Throughout my life I have had a tendency to think that I need to prove, demonstrate or defend certain aspects of myself so that I am perceived as a “real” or “normal” human being. This thought pattern comes from a predominant philosophy in modern society that is mechanistic and assumes the world needs salvation. I would like to suggest that these views are pathogenic and hold us back from moving forward with what we want to do.


Words: Harry Abel
Artwork: Scott Blackmore

So, in the case of rollerblading, something that we seem to have been taught is that if the tricks you perform don’t have an element of danger, you’re not a real rollerblader. I’m not able to say if this view is right or wrong, but I have experienced its influence during the process of filming tricks for a video.

It generally goes a little like this…

– I’m conscious about how the video will be received so I decide to attempt a trick with a higher risk rate, just to be safe.
– I begin to get scared and back out of the run up more than I usually would.
– I lose confidence and start to get frustrated for taking too long.
– I feel anxious about losing respect from my peers.
– I call it a day, left with feelings of disappointment.

This may be a familiar experience for some of you which can, perhaps, be brushed off a little easier each time. However, settling with this  can construct a dangerous cycle of beliefs that imply “this is just how it is”. The alternative is to ask if it is instead possible to cultivate something that is more meaningful for ourselves.

How do we do this?

Well, to give you a step by step process would accredit the mechanistic system I am speaking against. However, it seems really obvious to say, but, if you find rollerblading in a particular way or using a certain type of obstacle joyful and fun, then that is all that really matters. It also seems obvious to say that the way this looks will vary between each of us and may change over time.

Initially, breaking out of this cycle may seem isolating, but following a path that is autonomous and inspired will deepen our sense of fulfilment in what we do. As long as we believe that we need to prove, demonstrate or defend that we are a real, or “legit”, rollerblader it will continue to affect our enjoyment of rollerblading. And, if you feel like you should be doing something because everybody else seems to be doing it, as the novelist Mark Twain said “whenever you find yourself on the side of a majority, it is time to pause and reflect”.

– Harry Abel

Read more of Harry’s words and thoughts here:
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