I went roller skating yesterday. I haven’t been roller skating in about 25 years or so. I used to love to skate. Friends would have roller skating birthday parties, and every Sunday I’d go to Southgate, the local rink, with my friends for skating.
I had taught myself to skate. For some reason, every one I knew already knew how to skate, but I never learned. So I would push myself along the walls and slowly I got more comfortable until I was a skating wizard! Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I didn’t need to wall anymore and I wasn’t afraid. I skated for years, it was so much fun.
Southgate closed down, opened up, closed down again, became a swap meet, closed down….then re-opened last week! I had visions of becoming a skate diva again. I have a mild longing to be part of roller derby also. I was so excited to go and start skating again. My body had something else in mind entirely.
My brother Shannon, his girlfriend Anne, and I decided to go for the lesson session. Anne had never been skating before, and I thought I just needed a refresher. Wow, it was like I had never skated before! I put the skates, and almost fell just getting up. Really, I was a clumsy oaf and I started thinking maybe this was a mistake, and I had only had the skates on for 2 minutes. There go my dreams of roller derby.
They split the group into 2 groups, the decent skaters and the newbies. Pretty much the adult group and the children’s group…I got put in the children’s group. For an hour, I barely moved away from the wall. But slowly, I got a little more comfortable. I worked on the march, the scissors, and the stroke (heh.) Shannon and I skated for a little bit afterwards and I could actually let go of the wall. I was so excited that I didn’t fall at all. If I had fallen, I think that would have devastated me. Here is where the whole self-esteem issue comes up…again.
At the beginning of the lesson, we learned the correct way to fall and get up. At least, everyone else did. Oh, did I forget to mention I was the biggest person there? Actually, I was the only fat person there, but I got over that quickly enough. But when we had to learn how to fall and get up, I was ready to cry. First, I couldn’t just plop down like everyone else. It’s hard enough to do anything with skates on, but try being short and over weight. When you are fat, your body betrays you in many ways. It’s not as limber and agile as it once was, unless you are Chris Farley (that boy could move like crazy!) It’s harder to trust it do things. If you haven’t had that experience, I hope you never do.
I had to use the wall to slowly make me way to the floor. If you fall while skating, the proper way to get up is to put one knee up, lace your hands together and place them on your knee, then push while raising your other leg. Easy, right? No, my body would not do it. There was too much…..BODY in the way to do it. So I had to very awkwardly use the wall to get up. I hated it. It made me sad, and I didn’t want to be sad while trying to do something that used to make me so happy. So I decided I couldn’t fall during the lesson. And I succeeded! Really, that was the only success of the day.
I was SO afraid of falling. Not just because it would be embarrassing to get back up, but because I might hurt myself! Like poor Shannon…but since this blog is about me and not him, I won’t tell you about him landing on his wrist and elbow. But if I could be more like him, that would be awesome. He’s so fearless, in so many ways. He just tries things, with no worries!!
When I was a child and I skated, I didn’t worry about falling. And when I did fall, I just got back up. Why was it so much easier? And why did I have more confidence (in everything) when I was a child? You would think that as an adult I would have more confidence and be less scared to try things, but it’s actually the opposite. I think it’s because as children, we haven’t learned to doubt ourselves yet. We haven’t had people tell us what’s wrong with us, we haven’t failed at much yet, and we haven’t learned what our self-esteem issues are yet. I think we actually LEARN to doubt ourselves and hate things about ourselves. I don’t like it.
And the whole self-image thing comes up again….the image of me skating in my head was not true to who I am and to my body. I imagined a sleek, fast skater with lots of rhythm. If I had been true to myself, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed with my body when I put those skates on. But as I was trying to do the scissor around the cones, I was slowly getting more confident. I got over being the only fat person there, I got over being in the children’s group, I got over forgetting how to skate. Did I say the only success I had was not falling? Hmmm, apparently I was wrong. I thing I learned a few things, whether they were positive or not, I’m not quite sure. I know I did manage to have some fun too, and my dream of roller derby isn’t totally gone.
Hey, speaking of roller skating, does anyone remember this movie ?