After dropping Đán off to summer school, I drove to Wakefield, the skatepark that I fell hard off the high ramp. Although it was still early in the morning, there were a few skaters already on the scene. The roller skater girls already took over the half pipe; therefore, I couldn’t hop on it.
I skated down the straight ramps a bit then headed to the high curve ramp that I had successfully dropped down twice in the past. After my second fall at a different skatepark, however, I hesitated. The ramp looked high and the curve looked steep.
In the past few weeks, it kept bothering me that I could not work up the courage to drop this ramp again. I internalized it when I went to bed. Why can’t I just ignore it? What am I trying to prove? If I were to fall again, I wouldn’t be able to take my ice skating lessons.
I put my left foot on the coping, but I stopped. I stood there for a while and took my foot off the coping. My body was telling me no, but my head kept telling me yes. Then I put my left foot in the coping again and waited and waited. I finally told myself, “Fuck it! Let’s just do it.” I put my right foot in and off I went. I made it down smoothly. The speed felt incredible.
A mother congratulated me. Her daughter asked her if I did it. A guy on the skateboard asked her something and I heard her say, “He went for it.” He gave me a fist pump. I was a bit embarrassed. I did not realize that folks were waiting and watching me from afar to see if I would go for it. I was focusing on my own dilemma. If I knew they were paying attention, I would have backed off.
I was not trying to show off. I didn’t want to prove to anyone, but myself. I wanted to conquer my own fear and to regain my own confidence. Life is too short to not take a bit of risk.
As I drove home to start my work day, I listened to 2pac and “I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto” reminded me of my homeboy Nate. There’s a line that we loved, “I wake up in the morning and I ask myself: Is life worth living? Should I blast myself?” I asked myself the same questions whenever I felt down, but my life now is definitely worth living. I have my ups and downs, but I never let myself fall into depression. I need to stay strong for my boys.
Skating is an activity that I love to do with my boys. If this old man can do it, they have no excuse. I encouraged them to try out the high ramps, but if they don’t want to try, I do not force them. They understand their own risk level to make their own decisions. I hope one day, they will go for it.