Bravery’s Black Ice

Bravery’s Black Ice

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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!

14 Comments
  • Christie Giacomozzi
    Posted at 14:40h, 11 January Reply

    Hi Tracey! Can I tell you what I’m wondering about? Rather than it being about the hockey players who will inevitably knock you down, I’m thinking it’s really about those fellow figure skaters who totally ‘get it’….who are on the ice learning….from and with you……how to be our most vulnerable, daring and authentic selves. With each individual act of bravery comes the beautiful side effect of all of us on the ice learning with you that we have permission to be brave too….that we are safe and we are beautiful when we sit with our truth (no matter how unsightly) and most of all….we are not alone. I’m wondering if the beauty and love felt between just one connection with you and a fellow ice-skater drowns out 1,000 mean-spirited hockey players. I am just one who is learning from you and gathering my courage to express my own truth in my own way……big hugs and a shoulder to support you as you bravely continue onto the ice!

  • Katherine Lightner
    Posted at 14:55h, 11 January Reply

    Tracey, I love how brave and honest this is. And bless you for encouraging your daughter to be so brave as well.

  • Suki
    Posted at 15:05h, 11 January Reply

    Don’t be intimidated by people who disagree with you.
    This brave thing is for people like you who are wondering if someone else feels that way. It’s hard to share the true essence of one’s being, but it empowers too.
    To support, to love your own being and to discouver who you really are. Like Katherine Center wrote ” you have to be brave with your life so others can be brave with theirs”.
    Your words are for you first. Nobody else.

  • Lisa Damrosch
    Posted at 16:46h, 11 January Reply

    Oh baby…. I hear you loud and clear. I gave up on blogging some time ago…and I miss it in so many ways…but I felt like if it wasn’t real, why bother. And every time I think about going back and going real….real gets scary. Thank you for calling that out and for once again making me think, and wonder, and for inspiring me as always to push my boundaries. XO and Happy New Year.

  • Blissmamaof3
    Posted at 18:44h, 11 January Reply

    Maybe you are just not ready, only you will know when and if you want to share more about your life. In the meantime? You have been missed and we’ll be here when and if you want to talk. Take care, my good friend 🙂

  • Marcie
    Posted at 03:09h, 12 January Reply

    I’m definitely one to wear thick padding when treading on thin ice….asking myself the same brave questions as you’re asking here. I’m right there along side you…listening.

  • Tracey
    Posted at 16:43h, 12 January Reply

    Thank you all so much, your support means everything!!

  • rakusribut
    Posted at 12:44h, 14 January Reply

    thanks for this post, tracey, especially for the link to your reframed blog. will try to follow that as well
    tell your daughter that i absolutely love her teen truths, so clever and funny and insightful, the way she formulates and presents them!
    will translate them and spread them around here in the netherlands, there surely are loads of parents over here who will appreciate them :-()
    and yes, people might be nasty if you show your weak spots. but there will always be loads more who’ll love you for it. i’ll most certainly be among them
    helga

  • christine
    Posted at 19:22h, 15 January Reply

    Hockey is maybe not the right analogy…. too aggressive and abrasive… maybe we’re waiting to enjoy sharing and being with you…. not judgemental and punishing… but a haa—ing and breathing…take it slow!

  • Hillary
    Posted at 20:22h, 25 January Reply

    I am reading your recent words and sending much, much love to you Tracey.
    My teacher always says, “When you disagree with reality, you create your own suffering.”
    Perhaps the reality here is that, in spite of your courageous intention and resolution, you just aren’t quite ready to make this step? It’s great to face the fear and do it anyway, sure. We all need to nudge ourselves sometimes. AND we can balance that with gentleness. Please be gentle with yourself, as you would with your best friends and beautiful family.
    I’m sure you know all this. Just wanted to embrace you with my care and concern for you.
    You are so loved. You are awesome just as you are. You are enough.
    Take all the time you need. We will be here when you’re ready.
    xH

  • Erin O.
    Posted at 19:47h, 29 January Reply

    Do whatever feels right for right now. Ultimately we have to be comfortable in these spaces, but remember…you’re already brave. There is bravery in being “Pollyanna”…in being the cheerleader…in being the optimist. Do and share what enriches YOU and the rest will fall into place.

  • life in eden {amy}
    Posted at 07:56h, 30 January Reply

    Oh dear Tracey! I’ve been out of touch and just now catching up on all your latest.

    First — Cudos to your teen for being brave and honest. It certainly was clear to me that this list wasn’t meant 100% literally! I heard a cry for a little understanding and compassion and tempered expectations toward someone struggling into adulthood. Don’t listen to the negative. Just don’t.

    Second — I totally understand your entire angst. It is mostly why I stopped blogging too. When I first started I was anonymous. And I didn’t realize how much freedom I had given up when I became “known.” I thought I was so empowered and ready to be ME! Then I realized that while the connections made in the past were still the same wonderful supportive ones, it became hard to feel safe out there as the “real” me. And then there is all the overlap on those around you when you are right out in the open. I can understand the whole push-pull of blogging. The good news for me is that I too have decided to jump back into the fray. I may not share every single little detail (I live in a small town after all, of course sometimes that means everyone knows everything anyway!), but I do plan on trying hard to be myself. All of me.

    keep taking small steps. just remember to ware your pads, they’re a nice cushion when you fall on that ice. and don’t forget to sharpen your skates — it makes for smoother going and plus when you step on the toes of those enforcers its a little more effective 🙂

  • christine
    Posted at 20:06h, 02 February Reply

    HI Tracey, It’s groundhog day …. so you can claim the winter reprieve for another six weeks…. it was sunny here…. and I suspect likely also too in CA . Just a reminder… teens are often really nasty,( hope your daughter is weathering the heavy winds…) those of us who are older… well… my sister said it well… ” I think I’m getting kinder in my old age.” I think you are also likely a little too busy to be over exposed… grin… take care… I’m watching here to see and be here when you return!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 12:04h, 04 February Reply

    It can be so difficult to throw ourselves into the rink of vulnerability. Padding and gloves off. Fully exposed. Yet it can also be so liberating. You have taught me this. Yes, you. Through your I am enough series. The story is shared held deep shame for me. And It was hard to put out there. But once I did a weight was lifted. If naysayers came I prepared myself to not let them get under my skin, because the story of my life isn’t for their criticism It is my life. A tale of falling down and getting back up again. Hurt mixed in with elation. Being in such a public forum can be difficult because everyone is a critic. But what is beautiful is the wide expanse if your reach. The ability to connect with others and let them know that they are not alone. For me, this makes it all worth it.

    Sending you so much love as you step into this. Know how much you inspire others and push them forward.

    P.s. I could not imagine going through that with kids. It must be heartbreaking. We can only do our best to teach them to see the beauty in the,selves and their story, because that is what is most important.

    Xox

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