Getting Held Back in Sports

I have failed a class before.

This happened when I was 7/8? years old; one of my sisters, my younger brother, and I were enrolled into summer swimming classes at our hometown private pool. I could not perform the strokes and exercises well enough; so, while my brother and sister advanced to the next level, I was held back to try the same level again.

Embarrassed, I reluctantly did the class again and still fared only mediocrely compared to my new classmates. I walked away from swimming that summer feeling like I was stupid for not knowing how to swim properly.

This year, I experienced a similar experience: my family and I went up to Beaver Creek for the Easter holiday. Most of us enrolled into ski school to learn a few things about this winter sport (none of us had really skied much, except for the Montana family). I was ambitious and registered for the whole weekend so I could get as much out of the experience as possible. Plus, I live in Colorado: shouldn’t I be required to know how to ski?

My first day of the class, we were only about 30 minutes into the class and I already felt my insecurities and embarrassment arise as I watched myself fall behind my fellow classmates. My knees locked up as I attempted to maintain balance on my skis; the instructor was patient with me at first, guiding me along while we were still in the practice area.

Then, we went up the gondola so we could practice on more realistic turf with kid skiers and other beginners. I saw my niece and nephew getting the hang of skiing in their little class; meanwhile, I was struggling still to keep up with my classmates. Finally, one of the ski supervisors came up to me and told me how my class instructor decided I needed to have special individual instruction due to my slowness holding back the class.

Again, I felt embarrassed and down on myself. How come I cannot get the hang of this like everyone else? After awhile, though, the supervisor changed my mind and made me practice up and down the conveyor belt area, all the while encouraging me, giving me high-fives when I accomplished successful form and technique.

I ended up skipping out on the ski class for the rest of the weekend, opting instead to have my oldest sister guide me in my skiing form on the last day.

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I talk about these two instances because I want to point out how I freeze up with insecurity when it comes to sports, classes, etc. Perhaps growing up chubby made me feel that I was not capable of doing well in sports like all the ‘normal-sized’ kids out there. I always placed last in the mile run during Presidential Fitness Tests in elementary school; to this day I refuse to play volleyball because I am reminded of how terrible I was in middle school PE classes, serving the ball off to the left and never over the net.

Do I think something is wrong with me? No. Do I think the school system, our society, causes for kids to feel upset/discouraged/embarrassed too easily when it comes to things they are not great at? I’m not completely sure. In this day and age, we are so quick to blame society on problems in the world; but is it fair for me to use society to blame for my insecure feeling when trying sports out? My ski-school experience was definitely an experience, and I kept reminding myself during the first day that my assumptions of my classmates thinking I’m “slow, fat, out of shape” were probably wrong. We’re adults now, right? We can’t be thinking about “Oh, that person is so slow with this sport”, right?

To this day, I can’t help but wonder if, when I do do well with something athletic, if others are cheering me on genuinely or if they’re just cheering me on in a condescending fashion because they’re thinking, “Ha, this overweight girl *actually* did something right?” Maybe I need to examine my own thoughts before I go and make these assumptions again. How do I shake the feelings from childhood though?

My Lack of Cycling: An Outlier?

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Today was Bike to Work Day; needless to say, I did not partake in it because I still have a fear of being out on the road alone like that. I kept thinking today, “If I had a helmet, I’d consider it.” But alas, I do not have one yet.

In recent years, the cyclist culture has taken off: I remember while living in San Francisco, I observed Critical Mass, watching the swarms of cyclists go down Stockton Street by Union Square. Since moving to Denver, I’ve come to know the Denver Cruisers, B-cycle, etc. More and more people are commuting by bikes these days.

I want to ride a bike again; I did a lot of circling around the front yard when I was a kid. I remember the excitement I felt when I transitioned from tricycle to bicycle. I’d show off some moves to my mom and my little brother; once, I leaned over too far and fell over, skinned my knees. Oops.

Perhaps many of you know about my accident in 2010; major head injury and trauma. Since the accident, I have been super cautious about where I’m walking and making eye contact with the drivers when crossing ths street.

When I see cyclists zooming by cars on a red light, or cyclists drinking and messing around with public transit, I become very anxious (and angry). I fear I will see an accident happen before my eyes; I feel angry that the cyclists would be so bold to risk death for a good time, playing chicken with a heavy car or bus.

I know I should not be so fearful for others and for my own venture out with a bike again. But when you almost lose your life once, you want to preserve the second chance you got at life.

And that’s why I’d rather walk or take public transit. Cycling appears too dangerous for my psyche still.

Thoughts About my Upcoming Birthday

Funny how I haven’t blogged since October. Oh well…

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Since the beginning of the year (last week), I’ve been making plans for my birthday.

Not just small plans….BIG PLANS.

 

I’m sure many of my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, wonder why I’m making a big deal out of my birthday. Yes, it IS my birthday, but why all the extra bells and whistles?

 

I’ve been feeling down most of this week with the response I’ve received for a fancy dinner…to the point that just 30 minutes ago I pivoted 180 degrees to have the party at a much lower price point in order to accommodate my guests accordingly.

 

So you wonder….why should I bend to the will of my guests? Shouldn’t they bend to MY will?

Not so, when most of the people I know are broke/have tight budgets.

 

I don’t blame them for this, no way. I too am on a tight budget. But what hurts me more from the declined invitations is the visceral feeling I get: that, to some people, it’s just another birthday party. Just another person’s birthday.

 

I don’t feel this way about my own birthday. In the past three years, I haven’t felt this way about my birthday. Instead, my birthday has become some sort of monument to myself: a super special day, in which I must celebrate to the fullest because of what happened to me in 2010.

 

It’s still an unbelievable story to me, especially since I was not conscious at all during the whole incident. When you nearly lose your life ON your birthday, there’s much to be thankful about and much to celebrate.

This memory is one that I’d like to forget, but it’ll only take time to have the memory go further and further away.

So this is how I’ve felt about my birthday since 2010. A lot of celebration, a lot of appreciation.

 

I don’t want others to think it’s “just another birthday”. I want those who are close to me to know–this is a commemoration of my survival. This is me, defying death, still kicking and fighting on this side of the world.

The Spirit of Halloween…or Lack Thereof.

Halloween 2009: the last time I got dressed up.

Halloween, oh Halloween.┬áTruth be told, I’ve never enjoyed this holiday.

Growing up, my siblings and I didn’t partake in the holiday; we lived in an area where most everybody were college students, so there was no way for us to enjoy trick-or-treating. Our parents still had to work at the restaurant, so there was no adult guardian to get us across town to the family-friendly neighborhoods.

My memory of costumes in childhood is foggy; I only remember doing some Halloween festivities through Girl Scouts or Awana. One year, I got my face painted for Halloween; the following few days, I had an allergic reaction on my face, so I never touched face paint again.

Going into my adult years, I haven’t gone to many costume parties. I honestly find the costumes that stores sell very sexist for women. Always a sexy-little-something. Not my thing. And I haven’t cared to put in hard-earned cash for creating my own costume. What’s the use? It’s a silly holiday to me.

As you can see from the picture in this post, 2009 was the last time I got dressed up. I remember that night was terrible; my friend and I were invited to go to the Bubble Lounge in San Francisco. We figured that public transportation would be the best idea for the night. HA…no. We were miserable trying to get to the Bubble Lounge…and when we arrived there, our friends were so late that we ended up just leaving and hoping to get back to my apartment at a reasonable time. It took forever to get back out to the Outer Richmond. The bus moved very slowly because everybody wanted to pile on. Everybody was either going home from a Halloween party or going to another party. Most patrons were already wasted in costume.

When my friend and I had arrived back at my apartment, we both vowed to each other that we’d never to a Halloween night like that again.

In 2010, I spent my Halloween grocery shopping with my cousin; that was also the same night the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Cars stopped in the streets, honking; people ran out into the streets saying “GO GIANTS!”….The Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'” blared from somebody’s car.

Last year and this year, I will spend Halloween at the NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party. That’s pretty much how my Halloween is going to be from now until I have my own children.

So yes, I don’t celebrate Halloween. I enjoy seeing others’ costumes (if creative and not tasteless); I just don’t care to get into a costume myself and go to wild parties to show off this costume. I’d much rather stay at home and watch Ghost Adventures.

At a Precipice in Life.

Tonight is my final night in San Francisco; then, I will return to Denver where my heart truly belongs.

This trip was meant to be more about business for TAOpivot; however, it quickly became a trip of revisiting my past and having flashbacks to growing pains. I now realize how I really do not belong in this city anymore; that really, Denver has taken me by the hand and stolen me away for good. I don’t mind that. It’s good to close up the old wounds now.

Coincidentally, too, this trip came at a time of great change for me anyway. I hadn’t planned for it that way; I just thought I could duck out of Denver for a week before summer classes. All that has changed now as I go full-time with TAOpivot. I’m following my gut and I pray that this is the right direction to go.

My time here in San Francisco has been good for the past several days; seeing old friends, reflecting on our pasts together….I hear myself talking to them and hear a different Helene than when I lived here. I am more certain, more sure of myself and my direction in life. I see the glow in their faces as I talk about how things have been for me in Denver; I see that I have made the right choices in the past two years.

May the next two years prove to be even better.