Remembering Roller Skates

Roller Skating.  Further proof things never change…

Roller skates from an exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Roller skates from an exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

I was five.  It was a kindergarden field trip to the roller rink in Augusta, Maine.  My mother was a chaperone with a bunch of other mothers.  It was the first time I had ever worn roller skates.  So, like most 5 year olds strapping wheels to their feet, I fell.  A lot.

But I kinda liked it…

I worked my way around the ring a couple times hanging onto the railing, falling all over it, watching the better skaters spin by fast without falling, moving their skates in time to “Manic Monday”.  And I couldn’t figure out what about this was supposed to be fun.  I kept wondering why people did this and I felt disappointed and tethered to the wall.

And then I saw that center ring.

The one where the really good skaters would do their tricks unencumbered by people whizzing past or railings and safety measures.  There weren’t that many good skaters in the rink that day, so I decided I’d take that open space and fly off my tether, away from the crowd.

And of course I fell.

Oh.  I fell.  And fell.  And fell.  And fell some more…

And then it changed.

All in a moment what I was doing ceased to be a frustrating exercise in futility, and it started taking on a shape and journey of its own…  All of a sudden I felt the rush of my body through air, the crash on my ass/stomach/side, and the realization that this, THISwas funny.  And exhilarating.  And I was completely ok after falling.  And I could do fun, funny things with each fall.  I could crash and slide and sprawl and leap and crumple and fly and split and heap!  Over and over I yelled to my mom “Hey!  Look at this one!”  I was high on it.  Flying.  Crashing.  Feeling my body under me.  Pushing past physical and fearful limits and making something from the ridiculous game of wheels on your shoes.  It was my own.

Another parent came up to my mother at some point and said “I don’t think Karin really gets it, does she?”.  My mother replied “Oh no, she gets it alright.  She just gets it in her own way.”

I think about this when I think about kink, about masochism, about pain and social construct.  I think about stories like this one from my childhood (and there are many like this one) when I consider the role that conquering fear has had in my lifetime.  Or conquering boredom, or chasing an experience, or embracing curiosity…

I have never not been who I am.

To Breath and Being,
~ Karin

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~Thank you.


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