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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Risky Business...

When I was little, I wasn't really allowed out of my Mum's sight due to her being worried that something, anything may happen.  My Dad was the complete opposite but as he worked all the time, my Mum had the say.

I didn't understand the worry at the time and it used to really get on my wick.  I do understand the whole parent/child worry thing now but the difference between me and Mother are that where as she would worry and keep me from harms way, I tend to get my kids involved a bit.  I try to anyway. 

There are a load of things I couldn't or still can't do, as a result of being filled with panic at the very thought of 'what if'...  for instance, I wouldn't dare ride my bike in the road, in fact, I learnt to ride my bike in our hall! I wasn't allowed out of my Mums view so that's as far as I could cycle.  If I had dared ride out of the front door and down the path towards the road, well, who knows what horrors would await.  A gang of giant dung beetles might've carried me off, or a bike pixie may have been waiting, ready to steal my basket & bell! 

I have a list of things that I can't do that niggle away at me for absolutely no real reason as none of the things would come in handy in any kind of emergency, but niggle they do.

I can't do cart wheels, handstands, roller skate, ice skate, cycle on the road, play football, horse ride, paint-ball, climb rope, climb trees, oh loads and loads of things.  This fear of 'what might happen' lead me to leave my driving test til as late as possible and even then, I opted to drive ONLY automatic.  So really, I can't drive either, I am a mere operator of cars.

As soon as I could, I ran off to travel and work abroad.   It was then, at 19 years old that my friends taught me how to dive in, rather than, as I had always done before, climb down the silver step ladder into the swimming pool.  I went a bit mental once unleashed and thinking back on some of the 'risks' I'd taken whilst unsupervised, like fulfilling a drunken dare to dive into a foot of water, I shudder to think what could've happened. Still, I am pleased I took those risks.

Recently I started having an irrational and sudden obsession with my inability to roller skate.  Instead of worrying about the consequences of donning a pair of skates, falling over and hurting myself, I started obsessing about how my kids are missing out on an enjoyable pursuit just because their Mother is too scared to try.  So, I booked a lesson!  Just the thought of me, out of my comfort zone and trembling around a skating rink, brought about great shrills of piercing laughter from one friend in particular. 

I felt a bit sick as I got ready for it.  I popped on a long jumper that'd cover my ripples in case I shook so much that it was all moving, and I even thought, "Tone it down, look completely forgetable. You don't wanna look too 'out there' coz you're already gonna look mentally challenged to all the other skaters"!  So I opted for jeans, in case I fell - I reckoned that jeans would offer a slightly tougher shell to crack, should I rip through at the knee.

I nearly didn't go, but as I turned up, I thought 'just get on with it, who gives a toss'?  Of course I could see through my own transparent pep talk and knew that everyone would be laughing at me and I'd end up on youtube, or People Do The Funniest Things.

Inside the hall, they handed me the most awful, dated pair of clumbersome boots you could ever imagine and as my teacher pulled me over from my chair to the rink, (yes really, I'm that unable), the boots squeaked, a lot!  I asked if the boots were specifically designed to make newcomers feel even more ridiculous and conscious than they already did and my 63 year old teacher laughed and told me not to be so silly. 

They had cordoned off a metre wide strip of the rink for me, while all the other families effortlessly skated around, directly towards me, (so they had to watch what I was doing, unless they stared at the ground). 

I was shyte.  Truly and utterly shyte.  There are no other words to describe how thoroughly awful I was.  Still, there is something to be said for dragging yourself out of the cosiness of never trying, and being thrust out there into the harsh spotlight of risk city! 

As I took sweating, jerky steps off the rink and over to my nice, safe, familiar wheel-less converse, my teacher asked me to take not one, but two chocolates out of a tin as it was her birthday....I dutifully did so for fear of offending her and being pushed to the ground.  It was all such a cringeworthy, uncool experience and I have been back twice since, with the kids and S in tow.  

S had never been on skates in his life and so I felt a little cocky and superior as he clambered like baby Bambi towards the edge.  My daughter fell down and as I uneasily bent down to heave her back into standing position, S had sashayed off into the distance like Cliff Richard circa 1980!  As he skated back into view, smiling and exhilerated, he shouted, "You have to just relax, then it's easy"!  OH FCUKOFF WIRED FOR SOUND! I thought to myself. 

Some of us are risk takers and some of us just prefer to know what's happening at all times.  I like to think I'm spontaneous but really, I'm a bit of a nervous wreck.  Still, I will attempt to, every so often, take a risk.  I think it's what seperates those with regrets and those with embarrassed but proud little smirks.  ;)

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