I put my first pair of ice skates on at the age of 4. With each passing year I fell more in love and became more competitive. Sometime within those years I also developed more and more acute and chronic diseases.
I didn’t let disease get in the way of doing what I loved. In fact it was my main source of catharsis. I remember heading to the rink after doctor’s appointments, whenever the doctor gave in and said I was well enough. Ice skating allowed me to thrive, even when everybody was yelling at me to stop, which I understood as letting the disease win. My own body was telling me to stop, however in a way unlike everyone else was.
My body was telling me to adapt to my circumstances. I had to change how I was skating to make it more sustainable. My newfound commitment to skating was unlike the commitments of those I shared the rink with. I continued skating because I was finally skating for myself. I changed my approach because my lungs could no longer catch my breath, my brain could no longer slow down, and body could not longer take the beating. I hadn’t yet developed the connectedness between my mind and body. All I knew at the time was that something inside of me told me it was OK to love ice skating however I needed to.
I couldn’t share my mind shift with other people because couldn’t put it into words. I can now, having roughly 10 years to reflect. I didn't speak up because I didn’t want to let my family or my coach down. I agreed to compete in competitions and test in test sessions, however I was no longer passionate about wearing pretty dresses and skating for other people. I can express now what I couldn't then: I couldn’t continue on the necessary path to be a competitor, and admitting that to my supportive parents and coach felt impossible (which is why I never did, until now). Rather than feeling defeated and failing to thrive, I consciously chose to skate in a way that was fun and not a chore. I chose to skate in a way that supported my body and what I couldn’t name at the time – my spirit.
I’m sharing this story for all to see that it's possible do what you love in a way that will allow you to love your True Self. Change your goals so that they are more realistic. I decided to skate 4 days per week rather than train 5 hours per day 5 days per week. I skated in intervals rather than for 3 hours straight.
My world didn't end. I'm still here. I thrived.
Doing what you love shouldn’t destroy your body or your relationships. Speak up. Your body and support system will love you, just in different ways.