Day 24: Tears of Strength (Calgary)

Dear Diary,


Trooper, trooper, trooper…that’s what they called me. I adamantly traded off pieces of flesh and blood with the hastening progress on rollerblading. I pushed myself to conquer any fear that serves only as a stagnation. Yes, stupidity and bravery are really close relatives swaying along the fine line. With Auss’ absence for the first time this morning, I woke up self-motivating myself “hey, fake it until you make it, alright.” Acknowledging the fact that going downhill was inevitable, I tried to pick the least steep road or the one that involved little intersections to reach the skate shop.

Flat land stretched all the way until this particular point where the straight line was no longer parallel to the horizontal line on a graphing paper. I benefited from the repressive elementary mathematic education to understand that a hypotenuse was formed due to declination.  I flipped out over this exact same hypotenuse last time. I only gripped onto the bushes and crawled my way down like a frightened baby, but not this time. I stood on top of the mild hill on 13th Ave to overlook the intersection at the bottom with traffic going both ways.Straight ahead was a dead-end garden. If I turned right, I would hit the flat ground with the oncoming cars going the same direction which seemed to be a great choice, but it might take the amateur skater two lanes to make the turn with the given speed, meaning I would perilously go against traffic while turning. If I turned left, I would be going down a steep zig zag where Y1- Y2 > X1 – X2, hence slope m…..ahh screw the math and analysis! I called upon Auss’s spirit “Go Yanise, don’t think. Be sharp and alert! Make the right decision and stick with it!” So I slid down the hill and made a sharp left turn and miraculously halted myself to a stop with a spin stop as soon as it started veering towards the notoriously steep 10th street. I ran back up to the intersection, exuberated over the immaculate move!

I steadied my overjoyed mind, and looked at the GPS to find that the skate shop was only 5 minutes away if I rolled down this 10th street. I remembered Gabriel, from the Skate shop, told me that 10th street will end in plateau before it hit the traffic lights, which eliminated half of the fear bubbling inside me. I had not mastered braking without a brake on my blades, not to mention that I wasn’t wearing a helmet. I don’t know from where and when the balls were coming , but I took one bold step down, and I started rolling 50Kph.I was flying right beside the cars that were going just as fast as I was. Why did fear have to jack the calm I struggled to contain and interrupt such smooth journey when it’s coming to an end? Why now, right when I see the traffic lights already?  Fear froze my legs up. Next thing I knew… I hit the curb and fell on the side walk.

An old couple immediately pulled over to check on me. I gladly accepted the offer to be taken to the skate shop. As soon as I bounced out of the car, I aimed towards a construction site for a first aid kit. A bunch of workers clustered around me to examine my wounds. They  eagerly rummaged through the first aid kit for alcohol wipes. Some passerby stopped to deliver empathy. The workers were awestruck by my cheshire-cat grin, “It’s amazing how you are still smiling so happily! I can even feel the pain burning on your skin!” I replied, “well. Smiling is the best way to minimize the pain.”

Shaun was equally stupefied by my nonchalance over the bleeding arm and legs. Auss sped over within 10 minutes as soon as we finished the call.  They both complimented my nutty bravery. To Auss, however, the emotions were a mix of pride, admiration, sympathy, disapproval, gloom, and anger. So many friendly competitors crowded the shop, everyone was concerned about my injuries. I told myself to stay strong and smile. Don’t shed a tear! I just had to. So, we told Shaun we’ll be back to watch the annual rollerblading competition later in the afternoon, and skated off to tend my wounds. I took a deep breath, hit the road again. Like always, I never knew where I was going as I was told only to follow Auss. I was skating up the bridge with a purposely psyched-up confidence. Then the thought of the descend towards an intersection struck me, nervousness was simmering my blood. I couldn’t move but screamed and allowed myself to fall on the traffic island where my jaw hit the concrete first. Auss ran back to help me up, fretting about my well-being. A mild concussion had me speechless for a minute. All the questions Auss asked went ignored as I silently tugged myself into Auss’ embrace. He held my hands and brought me to a resting corner by the train station.

My tear duct button automatically turned itself on, a tear dew rolled down gently for the prelude. Then an uncontrollable amount of tears began pounding against my cheek chiming in with the allegro Mozart Symphony. It wasn’t the physical pain. It was the emotional wreckage- frustration and anger. I shielded myself with carefree and optimistic attitude all the time, but I could be weak at times, too. The fact that my spirit and confidence were shaken up irritated me. Why am I not progressing? Why can’t I get rid of fear?

 “you’re extremely blessed. Yes, your face is scraped up, your body is all wounded. But you’re a soldier, a warrior. What you’ve done is unparallel to what I’ve seen most people do, multi-millionaire…what you are doing is unbelievable, you inspired me to go to another level in my life. Understand who you are. You are bigger than most grown adults. You’re an angel with a lion mane. This is what we’ve done. What’ve done together….”

“I know so. I know you are going to break this world record. Don’t be looking so pouty. Com’on, let’s go get tea, ” Auss conciliated the cry baby with love.

I assured Auss that I wasn’t frustrated anymore, but I was simply too tired to watch the competition. I rested at a coffee shop where the bartenders were incredibly amiable and sympathetic. They handed me an ice bag and tried to find me more first-aid tools. “Spanish Latte on us today,” one of the girls said.

I grew under the aegis of the concrete jungle. Never had I fallen hard, or should I say, never had I allowed myself to fall. The hefty blow taught me something I’d never known-

  1. Falling isn’t that scary
  2. I am stronger than I thought.
  3. My passion and determination is proven solid as giving up is not in a million years considered an option.

Enduring the pain, we skated uphill to Kirk and Sarah’s house for the night. I was barely able to walk, squirming around the couch the whole time to find a perfect position that would not hurt my wounds. But I was blissfully taken care of.



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