Tonight a few of us headed up to San Jose to take a speed skating class from a World Champion Speed Skater. We were hoping to get some tips on upping our speed and fine tuning our form. As Nastassia talked about skating, I was rolling around a little, and taking some grapevine steps while I listened. It was then that I looked down at my feet at my cheap, red, Reidell Diablo skates and was filled with a sense of calm. I wondered: when had my skates become an extension of my feet? I've been comfortable on skates for months, but I supposed I didn't realize they'd somehow become a part of me. I feel like I can do anything in skates now, and be comfortable (short of going down an EXTREMELY steep hill, or maybe driving a car. Anything standing, really). It was a pretty neat feeling knowing that I've dedicated so much of my blood and sweat (and MONEY) to derby, and not only gain confidence and improve my skating skills, but to truly develop this new life. My skates may be cheap, bottom of the line, and made of synthetic materials, but that means little to me because when I see my skates, I see: freedom, speed, expression, stress release, happiness, family, sisters, smiles, sweat, strength, and beauty. They're better than any mirror you could ever put in front of me because they show me what's inside as well as outside.