Julia Plevin

Fall Seven, Rise Eight

Julia Plevin
Fall Seven, Rise Eight
Fall seven, rise eight.
— Old Japanese saying

My two best friends independently told me they wanted to go to The Church of Eight Wheels – a church-turned-roller-rink in San Francisco on a recent Friday night. I figured it was a ping — what's in flow — so we made it happen. 

I put on some flare jeans and a crop top. I told my friends Lauren and Kris that first I wanted to stop by a pizza place because there was a guy there I wanted to see. The guy was a friend, who has a girlfriend, but also I kinda had a crush on him. And told myself I wasn't sure how long their relationship would last because he told me it wasn't really working. And he was just so polar opposite from the live-in partner who I had just left in a Goddess Kali-eqsue act of totally burning down my temple, that I wanted to be in that energy field for a hot second.

So they humored me for a few minutes and then were antsy to get skating.

"You can do better!" they both agreed. I figured they were right. I was told by the astrologist that I'm a "terrible picker for men" so who am I to know who to have a crush on? Besides it was time to lace up our skates and hit the rink. 

Turns out my friends were superstar roller skaters. And me, who's used to being great at everything, was the worst in the group – like barely safe on a crowded rink. I sorta ice skated growing up until one infamous day when I was whining about my skate hurting while at the rink with my Dad and he lost patience with me and told me it was the last time he would ever take me skating. That pretty much ended my skating career at age 9 and also started me on a path where I thought it was bad to complain when I was in pain so hid so much for so long....

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So my friends were speeding around and doing all sorts of tricks. I tried to keep up but I kept falling. Kris gave me tips that I gladly accepted. "Don't lift up your feet. Use your thigh muscles to guide you," she said. I was practicing this new technique when I got cut off by another skater, lost control completely and fell hard on my knee. Before I could even really conceptualize what had happened, Kris and Lauren were by my side. I was holding back tears and they were being hilarious and building off each other, making me laugh so hard and feel so loved. "Who did this to you?! Let's get them!" they said. 

Sitting on the floor of the rink in a lot of pain with a big smile on my face, I realized why I had gotten this ping to go roller skating. It's because I had fallen down in life and had to get back up. This was just the literal version of the existential pain I was going through after the disorienting breakup. A physical injury for my metaphysical pain.

And what's more — when learning about the heroine's journey from child to maiden to mother to queen to crone, I read that sometimes we don't go in order. For example, a child could become a mother without fully getting to complete the child or the maiden part of the journey. And that it's not linear — we are going through each of these parts of our journey throughout our entire lives. There on the floor in an 80s themed roller disco, I completed a part of my maiden voyage that had been missing: that feeling of having two best girl friends completely have my back. No competition. No snark. No passive aggression or trying to impress guys. Just complete support for other women. My fall. The fall of the patriarchy.