In the early stages of my healing journey, I sought therapeutic help anywhere I could find it: from anyone that would listen. It took some time to realize emotional trauma is a subject too alien for the general public. For many years, I strained as I listened to cheerful voices celebrating special occasions, yet such joy seemed out of my reach due to undiagnosed PTSD.
Although research and writing help me in my healing process, I sometimes encounter multiple issues that resist translation. I come into collision with my own perceptions. No matter how the words arrange themselves, they sometimes look back at me with trifling glances. The deeper I excavate, the less justice accorded to the lived experience.
I came to the conclusion I can only endure so much time living in my head before I’d be consumed with nausea or fatigue. As a result, I involuntarily began looking for a balance – a physical activity to help me shift from head to body. In 2006, I began to contemplate my long forgotten world of skating.
Skating played center stage in my childhood and teenage years. I lived and breathed it like freezing air. It circulated in my blood veins vigorously, so I only felt slight tinges of cold in my extremities… ears, nose, fingers and toes and the toes not so much until I got home and I actually began to thaw, then the pain intensified enough to make me question if maybe six to seven hours out in a frozen park may have been a little bit too much?! Hmmmm?
You see, in Canada boys are born with skates on and therefore always pushing the sport to its limits. The idea of skating in a run-of-the-mill way is inconceivably too boring. This usually translates into skating recklessly out of control or playing endless hours of hockey.
For me the fascination about skating shimmered in its undomesticated artistic expression. It all began by watching a classmate named Neil Hill maneuver effortlessly on ice skates in a way that combined grace and confidence. The music (60s and 70s) elevated my spirit with anticipation of capturing the heart of a pretty girl with some fancy footing and show of speed. I don’t know why but I believed that artistic competence in this skill automatically guaranteed winning the ladies. It never happened.
Fast forward into adulthood:
Since I live in Central America, the arena switched from abstract ice to concrete rollerblading. As I got bored of skating the way everyone around me conventionally skated, I kept remembering Neil Hill from my childhood. Through trial and error I began interpreting music through skate dancing once a week until I developed my own unique style.
The magic is parallel to surfing on the high waves except in skate dancing you’re weaving in and out of people rather than through huge locks of water. Part of the challenge is to swing to the music without bumping into anyone or knocking them down. It’s making impromptu dance movements that require cat-like agility with heightened alertness, intuition, balance, beauty, grace and ease. Music races through your body in liquid form, providing a sense of courage that would be otherwise absent.
The sense of wild abandonment depends upon the choice of music (thus the need to carry your own MP3 device). Each movement rises from ear to heart throbbing through veins. Skate dancing invariably has a matchless effect upon me.
What are the benefits of skate dancing? How does it relieve my PSTD symptoms?
The benefit could be called a flight of transcendence. For a few of hours each week, I experience a way to rise above the demands and cares of stressful life. I take off into a flight of bliss. More importantly, the endorphins help disperse the dark cloud of depression and anxiety symptoms of my PTSD.
As I experience the exhilaration from skate dancing, it changes the chemical processes in my body and therefore my anxiety and depression lessen their grip.
I often question if living somewhere between imagination and reality sabotages me. As a dreamer, I get carried away. As a highly sensitive person, I experience the emotional realm with hyper-vigilance. Skate dancing is a safe channel where my intuition gets to run wild. I love the serendipity that invariably unfolds.
Once freed from my PTSD symptoms, I began to become more sensitive to the needs of my body eat less and less junky foods and began to replace them with fresh organic fruits and vegetables. I stayed away from caffeine, white sugar, refined foods, MSG and alcohol.
Vincenzo was born in Toronto, Canada. He has been teaching art and creativity at a private school for eighteen years. After finishing art college he received his Masters in Theology and Education. Vincenzo lives in San José, Costa Rica, and has a beautiful 15 year old daughter. He savors the penetrating soliloquies of literature. He finds inspiration in reflection, journaling, blogging and listening to audio books. He questions convention, the media and consumerism. He is also an advocate against domestic violence.
The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele .