I went to a local roller rink to get some practice skate time in. Before going in I had a pep talk with myself that sounded something like “You’re gonna look silly nad you might even fall, but that’s okay. You’re here top practice and learn. Who cares if others laugh…”
My skills are raw in that I can skate forward and go around the rink, but I can’t stop; I roll up to the wall or rail. it’s the equivalent to running your bike into a hedge to stop. I’m also a wobbly mess for the first 25 minute. I feel like Bambi stepping into the ice with my legs flayed out and trying to catch my balance. In these moments I think “what the hell did I get myself into? I’m SO not ready for Roller Derby Boot Camp!”
But I remind myself that I am practicing and with time I will get better. The Boot Camp is a training and I will learn all that I can. I am starting where I am and moving forward. I remind myself of what it was like to learn to ride a bike., It felt scary and impossible, and was definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. I had to learn to trust, but I did it and love it.
It was still early in the session, and I was skating close to the wall rail “just in case”. I would take breaks along the way because my shins and lower back were getting sore. I was skating along when an older gentleman skated alongside me and said “From the waist down you look good, but from the waist up you need to make adjustments. You’re leaned over and looking down. First straighten your posture, roll your shoulders back, and look ahead, not down in front of you. Then when you are looking ahead, roll your shoulders back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself to relax”. He told me to keep telling myself to relax, and that in a few minutes I’ll be skating more comfortably.
Sure enough, about 2 minutes in, I was skating steadily. When I talked about this to my therapist, it struck me that this is a big metaphor for my life right now
I tend to get stuck the now, the past, and the unknown, I don’t trust and so I have a tendency to hyper vigilant for myself. I’m not use to being held in safety or having trust. I worry a lot about the “what if’s”. As a kid I would walk with my head down a lot because I felt like I had to see where I was going. In the rink I was doing the same thing.
Then when I was told to hold my head up and look ahead I suddenly felt an internal shift. It was a sense of feeling present in my surroundings instead of stuck in my situation. I used some mediation skills and noticed any tension in my body, relaxed it, and took in slow deep breaths as I held my head up and looked ahead. This helped me so much in my skating. I felt like I was okay to trust a little more.
this is so like where I am right now. after the series of challenges in the last few months, I’ve had to learnt to relax, look ahead, and breath – a lot. Although I can still feel anxiety, this has helped me to function somewhat. It helps me get through the days when I have no idea what I’m doing or what’s going on.