Last year at this time we were living on a channel that led to a small lake. The kids really got into ice skating, and we all got skates. We thought, "What a great idea, this will be a great activity."
It was a great activity, for everyone...but me. I have a slightly irrational fear of falling. Heights can scare me, but typically only on a human-made structure. A trail on the side of a cliff doesn't seem to bother me as much as a suspension bridge. Water scares me. I can swim, but I don't very often, and when I do it is usually in a pool. I really thought ice skating would be something I could work my way into enjoying. I mean it looks so fun!
Last year I put my skates on at least a dozen times. I would sit on the dock. I would sometimes scoot onto the ice for a moment in a totally awkward squatting position and then frantically get back off. We started going to a skating rink, thinking, it was because I was worried about the ice breaking. Nope. No deal. I sat. I would set my skate on the ice and immediately stop myself and then go sit back down.
I watched people on their skates. I watched my children skate with glee all over the rink. I could not figure out why I was so paralyzed and why I could not will myself to just do it. So what if I fall. Why was it such a big deal?
We went to the rink today. I said I would try...again. They knew that meant I might not get on the ice. I moved a "walker" style support close to me so I wouldn't have to walk over and get it once my skates were on.
Was I actually going to try today?
I put my skates on, and my heart started racing.
Someone walked by and took my walker thingy! Oh no!
My son went and got me a new one.
Then I stood up, just one foot and gripped that red piece of plastic walker like my life depended on it.
My husband said, "Okay, 3 times around and then you can take a break."
WHAT! NO, I have to go back now!
Then I said to myself, "What the heck am I doing? I have had these skates for over a year now, and this is the first time I'm actually using them. I better do three laps."
So I did.
I thought every muscle in my body might burst into flames. Especially the arches in my feet. I could feel all the tension with each move.
Slowly, and for a moment here or there, it felt a little effortless. My hands never left the walker.
I watched many people fall.
I watched moms with their toddlers struggling to make it around.
I watched teens holding hands.
I watched a hot shot hockey player nearly take out five people.
And then I was done.
A total of seven laps with three breaks in between. I was exhausted but elated. I had finally done it, and I lived to tell the story.