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.