Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pleasantly Surprised

There was no session on Sunday due to President's Day weekend. That is not to say that I slept in. No, I had the opportunity to work with my ASL mentor earlier in the day. Who knew reupholstering a chair could be so much fun?

I attend three different schools in an attempt to become more fluent in American Sign Language: a university in Long Island, a school for the Deaf in Queens, and a small, relaxed, friendly independent school in Manhattan. While I enjoy classes everywhere, it is the last one, the small independent school where I feel the most at home. The instructors there are skilled and wonderful. There is a warm, friendly atmosphere that makes everyone feel at home. I feel as though they are as close to being my friends as they could possibly be.

It is at that last school where I had the pleasure of having an instructor who I can only describe as my hero. Since I didn't ask his permission to use his name, I will call him "Sebastian".

"Sebastian" is amazing. He has traveled to places I never would have dreamed of: Vietnam and Sri Lanka. And places I've always wanted to visit, like Great Britain and France. He is fearless.

"Sebastian" backpacked from Mexico to California. Alone. Did I mention that "Sebastian" is Deaf? And that he traveled alone? During this trip. he encountered snakes, bugs and at least one cougar.

Did I mention that "Sebastian" is Deaf? And he did this trip alone?

Last month, "Sebastian" went ice climbing. He is fearless and my hero. He never lets anything stop him from doing what he wants to do. He is planning another backpacking trip and I am in awe of his determination.

For that reason (and his incredibly beautiful eyes!) I am one of his biggest fans. "Sebastian" has inspired me to try as hard as I can to do whatever I want to do. Nothing is too hard. Nothing.

With that in mind, I headed for the rink on Wednesday. I left work later than I wanted to and hit a small amount of traffic. After dropping off my car, I got on a subway that was delayed for reasons I can't imagine. But I did finally get to the rink. Although I was a half hour late by the time I finally got on the ice, I was determined to work as hard as possible.

Perhaps I was inspired by "Sebastian", or maybe because my pain level was low, or because I am still a little light-headed (don't know why; I think it's sinus related), but I worked really, really hard. I've been working on my Moves in the Field for so long that I can't stand them anymore. Plus, I needed to be able to concentrate really hard and I just didn't have it in me to do that. So, we skipped the MIF and went on to spins.

That's when it happened.

I don't know what caused it, but all of my spins were good. They were fast, tight, centered and had more revolutions than I've ever performed. Bad habits seemed to disappear and all the spins were good; even Amy said so.

I was amazed. I was thrilled. I worked so hard I had sweat running down my face. (Side bar: I don't sweat a lot) It was wonderful. It was the best session I had in a long time.

It's time for me to take a page from "Sebastian's" book and become more fearless. I have spent too long wondering if people will laugh at me (they already do/already have) or if I look foolish. I've already looked foolish and it didn't kill me. I've already taken bad falls and it didn't kill me. I am tired of trying not to be noticed. I am here and if you don't like it, too damn bad.

Skating on Sunday will be a challenge; I already know that. But I'll be on the ice and that is the best part. On Monday, I'll be getting up to skate really, really early. And yes, I know, I've said it before, but this time I mean it!

Thank you "Sebastian". You have educated me in ASL and you have opened my heart. As with all the instructors at that wonderful school, I will hold you in my heart forever and never forget any of you. You have made me see what I could be and what I should do.

Now, it's off to bed so I can get up to skate in the morning. I want to take that MIF test before the summer, so I have some serious work to do.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Slight Step Backwards

I caught a cold two weeks ago. It won't away. Now it's in my chest and I sound like I'm coughing up a lung. I can't catch my breath. I had to stop working out at lunch because all I want to do is sleep. And I can't breathe.

I didn't go to the rink on Sunday because I had an ASL workshop to attend. It was great. Unfortunately, my hands hurt, a lot. I'm thinking it's from typing, texting and flipping the channels, but NOT from signing. That's good.

So for those two reasons, I have almost nothing to say about skating. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon. Really soon.