Becoming an Artist

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It has been said that from great sadness comes great art.  I am becoming an artist.  Three months ago I lost someone I loved deeply.  He was a friend, a rival, a dream.  But he was not mine to keep.  All these weeks later I still feel sad in a way I didn’t think possible. 

I have been struggling to let go.  I know that I will always miss him, but I want to be able to look back on him and feel happy instead of profoundly sad.    

Just days after losing him I found myself at the ice rink where I skated as a child.   Figure skating had been my passion.  I grew up on the ice, trained incessantly, competed nationally, and loved every minute of it. 

I had not set foot on the ice in nearly fifteen years, but there I was, lacing up my decade-old skates, feeling the cold air on my face, wiping away my frozen tears.  I skated for two hours that passed in what felt like minutes, and I knew that I had found my outlet.  Driving home from the rink I felt a sense of calm, and that night I slept for the first time in days.  

It was not long before I hired a coach and found myself training six days a week.  I had been away from the sport for a long time, but I was determined to return to my former level of skill and conditioning.  I selected a piece of music and started putting a program together.  The song I chose was one that had special meaning to him.  Because I was going to skate this program for him, as a final tribute to him, so that I could finally let him go. 

My coach could not believe the speed at which I progressed.  She did not know the details of my lost love, but she knew I was fighting like hell to work through something, and she told me that what she saw in me, in my skating, was a vulnerable power.  I love that phrase in a way I can’t describe.  It is me.

The program is nearly finished now and I am preparing to perform it live for the first time.  I am terrified.  I am not afraid to make a mistake.  I am not afraid to fall down.  I am afraid to let go.  Because that is what this program represents.  All these weeks of training and pushing myself above and beyond my limits so that I could work through my grief, so that I could process my loss, and it all comes down to three minutes.  Three minutes where I will be alone on that ice, a vulnerable power in an arena full of spectators watching me let go.  It will be the performance of my life, the day I become an artist

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