I had never, ever realised how in the grips of fear I lived until I started skating.
It turns out that fear holds me in the palm of its hand and soothes me with its tender words.
I am scared to fall, to bruise, to break. I am scared of putting one foot over the other to do cross overs. I am scared of going slower than my peers who have been skating for a longer time than I have. I am scared of going fast and getting another tummy bruise. I am scared of stopping. OF STOPPING. Of stopping near walls. I am scared of walls. I am scared of losing my teeth in a nasty fall.
I am scared that I am letting my parents down by skating. I am scared that my son thinks I am bat-poop crazy for undertaking such a scary sport. I am scared that people won’t like me. I am scared that I will never make it out of level one. I am scared of making it into level two.
Do you get the feeling that I am scared?
I take this fear and then I let myself run with it. I don’t do most of those things because of what might happen. So then I open up a whole new can of worms. I could break my wrist by not stopping before hitting the wall.
I let fear control me. I let fear hold me back.
In theory, I would just release my fear, let go and embrace what I want to achieve. You know that gorgeous quote by Ambrose Redmoon:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
I like that one. To me that is what courage truly is. I am trying to be courageous, I truly am. I am going to training. I am being a nincompoop. I am trying to get my head together. It is more important for me to work outside of my comfy middle class preconceptions than to be afraid. So I am there. The slow, slow, slow one, that the coaches reassure with “just trying will help” or “we all started off this way”. I take my role of personal cheer leader seriously and genuinely compliment the others on their good work. This sport is hard on your psyche, encouragement is good.
I am learning that I hate being the last to do something. HATE IT. That I then feel my monster lurch out of my tummy and all I can think of is “I’m too slow. I want to stop. I can’t do this. Why am I here.” These thoughts spiral and all I can do is not cry at how I am letting myself down. I don’t want to be this way, so I try to dig deeper and the monster within laughs at me. Taunts me. Tells me that I’m stupid for even having started this. This is not a cute furry monster that you want sleeping on the end of your bed, this is a monster with sharp teeth and darkness looking out of its eyes.
This monster has lived within me since I was tiny. Any time I have done anything physical it’s come out to play. Anything not physical. Anything new, really. I did ballet when I was 6 – for three weeks. I couldn’t cope with the falling and not being the best immediately, so I left. I don’t want to do that again. I can still remember my monster, though.
Some people carry their monsters on their sleeves in the form of physical disabilities or scars or whatever. Others look perfectly fine, but there is a monster that appears sometimes. We all have to overcome our monsters, or do we? I think we have a choice. I have a choice.
It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel like I’m pushing a rock up a giant mountain. I don’t think I have struggled this much with something that I want to do, ever. Or at least, not since that assignment the other week. This is the thing, though. I love this sport. I mean, I LOVE it. I love skating. I love the companionship. I love that wearing short things si perfectly acceptable. I love that it is so women focussed. I love the spectacle and the panache. I love the sweat. So I will keep going. I will do this. I will get better.
So there’s this quote, that I understand all too well and love to bits:
Here’s to rocking it out at training this week, yeah? Yeah 🙂
Coincidentally, this was written (but posted after) a friend’s post with almost the same feelings. Derby truly is a learning curve. I won’t be writing any more about my skating (mis)adventures on here. I have another blog for that http://derbydiaries.wordpress.com so I can remember how terrible I was when I become fabulous.
In a few years time, of course. 29 hours on skates in the last 14 years. All of that in the past 6 weeks. It’s ok to not be perfect.