My relationship with skateboarding has been quite strained recently. It has been creating far more frustration than joy. This mood is spilling over into other aspects of my life. I am probably not a fun person to be around right now.
The problem is expectation, reality, and the vast, empty chasm between. It has been eleven months since I broke my leg. I expected to be much, much further along the so-called “recovery process” this late in the game. I thought I’d be able to skate a 4’ mini ramp again by now. I am nowhere near that (ankle could not handle running out of a bail with that much force). I thought my ankle would be strong enough/flexible enough to do nollies again. It isn’t close. I have to wear pads to skate a curb. I thought I’d be able to jog/run by now. I cannot. Stairs can be difficult. These are but just a few examples. There are many more. Worse, I do not know if it is reasonable to think things will improve much beyond what they are now. A broken leg is troublesome, but loss of hope is what really cripples. I find myself incredibly…frustrated. I try not to have any expectations from the past, to stay in the moment, and enjoy skateboarding for what it is now, here, today…and to not be clouded by ghosts from before. It is not an easy road.
So, how to push through this? I posted something about it on social media the other day. I got a lot of feedback from people. Two things stuck with me. First, was something Jim T. posted a few hours later.
The other was a comment someone made directly to me on Instagram.
“Dude, you broke your leg and had two surgeries on a key component to your skateboarding. It’s gonna take time, and progress is progress, regardless of how frail it looks. It’s easy to let shadow overcome light when you know what you are capable of at 100%. Allow yourself small victories. Build on those. Enjoy growing into a new skater.”
“Allow yourself small victories.”
I bought a small note book today. About 3” x 5”. On the cover I wrote in small (but bold), black, block letters “SMALL VICTORIES”. I will bring it with me every time I go skateboarding. It will serve as a ledger, a journal, a register of, well, my small skateboard victories.
I repeat myself. Writing something down transforms abstract concept into something more concrete. It makes dismissal and repudiation a harder task. Moreover, it is acknowledgement and admission that something occurred. It provides for recognition.
Before I can allow myself small victories, I first need to recognize and admit they even occurred, no matter how small they are. To that end, I now have pages to fill.