Basically, I went roller skating last Saturday night. I was invited along with another friend to go late at night so that we could make the most of our weekend. I was down for the adventure. I had in-lined skated most of my life and I was willing to learn how to do the famous four wheeler. We got there and the place was filled with older folks. Like my parent’s age old.
I scoffed at the competition, and was actually more worried about hurting these folks while I imagined myself zipping and whipping through them. WRONG.
1. I got on the rink and was already feeling my knees lock and my legs ready to slip and fly up into the air.
2. These 50 year olds? Yeah, definitely have been doing this pastime for years.
That night was like a dream. I remember fumbling and stumbling my way along the rink trying to get used to the four wheels while I stared in awe, mouth agape at the 55 year old man who performed a double axle turn. While I watched 3 older men do an intricate step in a synchronized manner. While I watched a woman who definitely had children who were college age, sashay to the left and right, occasionally skating backwards while the rhythms of the 80s reverberated through the rink. While I watched another man break dance in the middle of the rink. All these people had one thing in common, they were doing more than just skating. They were creating art. The floor and their skates were one.
I saw men holding the waists of women as an Al Green song blared over the speakers and they skated off into the distance, their wheels in sync with one another. Each step that man took, the woman followed and let him lead. The man would skate backwards and she would hold his hands letting him twirl and twist her in harmony with the notes.
While I pushed myself forcefully forward to gain momentum, they simply leaned from side to side, swirled their hips and clapped their hands making it seem like it was effortless. I felt my inferiority turn into admiration. I stopped for a moment to stand back and watch all these people and it was like watching them in their natural element. Combined with the 80s tunes of the day, and their movement, they looked so young, so beautiful, so youthful. I didn’t expect a night to turn out like this. One woman, who clearly was taken away by the tune of Kaci and Jojo, had her eyes closed, hair whipping around in the wind and her hips swaying to the music while skating backwards flawlessly and effortlessly, I wish I had brought my camera to take a snapshot of this woman. She struck me hard.
This wasn’t a supermodel. This wasn’t a Seventeen magazine celebrity. This was a middle aged, normal, and healthy African American woman who for that moment in time looked like the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen. She oozed with confidence while she closed her eyes and felt the music through her wheels. It seemed as if the whole rink had acknowledged her presence enough to not bump into her and so she didn’t even need to open her eyes to watch where she was going. The level of love that she had for herself and her body was so apparent that I felt some of that transcend over to me.
I found myself actually stopping to emulate her. Of course, as an amateur skater, I fell numerous times, yet I got back up again determined to make myself as attractive as this woman. Right then, an older man skated right up to me and stopped me from causing another fall onto my butt. He took both my hands and began to lead me. He skated backwards and led me forward.
“You got to learn how to skate forward before you do it backwards.” he smiled and he put his right hand in mine and his left hand on my arm, ballroom style.
“Don’t push yourself. Let the skates move you. Left, right, left, right.” he instructed. And he took me around the rink probably 6 times until I understood the rhythm of the skates.
By the end of the night, I felt extremely satisfied. I had to forgo control over myself trying to be the best at the rink to just letting myself be. I skated around, but I watched and was inspired. I watched and took note on these people and took note about myself. I am a person that likes to have things in a neat plan so that I can follow it. This is the second time in my life where my character quirks have translated into my performance (the first time was at a salsa night–by the end of the night, I was twirling, dipping and sashaying thankfully). So yet again, this was like salsa night only now on skates. I think it’s amazing how I always found out more things about myself the more I put myself out there to try new things. I never intentionally go into anything thinking that I’m going to come out with a moral of a story, but inevitably I do.
I think that, that night showed me that while I am on the right path to being free, to being totally transparent, and less of a controlling person, I still am on a journey. I am moving towards a destination, and with each day I have to consciously choose to work on myself or forego everything in order to stay in my comfort zone. I like the first option better. 🙂