This I Believe

Jessica - New York, New York
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in a dream. I believe in the power of self-satisfaction. I believe you don’t need anyone to tell you that you’re beautiful, although it is nice to hear sometimes. You can create your own beauty and confidence…a lesson I’m still in the process of learning.

When I started ice skating lessons, I saw the glitz and glitter of a world of beautiful ladies gracefully whirling around in dazzling costumes. The lights. The glamour. Being a gymnast I picked up the basic skills of figure skating, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted more. I wanted to be one of those beautiful ladies, but the journey wasn’t going to be easy.

When I was 15, I moved away from my family in Virginia to New Jersey to skate with my new partner. After a few months, I was told I had to lose weight, not an uncommon thing for figure skaters to hear. However I started to be so obsessed with my body that my skating got worse and I became depressed. I couldn’t walk by a mirror without critiquing my appearance. Worse, in January my partner and I split up because he believed I was incapable of losing weight. At that moment my entire world crashed down in a few simple words, “This just isn’t going to work.”

After that I had to re-evaluate my life because my entire purpose of existence had been snatched away from me in an instant. I was forced to hold myself to my own standards and not anyone else’s. What was acceptable was what I thought was acceptable. What successful was what I thought was successful. What was beautiful in life and in myself was what I thought was beautiful. It was up to me to decide.

It took me six angry months to finally realize that that day was probably one of the best gifts my now ex-partner could have given me. I had become so miserable with myself that I felt like I was going in circles. It took me those six months to realize that I AM worth something, not only in skating, but in life. I started training singles again. Skating by myself gave me such a feeling of empowerment that I had lost in the year before. I wanted skate for the pure love of it, back to that little girl who saw all those pretty ladies gliding gracefully around the ice.

I started looking at myself differently too. Everyday I look at myself in the mirror and pick out one thing that I like physically. If I recognize the positive things, then it leaves less room for the negatives to creep in. My skating is my mirror out to the world; it shows my passion and drive which reflect on me as confidence. Nobody can ever take that away from me, and I will never let it get away from me again.