The Oracle

Conquering embarrassment is just a stumble

The Oracle

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Written by: Klaire Tan

I may not be a super-athlete, but I regard myself as being in decent, tolerable shape. I can manage a pushup or two. I can touch my toes and if needed, I can run a mile.

To be honest, however, I have never been able to skate a lap around the ice rink to save my life. Since I was young, the idea of stepping onto ice and gliding with the help of nothing but two slats of metal seemed insane. In fact, I personally believe ice skating to be pure witchcraft—just like how a muggle can’t wave a wand to Stupefy his or her annoying sibling, I can’t ice skate at all.

I’ve tried ice skating multiple times. In fact, when I was just a wee little lass, my mother thought it’d be a good idea to sign me up for ice skating lessons. After my 30th fall, I finally realized that I didn’t like ice skating, and as I walked off the rink with cramped feet and a sore bum, I swore to join the defeated crowd of ice skating celibates.

Yet, just a few Saturdays ago, armed with the thickest sweater I could find and my lucky socks, I reluctantly—let me stress, reluctantly—made my way onto the ice again after over a decade of keeping off the rink.

There were a couple of reasons why I was so hesitant—the main two being peer pressure and that global warming might mean no skating at all one day. Looking back, none of these reasons seem to justify jumping off the wagon to join the band of crazy ice skating hippies, but I still found myself at the Winter Lodge early November to give ice skating another try.

Let me just abate any fears and inform you that there was no terrible, permanent trauma. I went in with four limbs and came out with just as many (though there was a great deal of concern that I had lost a few toes to frostbite along the way). However, over the course of my attempt to ice skate once again, which, by the way, was in fact very painful and humiliating, I learned one very important life lesson: ice is slippery, and everyone messes up.

To rephrase my words to express a more profound and deep point, everyone looks stupid. It doesn’t really matter if a person slips and find him or herself pathetically clawing at the walls to get up and completely humiliated. Things only matter if you let them matter. The power is in your hands.

I saw about a dozen kids fall and slide halfway across the ice. All of them sniffled a few times and got right back up for another go around the rink. Nobody gave falling more than half a thought. However, I still recall the man who found himself sprawled on the ice, unable to get up and too embarrassed to keep skating. He was the guy who caught everyone’s attention.

Now, this realization that we shouldn’t care so much about how we look to others may appear to be neither grand nor life transforming. But, I guarantee that if anyone just tries to step out and do something she’s afraid to do, she’ll find that there aren’t many things to be afraid of.

Admittedly, should I ever be asked to go ice skating again in the future, I won’t be quick to dismiss such a ridiculous idea anymore. I’ll give it a second thought. And if I do decide to go visit the rink again, I won’t just be warming the bench. I’ll actually be skating. I may find myself spending more time on my bum than my feet, but the point is that I’ll be out there, attempting to skate.

After all, everyone falls and looks stupid some time in their life, on or off the ice.

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Conquering embarrassment is just a stumble