Monday, December 20, 2010

Visting my old (fat) life

This week I decided to go to my figure skating club's Holiday party. It always includes a free skating session so I decide to finally get back on the ice. I was scared though because it's been years... so many years that I am not sure how long it's been... at least three years, maybe closer to four. I also had no skating outfits that fit any more.

When I skated before I wore workout clothes mostly. I did have some of those "one-size-fits-all" ribbon skirts. But they didn't actually fit me. So I had to wear two of them -- one for the back and one for the front. I could get leotards that kind of fit me to wear underneath and the largest skating tights kind of fit too. (Luckily this stuff is stretchy.) But I couldn't buy off-the-shelf skating dresses, not even online, as even the biggest sizes didn't fit me. If I wanted a nice dress to test in or compete in, I had to get it custom-made. Since that's expensive, I only had three skating dresses the entire decade and a half that I skated.

At this point, once I got rid of everything no longer fit me, I was left with some ribbon skirts. I realized that I needed a new leotard to wear under them and I was excited that I might actually be able to find one easily at a local store that sold dance and skating wear. I might even have choices and not just have to buy the only one that fit!

On the way to the store, I had a big 'ah ha' moment. I didn't have to buy a leotard -- I could probably find an actual skating dress - an off-the-shelf dress that wasn't made for me! I was so excited. Though my excitement was tempered somewhat by the fact that most skating dresses assume you won't wear a bra under them which doesn't really work for me and also the choices for adults are slim. Plus I'd  probably be a medium or even a large in a skating dress size because they are so tiny and anything larger than an Adult Small are thin on the ground.

But I was hopeful and I went to the store and found four dresses in my size! One of them fit quite well and was very sparkly. Score! I bought it and a black leotard (so I can wear the ribbon skirts too). I even got them to take 25% off the sparkly dress because it had a small rip in it. Double score!

I consider this a big milestone because even though I've been shopping in regular sizes for a long time, skating and dance-wear is in its own little universe. So being a "normal" size in this store, not feeling remotely out of place or like the sales clerks were wondering what I was doing there, is an accomplishment.

At the party, I was so nervous to get back on the ice. I knew I'd suck at first and I wasn't sure how fast I could pick back up my skills. When I first hit the ice, my mind wanted to do what it used to -- I skate like Kristi Yamguchi in my mind -- but my body wouldn't cooperate. I started out all stiff and kind of bent over like the beginners who drag themselves around the rink by the wall. At least I wasn't hanging on but I had so much trouble skating on one foot.

I thought to myself that I guess I wasn't going to get very many of my skills back at all but then I was standing up straight. Pretty soon I was actually really stroking a lot and not skulling and doing swizzles (two foot skating they teach you the first day of class). Then I tried a crossover/progressive. Yikes! But eventually I was doing them too. But only in one direction.

Every time I tried something, it was dismal at first and I told myself that I couldn't do it. But eventually I was doing it. By then end, I was doing acceptable, but not stellar stroking, progressives in both directions, inside and outside rolls, chasses and even sort of kind of did a mohawk. No three-turns, no backwards skating except swizzles, and no Dutch Waltz. But I was [i]comfortable[/i] on the ice skating on one foot. Sort of.

Also, my skates are too big. I guess my feet have shrunk after all. This is a recent phenomena as I was buying 6.5 and 7s, just like I always have, until just a few weeks ago when I had to get a 6 because the 6.5 was falling off my feet. I was able to get my skates tight enough to get by but I think I will have to put some inserts into them, if I'm going to keep skating.

On interesting observation I had is that I am hampered in my skating by being afraid of falling. I am fearless on the bike -- sometimes to the point of stupidity -- but not on the ice. I don't like that feeling. I also noticed that the voice in my head when I skate is a lot more negative than my triathlon voice. This also bugged. I don't like being afraid and I don't like being a "can't" person. I need to conquer this and it heightened my feeling that I have unfinished business in skating.

I also was brought back more to my former fat self. A lot of people report that even though they've lost tons of weight, they still feel obese. I never really had this problem and I assumed it was because I never really accepted that I was obese. However, I am wondering now if I was aided by the fact that my life changed very drastically. Sure I have the same family and job but my job situation changed a lot and my non-job life changed almost 180 degrees. Being in a situation where I was fat before and not feeling comfortable while my friends whizzed around on the ice brought back a lot of those old feelings of inadequacy and being an impostor -- someone pretending to be a figure skater when she didn't have the talent or skills that everyone else had.

Therefore, I told everyone I wanted to come back and pass my bronze dances. I told people so I had to do it. I think I can get all my skills back quickly enough that I could pass the Bronze dances by Feb. and then I can switch into triathlon training as the days get longer and less cold. I think if I skate occasionally during triathlon season, I can keep my skills up but no progress. If I can keep up enough skills to do Bronze dances in a social dance setting, I'd be happy.
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