Last weekend my oldest daughter had her season’s first figure skating competition and she was eagerly waiting for the big day to come. As she started her performance, she suddenly forgot her program. She needed to do it in the opposite way than she had used to practice it (don’t ask why – has something to do with where the judges are positioned) and got confused and completely forgot.
She skated to talk to the main judge, letting her know that she had forgotten her program and got a chance to consult her coach before starting all over again.
We were there cheering for her with our whole family. Her siblings, my husband and I. As she was talking to her coach, both my husband and I were sending our love for her and cheering energetically. We both wanted to go hug her and tell her that all is good. That she is good. We were sure she was holding her tears back and feeling confused, if not ashamed.
Side note: It took a lot of willpower to keep myself glued to the chair and not run to interfere with whatever was going on with her and her coach!
Side note to side note: I didn’t quite succeed in that so I went a little closer to see how she was doing, yet not interfering (even though the alarms in my mind were screaming for me to do so).
After, what seemed like forever to me (thinking how bad she must feel) she went back in and did a stellar performance.
Almost everyone we knew at the competition came to congratulate us about how well she pulled herself together after such an experience and how well she went through with her program. We were, and are, so proud of her, of course!
However. There’s a however in here.
Once again life showed me how different our realities are.
As we got a chance to see our daughter after her performance (and after hugging her) we asked how she felt after what happened. She replied asking:
What do you mean after what happened?
It was not a big deal for her. Not at all. She was not confused. Nor ashamed. Not traumatized either. She had just forgotten her program and after going through it with her coach and coming to agreement that she does it the way she has done it at the practice, no matter where the judges are sitting, she went on the ice and enjoyed.
I said to her that I thought she was holding her tears back and she asked me why would she have felt the need to cry?
What a question! Why indeed?
I don’t know! Because I felt like crying? Because my husband was moved, too? Because I, as so many of us, was traumatized as a child for making mistakes or forgetting? Because causing any kind of inconvenience to others means danger? Because anything that has anything to do with vulnerability is something to avoid? Because we need to please others at all times and this was not pleasing to some?
As you can see, a lot of false assumptions. Which had nothing to do with the reality. Other than the colored reality of the thinker (in this case, me). But not the reality of what was really happening and going on.
So, what happened in reality? My daughter enjoyed her experience at the competition and life, together with her, gave me a good reminder of a lesson I had forgotten. One that, once again, really got under my skin.
We all color our reality with false assumptions. All the time. Let’s just try not to spill our colors into others’ reality. At least not without invitation.