Browsing Tag:

figure skating

  • Confidence, Health, Lifestyle, Sports

    My Figure Skating Journey

    On my third figure skating lesson, I broke my finger.

    It must have been a spectacular sight: my tall, fairly stable body was brought crashing to the ice by a girl not more than half my height and no less than a third of my age. It was really only a matter of time, seeing as I was older than everyone in my skill group by at least a decade. However, I had never truly felt my age until I was kneeling on the ice, finger throbbing, at eye level for the first time with my group mates and trying to comfort the crying young girl who had accidentally tripped me.

    A scenario like this had never really crossed my mind when I entered the sport.

    I decided to take lessons initially because a close friend of mine had introduced me to competitive figure skating as a spectator sport. I would watch full broadcasts of past World Championships and Grand Prix circuits while making art, doing homework, on long car trips, and whenever I had nothing in particular to do. Before I knew it, I had familiarized myself with all of the common terminologies of the sport and had a ranking list for which skaters I expected to win which medals at the 2018 Olympics. Watching the fast, dramatic, yet elegant athleticism of the top athletes reminded me of my days as a dancer in elementary school. I felt my childhood joy reigniting, and decided to give figure skating a shot. Yes, I may have under anticipated just how much time and effort would be needed before I could actually land a Lutz or perform a perfectly executed scratch-spin, but I was motivated like I never had been before and the world wasn’t about to stop me from trying.

    I asked for lessons for my seventeenth birthday.

    Even though the closest rink to me was thirty minutes away on a day with no traffic. I didn’t even own a pair of skates, yet I went to my first class that March. I was aware that I would be the oldest skater in my beginner group, as many of the female skaters my age were already in the professional bracket. However, the swarm of tiny five and six-year-old girls zooming around the ice in tutus caught me completely off guard.

    My newfound confidence dwindled.

    I was in way over my head thinking that I could ever reach the level of the awe-inspiring women I watched so religiously on Youtube. My dreams of standing on the top of a podium with a medal hanging proudly around my neck slipped into the realm of the unattainable. I doubted that I would ever even land a small bunny-hop, much less a graceful triple Salchow. It would only occur to me after I had passed the basic classes and looked back on them, that those tiny girls with all of their talent and potential, probably felt the same as I did. Suddenly I didn’t feel so different from my teammates, despite the fact that none of them could even tie their own skates yet. The throbbing in my left ring finger felt more like the first landmark on a long journey than a detour.

    It has been a year and a half since my first lesson.

    My finger has completely healed (except for a small bump in my knuckle that will probably never go away) and my coach has praised me for how fast I picked up on the technical elements of figure skating. She tells me to breathe before I take the ice for my first competition, and the gold medal I hang over my bed later that day makes me excited for what will come next.

  • Articles, College, School

    Sparkling Dresses but Inside We’re Messes: How an Aesthetic Sport Affected my Relationship with Food

    I had never worried about my weight before, nor did I have reason to. I was confident in my thin but strong body and didn’t obsess over every bite I ate. If a sweet dessert or greasy pizza crossed my path, I was more than likely to enjoy it, but since I never intentionally denied myself a treat, I rarely made myself sick from overindulging. Besides, I was a figure skater. I trained 2 to 3 hours every day, burning hundreds of calories per hour. If you’ve ever watched figure skating, you know just how much of a role aesthetics plays in the sport. Girls must be extremely lean to successfully launch themselves into the air and complete nearly three rotations before landing on one foot. I was lean, and I was relatively successful at completing said airborne rotations. But that wasn’t enough.

    When I was fourteen, my coach started trying to get me to eat healthier; encouraging me to try vegetables and cut down on the frappuccinos. That would have been fine, but I’m not one to take things slightly, and at that moment being the best at my sport was the essence of my existence. So, if dieting was going to help me reach that goal, then I would kiss my edible entertainment goodbye. I held my resolution solid for a month until I went to IHOP to treat myself. That morning I consumed an incredible 7 pancakes as the waiter stared in awe at the hundred-pound girl scarfing down half her weight in breakfast foods.

    Once I got that taste of indulgence it was hard to go back to restriction, and I ended up gaining back all the weight I had lost, plus some. I had let go of the reins and was binging nightly on all the foods I had previously forbidden myself. For the first time in my life, my mom warned me I would get fat if I kept eating the way I was. This was a foreign, ill-received feeling, and although I had never been an emotional eater before, food became my solace. The cycle continued; I would eat restrictively for a week or two, binge to the point of nausea, feel extremely guilty, and repeat! I was extremely dissatisfied, not just with my body, which I had newly discovered had a million flaws, but also with my inability to stick to my resolutions. The binging didn’t lessen until I learned to be more forgiving of myself, and 2 years later, although I’m still struggling to break away from ‘yo-yo dieting’, I can say it’s been nearly 6 months since I had a sickening binge episode and my self-confidence is better than it’s been since middle school. I don’t blame skating, but in a subjective sport, girls like myself are pressured to slim down at a young age, which, without proper guidance, can lead to distressing relationships with food that have the potential to last a lifetime.