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Maya Angelou And A Day Away From Figure Skating

Every human life has value and every person has an important story. You know, it's funny... as a society that's been 'raised by the media', we at times feel so connected to those people who have achieved fame as a result of their talent or good work that when they pass away, we mourn and remember them almost like a dear friend sometimes. Think about it though... especially in the case of the artists we've lost in our lifetimes whose art has touched us personally. We have enjoyed private moments with their music and books, we have danced to their songs, we have admired their speeches and artwork; we have cheered them on from the sidelines. Simply put, something they said or did or in their lives touched us on some deeper level and made us feel connected with them personally. A prime example of one of these people who touched so many of us was Maya Angelou, who passed away on May 28, 2014 and will be forever remembered for not only her poetry and writing but the full, robust and passionate life she lived. Angelou wore countless hats in her eighty six years - writer, actor, fry cook, sex worker, civil rights activist, director, journalist, chanteuse, nightclub dancer, producer and public speaker - and drew from all of these experiences a profound understanding of the world we live in that she passed on to us through poetry and prose. I'm proud to say that I have four of her books in my extensive library: "Poems", "Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now", "Singin' And Swingin' And Gettin' Merry Like Christmas" and "The Heart Of A Woman" and I just cherish her writing and strong voice. So what does Maya Angelou have to do with figure skating you ask? Where could he possibly be going with this one? I want to talk about 'a day away' from figure skating and I'll start by sharing Maya's "A Day Away":


"We often think that our affairs, great or small, must be tended continuously and in detail, or our world will disintegrate, and we will lose our places in the universe. That is not true, or if it is true, then our situations were so temporary that they would have collapsed anyway. 
Once a year or so I give myself a day away. On the eve of my day of absence, I begin to unwrap the bonds, which hold me in harness. I inform housemates, my family and close friends that I will not be reachable for twenty-four hours; then I disengage the telephone. I turn the radio dial to an all-music station, preferably one, which plays the soothing golden oldies. I sit for at least an hour in a very hot tub; then I lay out my clothes in preparation for my morning escape, and knowing that nothing will disturb me, I sleep the sleep of the just. 
On the morning I wake naturally, for I will have set no clock, nor informed by body timepiece when it should alarm.  I dress in comfortable shoes and casual clothes and leave my house going no place. If I am living in a city, I wander streets, window-shop, or gaze at buildings. I enter and leave public parks, libraries, the lobbies of skyscrapers, and movie houses.  I stay in no place for very long.
On the getaway day I try for amnesia. I do not want to know my name, where I live, or how many dire responsibilities rest on my shoulders. I detest encountering even the closest friend, for then I am reminded of who I am, and the circumstances of my life, which I want to forget for a while.
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. We need hours of aimless wandering or space of time sitting on park benches, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetops. 
If we step away for a time, we are not, as many may think and some will accuse, being irresponsible, but rather we are preparing ourselves to more ably perform our duties and discharge our obligations. 
When I return home, I am always surprised to find some questions I sought to evade have been answered and some entanglements I had hoped to flee have become unraveled in my absence. 
A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit."


Whether we are skaters, coaches, choreographers, judges, writers or simply lovers of the sport, it's so easy to get so incredibly consumed by and wrapped up in figure skating. Why? It's pretty damn amazing and attractive to those of us who have such affection for it. I don't skate or judge anymore and after being 'removed' from the sport for so many years. I don't think I really had any clue what I was really getting myself into when I decided to dedicate myself to writing a blog about the sport I love. Between writing, conducting and editing interviews, researching and sharing news from the sport, I won't lie... I spend a lot of time doing what I do. I'm taking just a day away today, like Maya Angelou suggests, to smell the roses and take some time for myself. We all need to take that day away and that time for ourselves sometimes and I urge you all to make that time for yourselves sometime soon too. After a day of 'breathing', I'll be back, renewed and ready to write up a storm again. As Maya also said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you" and I have so many more stories to share.

ISkate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":