This past weekend was full of playtime.
I spent my Saturday trekking from Jersey to Brooklyn, later stopping by Brooklyn Museum to check out another month of Target First Saturdays. Despite the pouring rain and running to and from the museum as if that would somehow help (lol), I came out later in the eve to enjoy some poetry readings, a musical performance, and an inspiring book reading by Morgan Parker.
Parker's words often resulted in a roar of claps and finger-snaps. I went to her book signing at the museum shop. I walked up to her *before the signing* and asked how I could work my way into this writing world, assuming the answer would be obvious. She said something better than my thoughts:
"Don't stop. Read a lot. Read everything."
I'm not a voracious reader. I admit it all the time. I guess I expected her to say something more specific to people. But nah. This writing game is all the way internal!
On Sunday, I only planned to play football at the park...until I reached out to an old buddy and had a sudden change of plans.
I met Nina on the 2 train to Brooklyn a few months ago; she's a skater who spoke to me and my roommate while on her board with an open heart and steady footing. We met up with her yesterday for an afternoon of skating (and falling) in an indoor park.
If you're wondering how falling helps the anxiety prone, details are below.
Google says anxiety is "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome." A-ha!
Times when I'm in control of the outcome:
When I facilitate; when I dance in the middle of the floor; when I get on stage to read a poem.
In these moments, I know my stuff's ready--I'm set to be seen, heard or watched, and I'm ready to make mistakes and roll with 'em. The results are in my hands.
Times when I lack control over the outcome:
When I'm walking to the train; when I'm walking from the train to work; when I'm leaving my apartment; when I'm walking into unfamiliar spaces alone.
In these cases, I'm not ready to be seen, heard or watched. I'm uncomfortable with the targeted gaze of other people, not knowing what they're capable of and if I'd be able to bear it. (See, that’s the anxiety and New Yorker-ness talking.)
Since starting therapy, this day-to-day anxiety has immensely lightened. These past couple of months were my first times walking alone without the accompaniment of a beating heart and uncertain hips. I've started walking calmly, and it...
Feels good! For my anxious folk, learning to skateboard is a crash course (heh) into being observed and conquering the uncertainties.
Yesterday was my first time hopping on a skateboard on non-carpeted flooring. LOL. I knew I'd meet the ground at some point, but making it across the pipe (the flat part, not the incline -- hah!) felt like a cool whoosh of air: invigorating, enveloping, freeing.
The more I skated, the "faster" (*LOL*) I went. I learned how to break, how to push off without another person's hands, and eventually, I kind of learned to turn. The turning evolved into me going up the slightest piece of ramp. Eventually, I learned how to stay on the board while coming back down! 😂
I fell, and I fell hard. BUT YOUR BODY can't learn without the fall(s). (emphasis on the -S.) two falls & many fumbles LATER:
Skateboarding will help your anxiety if you're OK with not being completely ready.
Skateboarding is a practice of falling; your butt and wrists will suffer (and maybe your back, too, if you're really ambitious!). But can you dust yourself off and shake the twinge of a new bruise? Are you cool with laughing at yourself? Are you ready to ease your heart as those wheels start turning?!?!
It can be scary, But that's 90% of the fun.
Skateboarding is all adrenaline. The imminent disaster somehow builds your confidence, even within a newb like myself. And I'm sure it's nauseating, even for skaters with years of practice. How so? Skaters are always conquering something new--a new rail, a new park, higher heights, better tricks.
Skateboarding = uncomfortable. And that's the beauty of it.
At first glance, many of us think skaters have a naturally calm appearance. Nina, the skater friend from the 2 train, told me skaters have a lot going on inside their heads, and that they skate to become the chill we see.
we all need outlets. This is Nina:
She's been skating for seven years. She wants to see more women out here doing it, and I'm looking to be one of them! Maybe not as fearlessly, but I look forward to making it down the block. 😂!
Nina's a part of this dope group of young women skaters called The Skate Kitchen. They're in a short film, and The New York Times took some fly photos of 'em. That NYT slideshow is everything. Plz look.
After a few hours on wheels, I left excited and eager to keep learning though excited to be back on stable ground 😆I came home after hours of football at the park and needed to ice my *clearly* aging body. I fell asleep with an ice pack on my left knee, and I'm ok with that. See, accepting the outcomes!
I'm looking forward to skating next weekend and the weekend after that and the next and the next and the...
I want this one!!!!!!!!!
Comment below if you dug this post! Hoping someone brings a skateboard to today's 4th o' July festivities… Trying to practice as much as poss.
And here's Nina, the 19-year-old that got me moving. Since I'm about that advocacy, this link has my last post about familiar words and phrases that sexual violence survivors say. Talk to me here, and read more about bklynprose here!