Eternal Flame

Growing up, I was always fascinated with the thought of love. The butterflies on your stomach, the ear-to-ear grins, the never-ending thoughts of that one special thing that makes your heart tickle.
We may be too young to understand what love is especially if it’s felt towards a specific person since it can be mistaken for infatuation.  But at six, I fell in love.

Ysabel, you’re too young to be in love at six years old.
Ysabel, what do you know about love?
That’s just a big crush, Ysabel. It’s gonna go away.
Thirteen years later, the love was still there.

I found love in figure skating.

 

A competition ritual I always do before I’m called to skate – squeezing my coaches’ hands.
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Praying before skating including reminding myself of my life verse – Philippians 4:13

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My absence in this blog was dedicated to my sport. See, when you’re in love, you tend to go crazy – or at least make bizarre choices. And when I say that, I meant joining the Philippine National Figure Skating Championships, one of the most prestigious ice skating tournaments in the country, at the last minute. And the thing is, I haven’t competed in FOUR YEARS.
 

A little background: I started ice skating at six, stopped competing at sixteen. Why? Probably for reasons that the wind weakened the flame, aside from the fact that my knee injury kept coming back. I thought maybe, hey. Maybe there is “more than just ice skating out there”. So I tried a different sport, hung out with friends more, focused on school and family, did the things I couldn’t fully dedicate to because of my training. It was a good decision to take a break, to be quite frank. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t come back and compete. If I didn’t, the flame would have completely disappeared. What can I say? Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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So, I took my chance at competing again. My heart and mind were set in accomplishing the maneuvers from where I took off but unfortunately my body wasn’t. I was covered in rust. I was panting. I was stiff. My timing was off. I was falling on my jumps and spins. To make things worse, I injured my ankle from a jump I could do with my eyes closed (nothing serious, but I had a bandage for a good two days). Mind over matter, I thought. It was simple, but an effective solution come two and a half more weeks preparing for the competition.

The Nationals this year was one of the most emotional competitions I joined. It was a crazy roller coaster ride. The schedule, change of venue, and other factors affected it. However, I’m glad this was one decision I spontaneously took. Big chances are, that one was going to be my last. The medal wasn’t necessary, to be honest – I wanted to skate a program in which I’d be happy about after performing. I got my wish – I was in tears right before I took my final bow.

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What if I didn’t pick up those blue rental skates and gave the ice a try last 2002?
What if I decided to stop the sport all together when I was going through a hard, frustrating time with it last 2007?
What if I refused to stand up and try again after suffering a knee injury that kept me away from the sport in 2009-2010?
What if I decided to forgo Nationals this 2015, for a fact that I haven’t been competing in four years?

These “what if’s” are answered by “what is” by love – and that is figure skating.

Not exactly sure when I’ll be back, but let’s see where the cold breeze takes me. I will always find a heart and a home in this sport.

Thank You.

Competition photos taken by Rendrick Estrella
Costume by Viktoria Couture and Designs