Can I just number these ice skating things? Am I really going to have to think of a snazzy title every time?

One of the problems with wanting to do something and wanting to do it well… and then wanting to write about it, is that I’m a much better writer of personal narrative when things aren’t going well.

Which means I probably should have written about skating yesterday, when I couldn’t find my balance, felt like I couldn’t get any purchase on the ice, and just didn’t feel like I was in a friendly space. You can tell me all day long everyone is focused on their own crap, and that’s true, but there are people who look at beginners as nuisances and people who look at beginners as the future. And often, especially when you do everything you can to stay out of the way and not disrupt other people’s skating spaces, it’s not hard to tell which people you are dealing with. And it’s harder, not to sit there and feel like a fool as you watch coaches with business cards approach and flatter and neg advanced skaters into their business clutches.

Not that I should be one of those people yet; not that I envied the socially awkward moment that then ensued for my observation. But being chosen is always to me, a very dark thing, a sense of being towed down into the underworld. Even when it’s winning. Look, I was in a play about Hades and Persephone when I was in second grade and never really recovered. I played a horse on his chariot, and that, let me tell you, felt like the opposite of being chosen

But today, thankfully, was one of the good days in skating. I did feel like my blades were gripping the ice (different rink), I was with a friend (less embarrassing in a “what does she think she is doing?” way), and we made friends (I may be an introvert, but I’m a gregarious one; the story in my head is always about the people who find me).

A couple in their 60s approached us to offer assistance and advice. They wound up helping me try to get swizzles, and practicing balance, and going around the ice with the man in a Killian hold, just to see what it felt like. Things like that are kind. They can feel like pity, especially when your brain is messed up in the way my brain can be, but this was just kind. I want to skate, therefore it is reasonable that I am learning to skate, and of course I will obviously eventually figure it out. Also, they had a great personal story, but it’s not mine to tell in this forum.

Being reasonable for wanting things is always a peculiar sensation for me. Because I rarely want anything reasonably, but also because my reasonable wantings have been met so often with derision. How do you just exist as a beginner — and as a person — when you’re trapped between those truths? I couldn’t possibly tell you.

Tomorrow, I have my learn to skate lesson. At the end of last week I had hoped to make a breakthrough this week, as I had felt on the cusp of being able to skate (instead of march) properly or at least sure I could march onto the rink tomorrow properly to get to my lesson group. That’s probably not going to happen yet. But I won’t be as bad as I was at the beginning of last Sunday. So I’ll take it.

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