I have skating dreams. In these dreams I sail across the ice with marvelous ease; I can do fast, competent turns and perfect flowing spirals. I skate without hesitation; in fact, they are flying dreams.
In reality, I pop mohawks. Yep. That skating phenomenon where your body says "nope!" and refuses to obey your wishes. My brain thinks it knows how to do perfectly lovely mohawks, and I have the test credentials to prove it. But there are days when my body simply refuses to understand the concept of "rotate, step, check."
My right hip is also extremely uncooperative. It knows better than to drop and point forwards. I've told it many many times. And yet it absolutely insists on staying in the "closed" position at the most awkward times. I really wonder who is in charge here.
It's hard to admit these things in public, especially because I can teach them perfectly beautifully--in fact when teaching, I execute perfectly beautifully, in lovely slow motion (I love slow motion). But put me in a skating situation and my lizard brain takes over and tells me that what I am asking it to do is unacceptable at best, impossible at worst, and dangerous in all situations.
But adult skaters, fear not. There is power in admitting your failure. For one thing, if you just avoid attempting certain moves out of embarrassment, you'll never learn them. Plus, the coaches I know who "get" adults find a lot of inspiration in working with us--they feel especially proud when a skittish adult skater finally masters something, and they feel proud when a talented one is really good, and they feel proud when a beginner dares to try!
I've come to terms with the things I'll never do, because I'll never try them, like axels. I know what I've already accomplished that I can't (or won't) do anymore, like the skills in the second figures test. I know the skater that I want to be now, and how far it's safe to push myself. I really know, in my heart of hearts, when it's me and when it's my beat-up old skates holding me back.
I haven't trained in almost four years. I've been on the ice a lot, teaching, but not actually skating. The first day back on the ice was a horrible let down, because I had lost a lot of skills while gaining a lot of years (and weight). But the really solid stuff came back, and the nerves diminished, and my mantra took over, with a caveat:
"If someone can do it, it's possible, and if it's possible I can do it"
Oh, the caveat? "But only if I want to."