Before this week, my only experience with skateboarding was its superficial but memorable mention in Avril Lavigne’s cult classic masterpiece “Sk8er Boy.” Even though skateboards have been a present fixture in my life, underneath friend’s feet and in shop windows, I never let myself think that skating was a possibility for me, for whatever made-up reason that plagued my subconscious. I was always too girly; too afraid; too nerdy. As I grew up and my insecurities faded away (this casual clause makes that process seem a lot more nonchalant and simple than it actually was), these ridiculous societally-fueled excuses finally seemed as silly as they truly are.
I am generally an un-athletic individual, with a range of hobbies that all involve some form of sitting, lying down, or being indoors. I am not competitive, and I find the environment of camaraderie to be exhausting, so school sports teams and gym classes were never my thing (though, I must admit, I freaking love Zumba, but that’s another post altogether). So, from my Unaffiliated perspective, skateboarding seemed like the perfect activity for me: it’s independent, involves a cute accessory and adorable stickers, and it has the opportunity for obsessive, borderline unhealthy perfectionism and mastery. I couldn’t wait!
But there was still one thing holding me back. I am deeply, stupidly afraid of my teeth falling out. It is the subject of most of my nightmares. I can’t watch shows or movies where characters get banged in the teeth. The sight of chips in teeth or a loose tooth horrifies me to my core. I am fully aware of how ridiculous this is. I have been so afraid of this my whole life that, when I was young and didn’t understand that dentist’s were there to keep your teeth in and not pull them out, I was kicked out of my family’s dental practice due to violent behavior and had to go to the special pediatric dentist for troubled youth (I’m not ashamed to say that I still go to him for every check-up).
With this profoundly ingrained fear forced into the farthest recesses of my mind, I borrowed a skateboard from a friend to test the waters first. (He had recently experienced a massive wipeout- very discouraging- and didn’t want to see his skateboard for a little while.) He grasped my shoulders as I stepped onto the board (my idea, not his). I hopped off immediately. It was a surprisingly wiggly experience, like standing on Jell-O. My mind was racing, envisioning every possible scenario in which I could ruin my incisors. But I got on it again. And again.
It didn’t take very long to be comfortable on the board. I found my balance, and soon my really dumb but embarrassingly real phobia was just a whisper. I’ve fallen. I’ve pulled muscles. I’ve gotten nervous texts from my mother to please, please wear a helmet and wrist guards.
Yesterday, I bought my very own skateboard. Picking out all of the little pieces for it was a dream-come-true scenario (what can I say, I’m detail-oriented!). Granted, I didn’t know what most of the things I was picking out were for (trucks? bearing? king pin? what?), but I fully plan on learning what every last thing does and how and why. I totally have an obsessive personality. But I’d rather be obsessed over how to do an ollie than obsessed over how much it would cost to get dentures.