Yesterday I did something that I hadn't done in over 9 years.
It felt good.
Really, really good.
I went ice skating.
"What's the big deal?" you ask? Well, figure skating was my life for about 5 or 6 years, up until my parents went through a tight financial time and I had to give it up.
At the time, it was devastating for me. It was especially hard because one of my fellow skaters went to school with me, and I got to hear all about everything I was missing all the time. I was happy for her, but it was hard to hear about all the skating I was missing and that I loved so deeply. Being on the ice was therapeutic for me, and I felt a little lost without it sometimes.
But in hindsight, I am grateful it happened. Figure skating was not good for my self-esteem. For many reasons I won't go into, I never felt more ugly, self-conscious, and low as I did when I was into figure skating. I loved it, but it didn't always love me back. But I am grateful I got the opportunity to do it and for the things it did teach me. There was a lot more positive experience in it for me than there was negative. I am only saying that when the time came for me to quit, it was for the best. I didn't feel bad all the time or anything, but I was definitely entering a stage in my life where the times when I was struggling with loving myself could have gotten much deeper and much worse. They could have been better too, who knows? but these are the things I remind myself about when I feel the pangs of pain from giving up something I loved so deeply.
Skating taught me that there are things in life worth getting up early for (I got up before school and practiced). I learned to work hard at things (like jumps) that were challenging and darn near impossible sometimes. I learned that the harder something is to accomplish, the bigger and sweeter the feeling of accomplishment is when I keep at it and finally achieve.
I also had some of my major bonding time with my dad in my life. My dad faithfully came with me every morning to practices, watched attentively, and critiqued my jumps, spins, and moves. He really taught me to pay attention to detail and to put in the extra work it sometimes takes to do things the right way, because in the long run it ends up being less work when you don't have to go back and fix a problem. I felt the love and support from both of my parents, but seriously, what dad do you know that would learn to enjoy his daughter's figure skating? (He didn't have any boys at the time, and this was about as close to sports as he could get haha.) But he did, and it's stuck with me all these years, and it's made me a better person because of it. I know from his own example that you can grow to love something because someone you love does.
Anyway, yesterday I got a sitter for the boys, grabbed my old skates, and headed to the rink for a public skate. When I arrived, there were these three darling little old men who were also lacing up their figure skates. Two out of the three were ex-competitors, the other was a man who grew up in Minnesota and skated his entire life because that's what everybody did. It felt a little weird to be hanging out with three old guys, but I was grateful for the company and encouragement as I took my first wobbly strides.
It started to come back fast. Obviously I can't jump as high, am not as flexible, and get a little overly dizzy on the spins, but I was amazed still at what my body could remember without much effort. It was really fun and definitely soul-feeding. Those cravings of physical self-expression and dancing that had been trapped inside for the past nine years came racing out and I felt like I was home.
It only lasted about 45 minutes (I'd mixed up the times for when the public skate started), but as I sit here today with a swollen, bruised ankle (forgot I used to wear ankle pads...oops!) I realize it was enough for my first time back. I had fun doing something a little girly for a change - that doesn't happen very often when you live in a house full of boys.
I'm not sure when I will go back....I'd love to go often. Skating is a stress relief for me....I can release all my worries and pain when I skate. I have time to think. I have time to focus on other things that take my mind off my worries, and I get a good feeling of accomplishment when I do something right that I've been working on. I get "in the zone" for sure. And man alive I haven't sweat that much since I had to give up kettlebells! It is a killer workout, and one that you don't notice how much work you are doing or how hard your heart is pumping until you stop. The coolness of the rink makes it easy to ignore how your body is heating up. I love it!
But, the closest rink is 40 minutes from home, and I just don't think I can justify doing it solely for a workout. Wes thinks I should think about it because it's therapeutic, and it could be very healing for me while that is the focus. Plus, exercise is never a bad thing, especially since now the doctor has not only given me the go-ahead, but he is recommending it in this part of my healing and probably from now on. Wes thinks if it's good exercise and I'm releasing stress, then why not?
I will probably drop by here and there, and I will have a ball when I do. And I am really glad I took the time yesterday to take care of my needs and do something I enjoyed for a little while. When I arrived home I was ready to tackle the rest of my day with a much lighter mood and much less effort (you know how everything is harder on burnout). And my mind is definitely partly on the ice today as I think about what kind of exercise I will fit into my day today. I feel so grateful to have a body that's healing and have the experiences and wisdom that I've gained from going through the challenges I have this year. The things I have learned (and some I am still learning) have been and are going to be really good for me and our family.
All in all, it was good to be back!