Sunday, May 30, 2010

"I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!" by Bunnie Low-Browski

I just read an inspiring article in the Spring 2010 issue of USARS Magazine. Derby girl Bunnie Low-Browski writes about the transformation many of us experience after derby gets its hooks in us. That same increase in self-confidence that has worked its way into my own life as I have come to not only embrace my inner bad-ass, but also to let her out to play in the non-derby aspects of my life.

The first quote that caught my eye was this: "Who is this sporty revolutionary you've become?....She smells like sweat and she isn't apologizing for her matted hair....Before we know it, roller derby has changed us, blossomed us into tall and proud battalions." I saw my first derby bout and knew I had to be a part of it. I was a dedicated couch potato with absolutely no skating ability who joined a local league as a fresh meat skater, wobbling around, shaky as a newborn lamb and scared to death of falling down. After a year and a half of working hard learning how to skate, but still sitting on the sidelines, I finally made it onto the bout roster. I wasn't the best or most aggressive skater, and I fell down A LOT. But every time I got back up, I got a little more of that "I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!" that Bunnie talks about.

Bunnie goes on to say that the way to keep this growth coming and to move from whiner to warrior is to practice positive thinking. Just as we improve our physical endurance, strength, and agility by spending time working out, on skates and off, we also need to exercise the parts of our brains that keep us motivated and positive. Not only should we be, but we ARE "...stronger and smarter than those thoughts that try to cripple us."

So, the next time you start to hear those voices in your head that tell you you're not strong enough, smart enough, good enough--WHATEVER--shut them up by taking Bunnie's advice: "You have to be your own number one biggest fan and you have to do it now and every day." If you fall, get back up; revel in the kind of inner strength and confidence that only comes when you struggle past your limits and discover that "I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your...Brains by Ryan Mecum

The story of an average guy who keeps a journal of his poetry intended to celebrate the beauty around him. Before long, though, his journal is about his zombie "life"--told in haiku. I'm using some examples to teach my students about haiku. And all I have to do to get their undivided attention is to say, "Oh, this next one is gross. Cover your ears if that will make you uncomfortable." Who says poetry has to be about rainbows and butterflies?

A few of my favorites:

little old ladies
speed away in their wheelchairs,
frightened meals on wheels.

Biting into heads
is much harder than it looks.
His skull is feisty.

I lap around blocks.
The city, an empty plate,
has been licked clean.

Her tongue can't form words,
although it's still wiggling
when it's in my hand.

I need to slow down.
It's hard, when eating fingers,
to tell whose hand's whose.

Zombie fans will eat this one up.