Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Skating Post

Last week, one of the other adult skaters at our rink jumped by herself for the first time, as we all clapped and cheered her on (this, ladies and gents, is why I love being an adult skater. The support and community are incredible.) Three weeks ago, she said she'd never jump because the thought scared her, so after her circle of waltz jumps, I asked her how she felt. Her answer "Fantastic."

I've written on here before about how I'm terrified every time I step on the ice: here and here. My coaches both know that the only reason why I'll even try a new jump, spin, or footwork is because I trust them to know if I'm physically ready to do it, even if I doubt myself.

Usually, I end up loving whatever scared me in the first place. Backward twizzles, jumping, spins with weird arm and leg positions... they're some of my favorite things to do.

I just had to swallow my fear and doubt first.

Now, don't laugh when you watch these videos. Remember, I'm a skater who started as an adult, not an Olympian. I'm not afraid to put myself out there because I'm proud that I challenge myself every day!

My last video lesson was this summer, when I was testing out a new dress (actually, Isabelle's TMI dress from Hot Topic. Hello, awesome skating dress.) The longer part of the skirt had a mind of its own and was like skating with an extra limb, throwing off my jumps and spins. But the work I had to put in to adjust was so worth it:

A scratch spin this past summer

Scratch spins take so much concentration. Arm position, leg position, shoulders. It's so easy to throw myself off, but it's such a rush when the spin perfectly centered and the blood starts rushing from my fingertips as I pick up speed.

From my video lesson in January, right before getting new boots and blades:

A scratch spin, January 2013

(To be fair to myself, these two spins were taken at the end of my lesson, when exhaustion slows me down. Still...)

I love the following video because it really captures a typical moment from my lessons. My jumps actually weren't bad at all, but they weren't perfect. Looking at the video now, I have to laugh over the look on my face as my coach sends me around for a second combo, or at the end of the video, when I gesture-complain about my arm position. Sometimes my perspective is off--I'll think I did something really wrong when, in reality, Coach is happy with my progress:

Waltz-loop jump, January 2013
(me to Coach2 after doing some pretty high and technically clean salchows today: "I've been doing this weird leg-bending thing on my jumps." Coach2: "You landed, right?" Me: "Yes." Coach2: "Then they were fine.")
Fear is healthy. Self-criticism is healthy. But it's easy to forget how much progress you've made when you wrap yourself up in that self-criticism, and it's way too easy to hold yourself back when fear is running through your veins.
It's still a constant learning experience. But if I didn't trust my coaches and myself, I'd still be paddling around the ice, never knowing what it feels like to fly.
My challenge to you: Trust yourself. You deserve to fly.