Much to my parents dismay I was quite the tomboy in my pre-teen years. Asking for things like rollerblades and a basketball for my birthday and in complete denial that it was time to start wearing a bra. While my friends wanted to go shoe and dress shopping, I was most happy shooting hoops and rollerblading with the boys in my apartment building.
There was a point in my early teen years when I changed schools and none of my new friends were doing any of those activities I loved so dearly so I shut that part of me away. I had forgotten about that rollerblading girl until recently and realised it was time to start nurturing that part of myself again.
So, keeping with the theme to committing to myself this year, I purchased my first skateboard, with all of the protective gear (don’t worry dad!) and booked in for a lesson every Friday night.
After a week of skating my hallway, my first lesson introduced me to the ramp where I learnt how to skate up and down, and turn. I was on a high afterward. Similar to that skydiving feeling (if you’ve ever jumped out of a plane) – but that is a whole other story.
My second lesson totally caught me by surprise. I rocked up thinking we would just do the same as the week before. Oh no, my instructor had more outrageous plans. As I was teetering on the edge at the top of the skate ramp about to execute my first drop off, my heart racing, thinking ‘oh Catherine, do you really want to do this?’ ‘What if you hurt yourself? What if you stack badly?’
I realised these fears are not dissimilar to those that come up in everyday life. Such as before I’m about to take a risk, be vulnerable, put myself out there and on the line. My instructor noticed my fear and apprehension and simply said: ‘it’s all about committing wholly and fully to the drop and trusting you will be ok.’
So, I let go and did it…
My skateboard went flying.
I was fine. I picked myself up and nailed the next 10 while throwing in some turns too. The feeling was exhilarating. I felt free, I felt like my twelve-year-old self again. Skating up and down that ramp in the moment was meditative.
You may be asking yourself, why is she telling me all of this? Is she suggesting that I go out and purchase a skateboard?
No, but you can if you want to.
What I do hope to inspire is for you to look inward, really go deep. Are there parts of you that have been shut out sometime ago because you felt that they didn’t quite fit in? If so what are they? How can you introduce them back into your life? What gifts can they bring to you? What can they show you?
When I started these lessons, I never imagined they would be teaching me how to be more committed, present, mentally stronger, trust in myself and not be afraid to take risks. I never imagined I would find the experience meditative. The sheer excitement I feel on a Friday afternoon knowing that I have my lesson to look forward to fills me up.
Letting go and pushing forward through chaos. You fall down, you get back up, you try again, and again, and again. You’re not doing it for anyone else but yourself. It is this personal joy and sense of achievement, commitment, and honouring parts of yourself that come alive doing the things that bring you joy. Pushing through the fear - be it a first dance lesson, a yoga class, a rock climbing adventure, or doing a fun run.
Whatever it is that is pulling on your inner child heart strings, listen to that voice. By listening, you nurture, you choose you, you fill yourself up.
"Possibilities are a mysterious beauty. They tease us to explore while our inner child cheers because an adventure is waiting" - Jeanne Mcelvaney