11 Jan Bravery’s Black Ice
As I sit here looking at a blank page wondering how I earth I actually get up the courage to do what it is I have vowed to do this year (reveal more of me, struggles and all) I get a painful and jarring body check from the Universe. Remember Tracey, the internet can be like a hockey rink; you DO know what will happen when you remove your protective gear. Ugh. Oh, yea. No wonder I’m sitting here scared to push off in a wobbly effort to move forward. It’s hard enough skating on the ice, let alone taking hits from the other people in the rink without getting bloodied up.
Call it a bad decision or a blessing in disguise but as I was biding my time, hoping Courage would come save me from myself and write a brave post about me coming out of the closet—so to speak—(more on that later) I tried to distract myself by popping over to Reframed, the blog I sometimes share with my teenager. I stupidly read the mean spirited comments left on her last post—hand hits forehead, why, why why did I look?—and as the fire of shame and anger rose from my toes to my ears I heard that patronizing voice, “See what happens when you’re brave? Don’t you dare skate out onto that ice unless you’re ready to play a long, hard game against the opposing team. They will chew you up and spit you out.” See, my daughter was being brave when she wrote her list of Teen Truths. And I encouraged her to take it to the ice; expressing herself, in earnest; part humor, part angst, and other parents rushed in all suited-up in attempts to slam her down on the ice. Gulp.
Looking back to when I began to blog, I realize, I didn’t sign up for hockey. I signed up for figure skating. Alas, ice is ice and it can be as cold, hard and dangerous as it can be smooth, poetic and beautiful. And although I was kind of picturing sparkly costumes and triple toe loops, the truth is, on the ice, I’m more like the girl who is just trying to make it around the rink at least one time without falling on her freezing cold butt during the “all skate” while mouthing the words to Open Arms by Journey. It’s painful to watch, I know.
Now, going back to what I said about this maybe being a blessing? Well, I do think I need the reminder that things do change dramatically in a public space when you’re as authentic as you can be. I can’t enter in thinking that opening myself up will mean people will be more kind and gentle with me because, well, it’s the right thing to do. When you’re open and vulnerable, unsteady and exposed you’re an easy target. When you’ve got your shoulder pads and face mask on, you’re protected from the cold and the rough. When you don’t, you’re not. The question is, knowing all of this, do I want to keep skating and in what capacity?
Well, I may not ever skate on the Olympic team but I’m going to stick with it and even try to learn a Hamill Camel while I’m at it, if that tells you anything. Let’s lace up!