I might just be the biggest hodgepodge person I have ever met. I’ll start this newest article like so.
I cannot wait for the day when my child(ren) run to my bedroom to wake me and their father. I hope they show up one morning having found photos or remnants from my past and they question my life. (Side note- I am not a believer in boxing up my past, even my bedroom has awards and trophies on shelves from 8th grade onward to this day.)
“Mommy, why is there a shelf with skates next to a crown?” My lil bug might ask. “Well, child, let me tell you a story about way back when…”
My hodgepodge style can be seen back in high school when I would have softball and cheer-leading events on the same day. I would literally wear my cheer-leading skirt with my jersey on top. This pleased me, not so much the coaches of either.
I’ve had an interest in sports my whole life and have played and or tried anything athletic/physical I could. I’ve also had an interest in participating in pageants because I didn’t fit the mold.
My first pageant was after high school. I then made it to nationals in Anaheim California, followed by 3 years competing at a racetrack pageant and even a stint in the Miss USA State pageant realm.
Pageants have done for me what sports could not. I was able to be the woman I am today because of them. I am grateful to have started at the age I did, being fully my own choice and not start in the ‘high maintenance’ type pageants at birth.
At nationals, my introduction started like so..
“I am not Roseanne Roseannadanna, but I am Elle Patocka and my main goal in life is to write, be on or hold cue cards for Saturday Night Live.” Not exactly the pageant introduction people were expecting, but I was me 100%. I ended up participating in a pageant for a racetrack I frequented. I ran 3 years and the year I won I was given a job as an announcer at the racetrack and it changed my world. It was also because of this pageant I started Stand-Up comedy. I participated in the state pageant for Miss USA (the only pageant I had to participate in a swimsuit competition) and walked away with the Miss Spirit Award voted for by the directors and coaches. This pageant was high stakes and I knew I was out of my own comfort zone, but I danced my butt off and helped myself to thirds during lunch while others sparsely ate. Not my cup of tea in retrospect, however, it definitely allowed me to meet new folks – one being Piggy D from Rob Zombies band.
Pageants taught me poise, confidence, how to puff up my hair to the heavens, public speaking, volunteerism and how to walk the incorrect way on stage even having practiced for four hours the correct way.
Roller derby has done for me what pageants could not. If it wasn’t for my sixth grade class (I was a para) pushing me to try out, I would not have found derby. I started as a volunteer and by the fall of 2011, I started derby boot camp. Being a newly single woman who had just lost her last parent, I was begging for a life saver. Derby did just that- literally saved my life.
I like to equate roller derby to a relationship. We see each other a few nights a week, sometimes get to go away together on road trips to other destinations (Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida), there are nights I am completely infatuated and cannot fathom another love in my life, then there are nights I go home crying asking “why am I putting myself through this?” There are weeks where I take a ‘break’ and come back kicking myself for ever thinking there was something else out there for me.
My league is skater owned and operated and we happen to be ranked 79th out of 265 WORLDWIDE! It’s amazing to be a part of this group of strong women who literally come from all walks of life. We have first and fourth time mothers to grandmothers, college-military-graduated ladies and everything in between! It is cliche in the derby universe but, once you strap skates on your feet, something in you changes and your life takes on a whole new meaning.
There is pain and pride in all forms, good and bad in this life. We must walk the steps we choose and be prepared for the unknown skips and runs. My 5-year-old self probably knew all along that I would be this way. My folks never kept me pigeon-held to one thing, nor did I have to allow them to live vicariously through me. I was allowed options, never pressured and I feel this made all the difference into the adult version of me.
“…so there ya have it kid, your mom is just a hodgepodge person.” “…and that means I am a hodgepodge too?” my child will ask. “If it’s what your soul desires, then so be it.” Is what I will reply.
*Special thanks to Savannah Smiles Creative www.sscreativestudios.com for use of the Feature Image*