, I still keep going back on forth on derby. I haven’t totally decided yet, but I absolutely agree with you. It’s all about LIVING!

  10. Natalie Vartanian says:

    Awesome post beoo! So heart felt and COURAGEOUS!! Rock on Wildheart, rock on!!!

  11. Powerhouse says:

    Hello! I’m only seeing this post now, nearly a year after it was published. I sought it out after dwelling in my own feelings of failure in roller derby. Thank you so much for your thoughts! I too, often feel like I’m a quitter, and that I’m weak compared to others. I don’t really care what other people think of me, EXCEPT (and that’s a BIG except) when I’m part of a team. Roller derby has been thrilling, scary and challenging for me since last August. I went into it thinking I would be bad a$$ at it, and most if the time leave practice feeling like a goober. I don’t want to let my team down, nor do I want them to look at me like “oh no, don’t pair me with that skilless dork”, or have pity on me for being so lame. What I’ve come to realize, however, that I too have a big heart, and tht is where I excel the most. I’ve never shirked at a challenge, and I always pursue my dreams. If anyone wants to look at me as a failure, well, they can do so and be completely wrong. For I, like you, am not a failure, nor a quitter; I embrace life with my heart open wide and my mind set on success.

  12. Hi Sally hope it’s Sally hope Woodroffe here! We seem to live lateral lives! I’m a singer songwriter counsellor artist passionate about what I do, I think being ‘happy’ with our singing voice is all about confidence, from within. If your a passionate person you sing your soul, it’s all about how you feel, and of course life gets difficult sometimes were human, self care, is essential, and life’s an exciting but scary journey sometimes, sorry going on but just wanted to say hi! And really interesting looking at your site Sally love Sally

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