I’ve always been freakishly tenacious and it irks me when I decide that I want to do something well and I find I’m not able to.
When I was three and a half years old in the days of roller-disco, my parents took me to a place called the Agora in Milton Keynes. It was a popular local pub with a bar area overlooking a roller skating rink. While my parents socialised I sat watching, eyes fixed on the skaters twirling and gliding to Bony M’s ‘Hands Up Baby Hands Up’ and ‘Break My Stride’ by Matthew Wilder.
Although I was too little, I begged my mum and dad to let me skate and they attempted to instill some patience in me assuring me that I would be able to – when I was older. But I was fascinated with the lights and the music and the speed by which people were whizzing around the rink, and patience has never come naturally to me, neither have I learned it with time.
Finally, I marched up to one of the bouncers (a big hefty man, no less than a giant to my young eyes) and asked if I could skate. He must have been pretty amused – cheeky little Gina arms folded, lips pursed explaining that I simply needed to get on the rink. He asked me how I old I was and I replied that I was ‘three and a half, nearly five!’. In amusement, the bouncer proceeded to find me a pair of skates that were not even close to small enough for my tiny feet.
Beaming ear to ear, in skates intended for a twelve year old stuffed with tissues so they didn’t fall off, I made my way onto the rink – parents watching anxiously from the side. Off I went. I was rubbish at first of course, falling over again and again – knees grazed and black and blue. I didn’t complain though.
As the wisdom of Star Wars teaches us: There is no shame in falling, there is only shame if you refuse to rise once again.*
And I just kept getting back up.
From that day I was given honorary access to the rink, the only child under twelve with permission to skate and I had my own tiny skates specially made to fit.
So at the tender age of three and a half (nearly five) I learned an important lesson – people can be convinced. You need to find the right person and ask them in the right way of course, but eventually if you keep asking different people the same thing in a different way – the chances are someone will give you a break.
* Quote by Master Pernicar to Lord Hood in Darth Bane Path of Destruction (Star Wars – A Novel of the Old Republic)