Orthodox women don’t rip
I enviously watch my boys ripstiking down the street. They maneuver with fluidity and ease, wiggling their hips as expertly as any belly dancer. Longing wells up in me, if only I could do that too. It’s an old feeling, of a child enviously watching friends having fun but not being able to join in. Why couldn’t I do it? Mostly due to self-imposed limiting beliefs consisting of being self-conscious, fear of failing, fear of falling and being really embarrassed. Kind of like being the kid that was left behind and never learned to read till a year later.
Going through an early midlife crisis has had me questioning many different areas of my life. It’s enabled me to face my fears, embrace life and have fun. Ripstiking therefore became a symbol of a very personal challenge. If my kids could do it and they share my DNA I’m sure their athleticism came from someone, and that someone had to be me.
Last week I wanted to spend time with kid 2. I asked him if he would teach me how to ripstick as he’s my most encouraging and patient child and he would be the best bet for a slow adult learner like me. He gave me the finest of the crop ripstik (4 to choose from) and with it tucked under my arm like a badge of pride we marched out to the sidewalk. Now I was actually beyond my comfort zone. I was in public territory. It took me 10 attempts to climb up and get some semblance of balance while I clutched for dear life to my 9 year old. “Wiggle your hips” he instructed, I managed a jerk and flew off. “Try again” he said, and again, and again and again…. I faced a lot of adversity…
The neighbor laughing her head off as I sputtered by. The 10 neighborhood kids screaming “go Mrs B!!”(no pressure, they are just kids being entertained,) the cars slowing down to stare and people asking if I’m ok when I fell. Falling and scraping my hands, falling and scraping my knees, bruising my calves and thigh. And fall I did, over and over and over. Giving up did enter my head briefly, but this was a personal war so I got back on again. Soon I started to be able to maintain my momentum for about 2-3 seconds at a time, made it to 5, 6, 7, 10 seconds. My son told me if I practice every day for about a week or 2 that I’d become amazing just like him. I did sport one massive fall and got an x-ray just to make sure an arm wasn’t broken. I only bruised the bone! If I broke it though I’d be back on the stick the following day. I can be stubborn like that, especially when I’m taking this business seriously.
I’m at day 9 now; I can balance on the stick for more than a minute. Yesterday I took my boys to the parking lot of a synagogue down the block. It’s a very religious synagogue so I kind of got self-conscious about it. What if a member called to complain about an immodest woman gyrating her hips, balance on a stick in their parking lot? Perhaps they’d tell me I couldn’t come there again. I made a change of plan and crossed over the street to a more liberal synagogue with the best hill in its parking lot. It also sports members that are more modern and would never lodge a complaint against me being myself.
Zipping down that hill without falling, with the wind whipping my face, me just high on life, full of thrill and speed, I felt exhilarated as if I had just scaled a mountain. I felt connected to this fun side of me that was squashed down by a voice deep inside telling me that it wasn’t modest, safe or age appropriate to ripstick and that I was not coordinated to do so. That voice got busted. I’m a badass ripstik mama now! So if you see a woman grinning like a chimpanzee ripping with her kids, or by herself in the seven mile area… don’t slow down your car. Perhaps give her thumbs up. That possibly might fuel her to try something new, to maybe believe in herself, because really there’s nothing in life stopping her except her own self-limiting beliefs.
Post script: I was washing dishes and overheard my son boasting to a friend “my mother can ripstik so good, she’s probably better than you.” It definitely plastered a monkey grin on my face.