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Give Yourself A Break

The first Thursday night of every month are skate nights at the roller rink. Apparently, one of those was also a good night for a school banquet, so I ended up baby sitting two of my favorite humans in the world-my cousins. One of my other favorite people, Ben, helped me babysit them. We had a lot of fun, ate pizza, skated, ate ice cream, skated a little more, then I was informed of two tests tomorrow, so we headed home to study.

They were great on the rink, absolute naturals. The youngest, Tessa, had never roller-skated before, so we got her a size 2 in her skates and started to go! To begin, she tried a walking motion, like we all do when we first skate; after we went through how to skate properly though, she did great.

Ben and Jana lapped us a few times, but they were blading, so it was easier ;)

Not too long in, Tess began to cry. I wasn't sure why, so we skated to the wall and held out there for a second as I asked if everything was ok. Her voice was shaky while she explained that she wasn't crying from pain after her small incident with falling, but rather she was crying because she "wasn't good at it!" I could relate to this feeling. I like to be the best at everything I do too, but I told her, "Tess, you've never done this before. You're trying and I'm proud of you. Keep doing great." I was proud of her. She was great for never doing it before and she just needed to have some mercy on herself.


The next morning I had therapy, explaining to my counselor that I had an exhausting, overall bad week. I felt overly confused, sad, and lost; I felt like I was going to do everything wrong.

She said this: 19 is a hard age, you're beginning to be a real adult and make your own decisions. You just started therapy, you're beginning to work through past issues, you don't have to be perfect. You're learning.

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Just the night before I told Tess to not be so hard on herself when she was doing something she had never done before. But there I was, holding my score card-making sure I was perfect at being an adult, when I was just starting and learning.


Maybe you've done that before. Have you ever started something new, like a hobby, sport, relationship, or career, expecting yourself to be perfect the first (or even second) time? Tess put a lot of pressure on herself, she demanded immediate perfection, when in reality she was just a beginner at roller skating. It's better to be an imperfect beginner than not try because you hold yourself to the standard of perfection.


I'm on vacation with Tessa right now, yesterday we were hanging out together. She said, "Ev, I went rollerskating the other day at my friend's birthday party. I've gotten really good at it!"

She would've never become good if she stopped because she wasn't perfect. If she kept the expectations weighing on her and given up, I wouldn't have been able to say, "I knew you would." She had to allow herself to be an imperfect beginner, but sometimes it isn't an easy process.


If this is you, take a breath. Beginnings are necessary, nobody is perfect, at first.

This is your first time living life; look at it like rollerskating, it takes practice and patience, but the journey is a blast.

Grace and peace,


1 Comment

Josiah Keller
Josiah Keller
Jun 11, 2022

So what I'm hearing is, Benjamin made Tessa cry.


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