Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is by Ariel Demon who skates for Rollergirls of Southern Indiana. More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.Who are you? Mundane life... Derby life... the basics...
I am, first and foremost, Kristan Dawn Weber. I am and always will be the tomboy who climbs trees, is more comfortable in jeans and tennis shoes than anything else, who loves to go fishing and as a child tried to “hug” my dad’s entire bucket of bait by putting the worms down my shirt, the jeep-driving, wrench turning grease monkey who would much rather be dirty and outside than prim and proper and stuck inside.
I am also mother, wife, sister, daughter, hell raiser, black sheep, girlfriend, friend, confidante, employee and last but not least I am ARIEL DEMON!! Derby girl with the Rollergirls of Southern Indiana.
How did you discover derby and what drew you to that first practice or meeting to create a league?
I was at my favorite bar and a guy I went to high school with just happened to be there. I hadn’t seen this guy in years, so we were catching up and I asked him what was new in his life. He started talking about roller derby an how he was refereeing for a local team and I HAD to come watch. About a month later, I went to my first ever derby bout. I watched for all of 30 seconds before the words, “I have to do this!” came out of my mouth. I got back in touch with my buddy and he told me when and where to show up for a practice
Have your relationships with other women changed since joining? Friendships with rollergirls? Others?
Honestly, I am NOT a fan of women. We’re catty, we’re bitchy, we’re judgmental and we’re moody. Put us in a large group and it’s just ridiculous the amount of problems that much estrogen can create!
However, I have never met a group of women that I love more than my derby girls. We still have all the same attitude and stupid petty shit to deal with that any other gathering of women does, but we’re capable of putting all that aside to work together toward a common goal. Once we hit the track, whether in practice or competition, all the stupid crap fades away and we’re all focused on the one thing that matters – teamwork. I have more women that I can call my friends than I’ve ever had in my entire life, and it’s all thanks to derby.
Have your pre-derby relationships with friends and family changed?
Relationships with friends and family really haven’t changed. They just get sick of listening to me talk about derby.
Derby wife - What does that relationship mean to you? How is it different then your other friends and team mates?
Derby wife isn’t just a friend, she’s a best friend both on and off the track. She’s the one that keeps me moving when I don’t wanna move any more. She’s the one that holds my hand if I’m having a rough practice or holds my hair if I push myself so far that I’m puking. I keep in touch with my wife no matter if I’m making practices or missing practices, and if she’s missing from a practice or event I make darn sure I know where she is and that she’s OK.
Has there been a change to your professional life or relationships?
My boss and his wife came to one of my bouts and were astounded at the side of me they had never seen before. I’m normally such a quiet thing at work. I keep to myself and I keep my mouth shut, most of the time, lest the smart ass that I really am come tumbling out and get me in trouble. Ever since my boss came and watched me skate, he looks at me as more of an equal than an underling. He actually talks TO me instead of AT me now, which is a huge improvement. Yeah, there’s been a change in my work relationships, but it’s all for the better.
Has dating changed at all since joining? Harder? Easier?
Dating is hard anyway. Throw something as demanding as derby in there and of course it’s harder. Trying to balance children, derby and any sort of love life is damn near impossible UNLESS you’re dating someone that’s willing to love derby as much as you do. I’m lucky that the guy I’m dating is willing to consider time spent with me at a derby function as quality time spent together. I can’t imagine how anyone dating someone that has no interest in derby or would see it as competition would do it.
Has your personality evolved at all since becoming involved?
I would not way that my personality has changed at all since becoming involved with derby. However, what has happened is that I’m less likely to keep my mouth shut. I’ve gained confidence in myself, and with that confidence – much to my family’s chagrin – has come the ability to stand up and say Hey! That’s wrong! Or Hey! You can’t say that to me anymore! You can’t judge me anymore and get away with it because I am, by damn, a valuable human being!
Have your attitudes towards different types of people changed?
My attitude toward women has changed for the better. I really didn’t think I was capable of having a meaningful relationship with a woman before. Now not only is it possible but I have real relationships with many of the women on my team and I love it.
How would you have described yourself before derby? How about after?
Before? Geek, nerd, bookworm, quiet. Now I still describe myself as a self proclaimed nerd and bookworm, but I am also strong, physically fit, active, tough, unstoppable and beautiful.
A large portion of photography is the physical self. When you look in a mirror, how did you describe yourself before and how do you describe yourself after?
Before derby I would describe myself by the little bit of baby fat I still had left. Hey, after 4 kids you’re allowed a little! Now, when I look in the mirror I describe myself as physically fit. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since high school and it shows.
Has your definition of beauty changed for yourself or others?
My idea of beauty has always been that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that hasn’t changed at all. I’ve never been one to judge people based on the idea of beauty that only exists in magazines, so it’s easy for me to look at my derby sisters and see something beautiful about all of them.
What makes you go to practice? What drives you to play? What is it that makes it worth the time, money and risk?
Man, what drives me? Love? Yeah, love. Love of the sport, love of the team, love of the way my body feels when I’ve been beat to hell at practice… I love almost everything about this wonderful, fantastic, frustrating sport that is so full of blood, sweat, tears, work, women, joy, drama, athleticism, and much much more. My life is improved exponentially since derby became part of my life. On that sad, sad day when I no longer feel that I am physically capable of meeting the demands of derby, I guarantee I’ll stay involved in some way. There’s a lot more to roller derby than just the girls on the track, and I plan to be involved as long as I possibly can.