Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Portrait on Skates


This is not me, and I can't even take credit for the photo, but it captures how I'm feeling. Last night, our youth group from church had their annual ice-skating night at a local rink. I was driving my daughter and some friends and was just going to stay for the evening. I hooked up with another mom and we chatted and watched the kids skate. True to my personality, I couldn't stand to only watch. I went down and joined in for the second hour of the session. I used to skate regularly and loved the feeling of gliding along. In my own impetuous way, I practiced a bit, chatted with my young friends, and got more and more comfortable with the skates. I had some truly lovely moments where I felt that old, smooth, gliding freedom. It was truly fun.

Here is the other side of the coin, though and the part I've been thinking about rather philosophically: In between all those moments of grace and feeling free, I fell at least 5 times in that hour. It might be more than that, because I definitely have more than 5 bruises. I fell spectacularly, either face first or on my bottom, sliding and spinning and getting completely covered in ice. A couple of times the pain from the impact was bad enough that I could feel my blood pressure dropping to the point that I might faint if I didn't sit down. I felt ridiculously embarrassed, I felt mad at myself for going to fast and not being more cautious, I felt silly for being 41 and wanting to skate in the first place, etc., etc. I wished desperately that I could be like others who were being cautious, and careful. They were going slow, but they weren't falling down. In spite of all these things flitting through my head, I kept getting up and going back out on the ice. I seemed unable to just cut my losses, preserve my remaining limbs and be content to watch. I am equal parts chagrined at myself and proud of myself. I never know when to give up, to say uncle, to cut and run. Once I'm in, I'm in. But now, as I nurse two very sore wrists, one of which I'm certain is sprained or even broken, look at plate-sized bruises on my hips and feel my bruised knees get stiff just typing this, I wonder when I'll let go of my stubbornness, my need to constantly prove myself, and my insatiable curiosity. Were those few moments of loveliness worth it? I don't know. The consequences will be with me for a while. Are my pains evidence of positive character traits or negative ones? Am I tenacious and spunky or just a fool? In real life, I make so many stupid mistakes because I can't just sit and watch. Are the mistakes really worth it? I've asked myself these questions for as long as I can remember. Who knows if I'll ever figure out the answers.

11 comments:

  1. Well I for one admire your grit. I'm definitely in the "go slow and don't fall down" group, or more likely in the spectator group. I hope the aches and pains go away soon, and hold on to that "loveliness"--you earned it!

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  2. I know how you feel. I am having such a hard time slowing down while I've been pregnant. The other day I went all out while playing Wii Boxing (I know, it sounds so low-key!), and I ended up having contractions and round ligament pains for 2 hours for it! Did that stop me from continuing to play? No way. So I feel your pain. (if not necessarily in your wrist!!) I'll be watching for you on the Amazing Race soon with one of your children.

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  3. well i admire your desire to jump in and seize the moment - even if you're paying for it now. i hope there is nothing seriously wrong with your wrists and you feel up to skating again quickly! :)

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  4. You are so funny! My first time ice skating was taking our youth a couple years ago. I only went out because Mendy dragged me out and I didn't let go of her the whole time while I yelled at her to slow down. I wish I had your courage. Hope all your parts heal!

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  5. kudos to you for getting up and skating in spite of the falls :)

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  6. I broke my wrist one time on the ice, and one time skating! Now I have a huge fear of ice skating and I haven't been for years. I know I need to get over it and just keep trying. I actually am starting to think about going with my hubby one day (that's a big step for me!). Anyway, I think it's a great characteristic that you have. I always think about Abraham Lincoln and all the times he "fell" or was "pushed down" and he never gave up and eventually became president! Maybe someday you will be our first lady president. I would definitely vote for you! (:

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  7. I love you Kellie. We can't all be elegant on the ice, and you have so MANY other talents. I love that you kept getting back up :)

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  8. Ah, Kellie. You make me smile. And laugh so hard my eyes water. I truly hope you don't have a sprained/broken wrist. You are definitely young at heart. I'm such a scaredy cat with skating and skiing, but give me an inner-tube and a hill and I will act the fool. And that deer picture is fabulous!

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  9. I know what you mean, whilst in the States we had the unknown pleasure of lots of snow so took up sledding...
    How hard can it be? Everytime I went on the boogy board i had a smash one was so hard on concrete i was seeing stars another a wooden sled went straight into my head. But the constant nagging in my head to get up and do it again tends to win, often to the detriment of my poor body. Like you I am not sure it's always a good thing

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  10. I am inspired by your spunk Kellie!! Good for you to get up and keep going! I really hope your sore wrists heal up quickly!!

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  11. Ahhhh the feel of the wind as it whips through your hair... then the feel of the pain as you lond on your tailbone!! You should have put a picture of that fracture!!

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Thank you for sharing your insights!