Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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« What I'd Tell Myself (A One-moment Memoir) | Main | The In-between Time »

I See You: Full frontal nudity & the derby girl inside

Last week after roller derby practice, I took a shower while my husband made dinner. I was in a good mood. It had been a good practice -- challenging, but fun. My blood sugar (which is prone to dipping too low) stayed steady, and I kept up fairly well with the drills. I worked on some jumps and transitions, skills that have scared me to death in the past, and I seemed to make some good progress on them. As a bonus, dinner was now being made downstairs while I stood in the hot water. I was feeling good.

The shower faces a large bathroom mirror, which means I confront my full-frontal, naked self whenever I reach for my towel. Usually, all I can see are my too-heavy thighs, my too-pale skin, my too-full face. I try to look at myself with kindness, but honestly, it's usually easier to not look at all, or at least to not pay much attention and wrap that towel around me as quickly as possible.

Something different happened this night. Maybe it was the post-practice endorphins, or post-shower bliss, or the jolliness of knowing that someone else was making me a yummy dinner. Regardless, what happened next hit me like an epiphany.

I finished my shower and turned off the water. I opened the curtain, saw my reflection in the mirror, and I saw something different.

I saw the strong, fit, athletic girl inside of me. The one that I used to envision as a yoga girl, or a surfer, or a volleyball player -- or some version of the models in the Athleta catalogue. The one I now envision as a badass derby girl.

As soon as my eyes met themselves in the mirror, I thought:

I see you.

I see your bright eyes and vibrant presence. I see your determination, your courage, your skill. I see the fledgling derby girl you are -- and the one you are becoming.

I see your strong legs, your luminous skin, your fierce and joyful face. I see you.

I see you -- you, whom I've long looked for. You, who I never really believed in, even as I half-fantasized about you for years.

I see you, as you are, as you can be, as you will be -- because those are all the same thing.

I see your power and your grace, your vim and your vigor, your skate and your swagger.

I see you. I see you. I see you.

** ** **

You can read more tales of my roller derby escapades and epiphanies in Roller Derby Makes Me Brave.


Playing roller derby has been one of the most unexpected (and delightful) choices of my life. This October, I'll be leading a storytelling session about the power of unexpected choices. Learn more and consider joining me for an amazing weekend at the Soul Sisters Conference in Portland, Oregon.


Reader Comments (12)

this post fills me with gratitude and joy that you are seeing, accepting and experiencing your life energy in its true form. call it "derby girl" or call it full-face-woman or me-as-i-am... it is against the grain of our culture to acknowledge the beauty and grace, the strength and wisdom in oneself without ego-attachment, without hierarchy. just beautiful. thank you for sharing this inner revelation so simply and with such steadiness.
September 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah
This post makes you sound so empowered, so badass!
September 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterplaycrane
Love it!
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSkitzo
Beautifully written & so positively uplifting!!!
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpite
i love all the lessons i learn from you. i adore that girl. yes i do.
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkelly barton
Wonderful!!! Love it!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Believe it or not, i saw you too. No i wasn't creeping on you in the shower, but I've watched you go from close to a deer on ice, to a wonderfully talented woman on skates. Sometimes you let go of your fears, don't think about what you are doing and go balls to the wall badass derby girl and you look amazing!
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentera fellow derby mate
I can so relate to this post. I so often don't see who I really am. I tend to stay lost in the old story line. Just the fact you are a derby girl makes a bad ass. You shining in this photo. hope dinner was yummy.
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKira Elliott
I always saw you as beautiful sister but I'm glad your happy in your skin you should be!
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley yonish
Wonderful! What a beautiful feeling.

I feel it sometimes when I glance at my tired legs after a trail run. There is something about that particular activity that connects me to my strength and power. It's been a while since I ran, so it's been a while since I felt it, but I remember the feeling.
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
I felt goosebumps on my skin reading this post, Jenna. I could feel how empowered you were in that moment, and even more than that, how much love!

This." I see you, as you are, as you can be, as you will be -- because those are all the same thing." Yes, all the same thing. Thank you for this.
September 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley McGill
Love this so much my friend. Yes.
September 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterliz

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