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Authors: Lucinda Ruh

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BOOK: Frozen Teardrop
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19
Finale and Opening the World for Me

(AT HOME, WHEREVER I AM)

Life gives answers in three ways, it says yes and gives you what you want, it says no and gives you something better,and it says wait and gives you the best.

I
waited and therefore the best had come to me. I have won the game. I feel in many ways that it is my destiny to share my experience and expose my vulnerability. I wish to keep on inspiring people with my story. As my spins inspired my fans, I do hope my insight about my life will do this as well. Now, I live life, love myself, and I live in the truth. I have found my peace. My soul can once again reside within me. It was an excruciating as well as glorious thirty years and I hold immense gratitude to those that have changed my life in the process. I have to come to realize that anything difficult one goes through is fine as long as you can recover from it, and therefore my life is victorious. What is most important is not what has happened to you but what you do as a result of it, and I plan to do honorable actions in my life. I would never want to relive what I did, but the lessons I learned are priceless. Skating taught me powerful determination, concentration, hard work, a will to achieve anything I want, and an ability to adapt to any situation no matter where in the world.

Although I led a life of privilege in so many ways, I have also led a life of real hardship. I have conquered obstacles in ways I never imagined I ever could have, overcoming extraordinary adversity to achieve unique recognition and worldwide admiration. I know I have overcome enormous mental, emotional, and physical abuse at the hands of ego-ridden trainers and emotionally exasperated family members in order to achieve my spiritual strength and personal resolve but I know it was worth it. I hope to think that I was a brave little girl who took on the world — only to find myself desperately searching for the innocent little girl I had left behind and only to ultimately ask of myself,
Why am I here and what greater purpose might I serve?
I feel my story has been, above all, a story of recognizing love — love for self, love for others, and love for the sacredness of life, even in the darkest and loneliest battlefields of overwhelming inhibitions and impossible probabilities. I now know that
truth, courage,
and
love
remain the greatest medals of all. In essence, in telling my story
I humbly hope to awaken the extraordinary in others
and I hope to encourage others to find their own balance and to find within themselves the inspiration to become their own champion in life no matter what the obstacles are and no matter who they are or what they do.

In no way do I think I needed to tell my story because my life has been more grand, more painful, more joyous, more heroic, or filled with more tragedy or success than other persons. My experiences may be nothing to tell compared to other painful injustices inflicted on mankind or the heroic moments that have changed the world. I only express truthful words of the life that I have led in hopes of helping someone in the best way that I pray I can.

My mother always said that in life you can watch, or you can teach, or you can do, and she encouraged me to always do. I feel that to be a spectator in life is to avoid and escape reality and suffering and so in my life, I do, and I teach from the experiences I have lived through. As I guide new prodigies on the ice, I don't view my role as teaching them only skating skills to make them gold medalists. Rather, I feel I am there for them as a mentor to teach them how to be the best they can be, and that there is more to life than achieving a double axel. I am to them as I wished a coach had been to me at their age. Sometimes as an athlete, the one jump or that one spin can become your sole obsession, and it can feel that nothing is more important than achieving that one goal. I feel a responsibility to guide them in how to become a champion in life by respecting themselves in ways they might never have imagined.

It's not only on the ice but off the ice as well that I hope to continue to inspire children by speaking to them at schools and at charities. As I do on the ice, I guide them to find the courage, respect, and confidence within themselves to achieve their goals. I love the feeling of being able to give back by encouraging people of all ages and walks of life to learn from my mistakes and for them to see their full potential.

This book is ultimately for my parents. I love them to the depths of the universe and to the length of eternity. They hold my gratitude, my respect, and my profound thankfulness. They are to me my wonderful and perfect parents. They might not be perfect in other people's eyes but in my life they presented to me what I needed to learn and for that they are perfect and I could not be more grateful.

My mother had absolutely treated me like a princess when I was little and when the pressures of the skating world were not yet present. I had been truly spoiled in a good sense in more ways than one. She would write cards almost every day, either wishing me good luck, or congratulating me for a great day, or even thanking me for my love, elaborating each and every one with stickers and little drawings of smiley faces, angels, and fairies. She raised me with meticulous care and love and attention to every single detail. I am eternally grateful for the art, love, and beauty she presented to me, as it prepared me for my life for how I now take care of others. The toughness of the skating life then covered her true self and I missed my true mother. I truly never regret that path of life, but I so regret the fact that we could not enjoy each other and the wonderful and prestigious life I had on and off the ice because of our pursuit to achieve that unattainable perfection.

Readers may ask where my father was all this time. He was ever-present in spirit but due to circumstances that could not be changed, he missed a lot of my growing up and his presence was greatly missed. He unfortunately did not have the chance or the occasion to know or understand the magnitude of my struggles with skating, my mother, and later with my unrelenting health problems. My mother and I had always tried to show my father only the best side and the good results. I missed my father terribly during those years. Last Christmas he shed a tear of remorse for not having been able to protect me more but I know that my father did everything possible and to this day I know I will be his little girl forever.

You may ask where my sister was all this time as well. Here, too, I wish she could have played the role to me of being a helpful older sibling, but in this life so far, circumstances have blocked her. I only hope as we encounter each other and ourselves over and over again in many disguises, she will one day be granted this kind of role to play for others or for me, as I will be a good sibling for her.

I have truly only wanted to be good to my parents. My parents have lived all their lives for my sister and me and they gave their hearts to us. The love that my parents and I have has always been so strong that I knew nothing would break it. Nothing had truly broken it, but we became quite fragmented, and from that experience we now have more love and respect for each other. As I had to heal, my parents, my mother especially, had to heal as well, and I pray that our journey together has awakened the light within her. I pray that in the end I truly gave her more than I took, since I will give without remembering but I will never forget what I've taken.

I have spun and created positions, with speeds and lengths on the ice that even today no skater can imitate. I have been a creator; I have made sculptures on ice. I have been coached, trained, and had my programs choreographed by the most famous leaders in the skating world. I have skated at eight world championships, six national championships, and two world professional championships and have been a guest at the White House. I toured and skated professionally with the best tours in the business and have skated live with dozens of incredible world famous artists on stage. I have done what others may only dream of. Yet I am the most proud, not of the medals and accolades, but of my overcoming so many obstacles and hindrances to achieve what I have and surviving an array of hurdles with my strong perseverance. This is what I hope is to be your inspiration. It is remarkable as well that now that I have stepped away from my performing, I finally seem to be able to feel and understand the magnitude of the effect I had on people with my spins. Strangely enough, more than ever I now do feel appreciated for what I have given to the sport. Maybe I had to remove myself from my own skating to see how much I had accomplished. I am now truly grateful when I hear from fans or fellow skaters how I made an impact on them with my art. This brings that perfect tear to my eye. After all, I can be proud of myself in the most humble way.

I will have to live the rest of my life with injuries that will never be completely healed from the fatigue, dizziness and other ailments resulting from spinning, concussions, and over-training. I will never be all healed but I am better for it. I am the new Lucinda with markings unique to me. I have become wiser and stronger. I am truly thankful for each and every day as I have gotten a second chance in life and I will never take life for granted again. This time instead of grabbing my chance ferociously with two hands and pulling the reins myself, I let them gently fall into place and allow the universe to take me on my true journey meant for me.

I hope that you can be your own master in life, knowing that no matter what lies in front of you, you will always be able to overcome it, as long you believe in and love yourself first, and as much as you believe in or love someone else. Sometimes I feel we tend to believe in others more than ourselves. At least that is what I had done. I had given all my power and all my beliefs away. Just remember that no goal is ever grand enough to sacrifice the loss of yourself, your self worth or your self respect in the process. Trusting yourself first and standing up for what you believe in is what makes you who you are, and what makes you wonderful! Being who you are and loving yourself is the first step to your own greatness

Mother and father, I thank you that you showed me the whole world in its purity and true essence. Thank you profoundly for loving me and for caring so much about my dreams. I thank you for giving me all I could want, all I did not even know I wanted, and more. Without skating I would not be who I am today. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening up the whole world and endless opportunities to me.

My mother, father, and sister, I love you more than words can say or dance could ever express. I love you more than ever. Now I, and hopefully you, will carry flowers in both your hands to give and to receive the beauty of ourselves and life to eternity!

The most important relationship that you will ever have in life is the one with yourself, and once that is conquered, everything else in your life will fall into place.

Afterword

BEING THE MOTHER OF LUCINDA

I
feel that being a mother is the most incredibly difficult yet rewarding job on this earth, and to say that I did everything right all the time is not possible. I just did my best with all that I knew. The one thing I know I have always done, however, is to love my daughter selflessly and with immeasurable depths. I lived for her and maybe through her, and my husband and I without question, gave all that we could, with no limits either emotionally or to the expenses in all forms.

When Lucinda first stepped on the ice, at barely four years old, she looked confident and seemed to be so familiar with the ice. One reason, of course, was that from the time she was only a couple of weeks old she had been around ice rinks every day because her sister, who was nine years older, skated tirelessly. Without her sister, Lucinda probably would never have become a skater. In one way, this would have been a waste of her great talent; in another way, she could have been saved from injuries and a broken heart.

As her mother, I found that skating became addictive. It was just mesmerizing and amazing to watch her progress. She had great feeling for the ice, she had enormous charisma, and she learned with such great speed. It felt like nothing could stop this little girl from achieving everything in her path. In the beginning there was so much joy on the ice every single day. It was then, that her skating became the joy of my life as well. She became a shining star. This start gave us a lot of strength and without it the rest would have not been possible. Lucinda continued to win all the important competitions, which is what gave me the confidence that it was the right thing to pursue.

On top of the demanding skating regimen, Lucinda excelled in whatever she did, whether it was school, ballet, jazz dance, piano, cello, or even learning her fourth language, Japanese. The schedule was incredibly tough and soon I found out that all this was too demanding, even for my tough German style view of work, work, and more work. I decided she had to focus on only one art form and, of course, school. School would always come first. It tore my heart apart as a mother to have to give up anything for my daughter especially when Lucinda was excellent in all that she did. Lucinda chose skating at the age of eight and sometimes I think I should have given her more time in life to decide what she truly wanted to do. If she had taken more time she might have chosen something she really loved even more than skating, but, alas, hindsight is always 20/20!

Skating was then our main focus, and very quickly became my obsession, too, since skating is not something a child can go to and do alone. You have to bring your child to the rink and stay there in case of injuries, and the lessons last only twenty minutes. An ice rink is not a day care center and no one is really looking out for your child. The rest is practice, practice, and practice, and you cannot expect an eight-year-old to do it all alone. They need support at that age and all I wanted was to be there for her. Therefore, skating then becomes not only the child's dream, but evolves into a dream for the child and the parents together. However, since the parent is the adult, the dream tends to lean more into the parents' hands and direction.

I became more and more involved, and it was as if there was an immense force I couldn't stop. Lucinda listened to everything I said and I was making all the decisions. However, it was somehow not the Olympic dream and the Olympic champion that I was chasing after. It was more a dedication to the practices every day of our lives as we aimed for perfection that consumed me. Lucinda became gloriously magnificent, and so I thought my way was perfect for her. The better she became the more I wanted her to reach perfection in every aspect of skating.

But while Lucinda was still young, the skating life and our addiction to it overtook everything, and I no longer allowed her to be a child. I felt like I wasn't allowed to be just her mother and unfortunately, knowingly or perhaps unknowingly, I made the fatal decision that skating was more important than anything else and that it would teach my daughter more than anything else. Now I truly feel like it was a disaster of a decision and I do regret it with great sorrow. As I let myself fall into the spell, there was more and more pressure from coaches and the nonstop competitions as well as the pressures of school. The school became more demanding and the work on and off the ice became tougher. We both had enormous discipline and whatever I said she should do, Lucinda did twice as much. Soon I wanted three times as much and she wanted four times as much, in a never-ending practice. Lucinda tried so hard to please me all the time as I was trying to please her, resulting in much sacrifice on both ends.

As time progressed, there was not enough sleep and way too many ongoing injuries, concussions, fractures, and broken bones, but for some reason I didn't listen to her or her body. Maybe I felt the power of what she could do on the ice would exceed all else, and since she never complained I somehow believed she was invincible. It was a big mistake on my side as I continued to push and push. As beautiful and easy as the skaters make this sport look, it is a hundred times harder in reality. I entered a vicious circle when surrounded by a society of such devotion and discipline and I caved into their ways. I should have guided her more moderately, giving her time with friends, or perhaps some days off. But I did not, as I felt every day or every minute playing would make Lucinda less perfect, and she was so good on the ice that why in the world would I take that away from her? I saw this as a beautiful chance for her and I felt it was my duty to nourish it in any way I could.

Looking back I would never again encourage my child to do a national sport while not being in our own country, due to the lack of real support from the national team surrounding the child who is a foreigner. That is also why I felt like I could not be a real mother, and so I struggled with myself in many ways. I felt no moral support since my husband was away a lot and I had no one to confide in, and I regretfully say I followed what the other mothers did. It is shameful to say, but what they did, I did as well. I thought it was the way to make my child a better skater and so I followed suit. I followed them instead of putting my values first. I followed others instead of looking out for the best interest of my child and her life. I followed others and put skating, and most importantly the coach's words, above everything. I however do take full responsibility for it.

Now I know I should not have listened to the coaches, but at that time I trusted them and only them before I trusted Lucinda or myself. You go blindly into everything new in life and I did not know any better, and unfortunately both my child and I suffered. I never intended to hurt Lucinda. I reacted to her coach's complaints and so I disciplined Lucinda. I never thought it a bad thing then, but now I do. At that time it was just a reaction to please the authority. My husband and I even allowed the family to be torn apart when Lucinda was just fifteen and we decided to not join Lucinda's father when he was called back to Switzerland for his job. I always put skating first, which now I see was not right. But then it seemed right or otherwise we would not have done it. There was extreme loneliness as it was just us the two of us struggling against the tide. Yet sometimes when we did hit a huge successful wave just right, all the pain would be forgotten, and that is what kept us going and going.

Somehow the success continued to offset the pain and we kept trudging on. Lucinda continued to become the most extraordinary and beautiful skater, a phenomenon in her own right, as she did something nobody had ever done. So, in many ways the path we were on was right and I am very thankful and feel so lucky when Lucinda says in this book over and over again that she has only gratitude for me. We had something no one could ever truly understand unless they lived through it.

If there is one thing I learned, it is that if I had known the negative results of our dedication to skating from all the injuries and the illnesses and our two broken hearts, I would not repeat our journey. But looking back is always easy. Since in many ways Lucinda was a prodigy, perhaps I would do it again after all, just in moderation, giving her myself as her mother only and letting her be a child. This way she might have even been better on the ice, but in my eyes Lucinda was and is perfect and I am thankful to her for having given me this one of a kind journey of memories. Lucinda, I am from the bottom of my heart sorry and thank you for being my angel who fell from the sky. I know, Lucinda, that you understand me and the love we have for each other is therefore only stronger because of this.

BOOK: Frozen Teardrop
2.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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