Friday morning I took a slam. It wasn't the first time I have been hurt skateboarding, but those times I fell. This was a SLAM.
I was playing around in what is known as the big bowl. I've been progressing and working on a little bit of carving. Working my way across an incline, only sideways. More and more each time. It's been fun and stretching myself has really helped me understand how the physics of this ridiculous wooden rectangle on wheels work. I have to be so present when trying something new, one of the reasons I have come to love skateboarding. It is being. Not doing. When my mind wanders, I get tripped up and one way or another end up not on my board.
Trying something new in skateboarding takes all my focus and interestingly enough, makes me think that what used to feel challenging for me, is no longer. And that's where skateboarding proves you wrong. It wasn't during one of the carves that I took a slam. It was while skating around a flat part of the bowl that I have skated around for months now. My board hit a small pebble that I didn't see and at a nice speed my board stopped short and I kept going. I flew through the air and landed on concrete. And it hurt. Luckily my pads broke most of my fall, but I still have a ripped pair of pants and a nice palm bruise to show for it.
And yet, it wasn't terrible.
And it was full of lessons I was not expecting.
A few things I learned.
Failure can feel alright.
I wasn't devastated about falling. Or even getting hurt. It happened fast and I was prepared. My board was in good shape, I had on all my pads, and I knew what to do to help with my healing once we got home. Failure is part of this sport. Everyone fails. Some fail for a moment, some a really long time. And pretty much everyone gets back up and tries again. No one gets a trick on the first try. Failure is inevitable in skateboarding and woven into the fabric of the process. And maybe that's the case with everything else too. Failure is part of the process of everything. And sometimes it feels just fine. We forget that.
My body is just like everyone else's body.
This might not sound the least bit profound to you, but part of living in my body is to have spent a lifetime negotiating by what seems to be a different set of rules. My system is complex. And I don't really get away with just not paying attention to what I put in my body. INTENTIONAL in all caps is the way I function best. And this can be exhausting.
But there was something about being thrown through the air that made me feel different. Like I wasn't too tall or too big or too much to be thrown. I was tossed from that board just like everyone else. And I fell with bruises just like everyone else. They weren't bigger. They weren't worse. I was no more sensitive to being thrown than anyone else. I would heal like everyone else. And somehow that made me feel free.
Seemingly small things can trip you up.
I took a slam doing something very ordinary that I spent a good amount of time learning to do and yet, I was thrown. This seems like such a metaphor for the process of change. I've learned how to spot possible hazards, learned how to respond best. Learned to wear my pads. And still. SLAM.
There will always be small things tripping us up. But the point is, that I failed less than I would have, had I not learned something. Had I not learned to wear my pads and help my body respond to the task at hand. And that means change has occurred. Even though the pebble happened anyway.
Failure makes us better.
Wouldn't you know that when I got back on my board yesterday, I could do things I couldn't do before. I had learned something. Whether it was from the slam itself or slowly working on stretching my abilities. My body was able to improve my push, which I had been in a stuck place with for a while. The slam shook it out of me. Made me look at things differently. Got me paying attention again. The simple fact that the slam happened and now I know what that looks and feels like is BIG. Failure, been there.