I put my rollerskates on for the fourth time today.
The first time I put them on was in the house.
The second time was at this same park, two Fridays ago. I was too nervous to venture too far from the pole. I think it took me longer to put all my protective gear on than I spent trying to skate. Here I am.
The third time was last Saturday outside at home, when I practiced getting up and down from the concrete, as I’d seen in tutorial videos on YouTube.
And today, Adam and I went to the park. I got a tiny bit more confidence to skate further from the pole this time.
Adam captured a little of it on video. I look so scared. So wobbly. So not good. But also proud that I did more than last time – fiery
I skated up and down and around the barbecue area (socially distanced of course)
I had a fall – as I held onto the pole. I fell and knocked my head – thank goodness for the helmet – and my side hurts from pushing against the pole. I laughed a lot and got back up. (Unfortunately Adam didn’t get that on video but I wish he had.)
A man and his little girls looked worried and said “ooh be careful”, which of course made me unsteady.
I almost didn’t put this video up. I was scared of being laughed at, even though I laughed at myself.
As I was putting the video together, chuckling to myself about my concentration face, I realised something.
We don’t show ourselves practicing a lot on social media. We don’t show the wobbles and the falls and the concentration faces and the tears. I don’t anyway – and don’t much from others.
When I put a piece of writing online, it’s often gone through one or two or more drafts. Sometimes – like this post – I write and upload straight away.
When I put a photo on social media, it’s usually the best one or two of several.
When I do a speech, I’ve usually read through it several times; and when I upload a video, it’s often the third recording that I get right.
I’ve been using social media a long time – and blogging even longer. All of the cumulative work has been of course an apprenticeship for writing for the media and other exciting work. I got good through practice.
But you don’t often see me practice. You don’t often see me stumble. You don’t often see how nervous I am – not just with rollerskating but other things too. And you don’t often see me show you something I’m not objectively good at. That’s not a brag, nor to say I’m good at everything. I’m not. But I really only put completed things online, you know? And so do most others I know.
So here it is. Me practicing, a little vulnerable, very scared, no flattering angles, and with the knowledge that I’m not very good at all.
As I got up after tying up my skates, a woman said to her little girls “look at her go!” as they walked along the river. She was so excited to tell me her girls have skates on the way.
“This is my only fourth time, my second time moving. I’m not very good”, I told her.
“You’ve gotta start somewhere”, she said.
I’m so glad I got that bit of encouragement today.
Video: a woman with a red face and short dark curly hair under a purple helmet, wearing a floral dress, and all the padding. She’s rollerskating hesitantly – feeling scared and wobbly and accomplished all at once. She’s in a park, skating on concrete. A river and car park are on either side of her.