Let Go of the Wall

If I could sum up my experience with ice skating, I would quote my friend: “The wall keeps you up. But it holds you back. Sometimes you have to fall to move forward.”

I used to have this idealization about skating. I thought as soon as the blades of the skate touched the ice, I would be gliding. Although, reality taught me something else. While I am unsure about the width of the skating blades, I can assure you that it is not enough. And this is the story I learned when I was in eighth grade.

It was Christmas Day. I was in New York with my family when they decided to take my cousins and I to a rink to skate. Initially, I was excited. However, it was hard to walk on skates even before I was on ice. I found myself in a wobbly stance, and when those blades touched ice, I knew I was done for. The first slip came soon after.

I never had any good experiences with ice during the winter. As I walked to my bus stop, I always made sure to give myself extra time to walk when I knew the sidewalk would be icy. I found myself tiptoeing the cement blocks every winter. This fear intensified after I fell on my back(pack) back in middle school because I did not realize how slippery the bottom of the driveway was. Let’s just say that I laid on the ground and wondered why life was so cruel afterwards.

This premiere trip to the skating rink was even worse. We were there for five hours, so I live to tell the day that five hours is too long. My cousins seemed to do well, but to be fair, they definitely had previous experiences at the rink unlike me. Every fall was a little painful and embarrassing. I had an instance where I was pulled into the middle, but I felt so uneasy, so I skated to a seating area where I spent most of my time. Although, as luck would have it, I ran into the wall instead. (I’m sure people will never forget that). I think a last straw was when I fell over and two little girls who seemed half my age asked if I was okay. I was so horrible at skating that little kids had to ask about my well-being! Thanks to this trip, I was more terrified of dealing with ice, and it left me some bruises to tend to for a week.

So, I was reluctant to go to another skating rink again. The past trauma and the fact that I had foot pain prior to the trip was making this trip seem like a one bad idea after another. However, part of me had some hope the scary feeling would fade. But nope, as soon as those blades were touching smooth ice, I grabbed onto the wall for dear life. I barely made a circle around the rink before I hobbled back to the seating area and began watching Monsters, Inc.

Eventually, I did go back on the ice and went around at least four times. I owe it to the person who gave me some advice about skating. While I do not remember every word, I know that I should not give up even if I am scared. They told me that falling is okay. If I kept holding onto the wall, I would never improve. The wall would surely keep me up, but I have to let go eventually and skate on my own. And in a way, I did. In hindsight, I did improve that night. There were moments when I was able to let go of the wall and push forward. I have a lot of people to thank for that. Not only that, but I only had one fall, which was nothing extreme. It was just a moment where I lost balance, but I caught myself on the wall. However, I was surprised that I just kept going afterwards.

In the end, I learned a lot from this experience. To try something new is often a daunting task. I have to remind myself that I may not be perfect, but I cannot give up after failure. If I want to improve, I have to keep going. If I want to improve, I have to learn to let go and remind myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. It just takes a lot of practice and perseverance. The fear may be there, but it fades away eventually.