Today at the arena I had just gotten off of the ice after an intense practice session. I felt pretty good about the progress I’d made but ultimately I was exhausted and ready to go home, tired and downcast despite the endorphins racing though my bloodstream. It has been a rough few weeks, actually a long year and it can be hard in all of that to remember that you’re a person, outside of everything that is going wrong or making you feel small, that you are still a person, just as important in this world as anyone else, your boss, your coach, or any person who treats you less than you should be. In all of that it’s easy to forget that we are special, individual, not cookie cutter, but honest and real people who are valuable and have a purpose regardless if that purpose serves everyone else’s idea of ideal.
Anyways, as I was walking back to the lobby a young mother turned to me from lacing up her daughter’s skates, getting her ready for CanSkate with her helmet and snow pants on and an orange name tag. The mother asked me how long I’ve been skating. I answered that I was 5 when I began in the old arena next door and have now been skating for almost 18 years. She then turned to her daughter and said “See this girl here? She’s a real figure skater. When you’re a real figure skater you get to wear cute dresses like hers!” We then stood and talked for a few moments and I went on to tell her that I too had started in CanSkate with a helmet and snow pants of my own and if she worked hard she too could be a “real figure skater”.
As I walked away what she had said stuck with me. “See this girl? She’s a real figure skater.” A REAL figure skater, me. And I suddenly realized that I had accomplished something incredible and hadn’t realized it until that moment. When you’re out there there’s always someone better, someone higher than you, more dances to get, more goals to accomplish and its easy to become lost in that feeling like you’re just another skater, you’re just one of a million working on the same levels, the same ice surface and towards the same goals. But I’m a “real figure skater”. That’s all I’ve wanted to be since I can remember, since I first laced up my first pair of pink skates and I thought about how the 5 year old little girl I was would see me, how she would be amazed at my skills and want to grow up to be a real figure skater like me. It’s amazing to me that I missed the fact that I accomplished my biggest dream. I am a real figure skater.
This may seem very long winded and a little strange but after the year I’ve had, all of the things I’ve had to struggle through, that mom’s words made me proud of who I am. I may not be married with kids, I may not have traveled the world and explored castles and villages, I may not be a doctor or a nurse and I may not even be going to school or even planning to but I am a “real” figure skater and that accomplishment is amazing to me. That is me. This is me. This is who I am. Sometimes the biggest things can be overlooked, lost in the sea of troubles and hard times, of jobs and school, of stress and pain. Don’t lose sight of who you are, of the goals you’ve had since you were a child. Be proud to be you. As Dr. Seuss said: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There’s no one alive who is yourer than you.”