Even though I only recently started skateboarding again, I’ve been accruing a lot of skateboard paraphernalia. I bought my first T-tool a few weeks ago, I’m on a new deck, and I picked up trucks more suited to my current needs, giving me a bonus board.
As I assembled my newest skateboard, I noticed, as one notices while working on objects that appear to them firmly rooted in the past, that changes I went through from my teenage years to now, my mid-30s, are reflected between my old style and my new setup.
When I started skating, I was an angsty teenager. Of course, any drama makes a typical teenager act out in some way but add in the emergence of emo music and skateboarding? You had me: quiet and rebellious, shredding the slopes of tears (lol, emo enough?).
My decks back then were usually on the grey scale, never having much color or flair, or were skate shop blanks. My trucks were black or camo green, and my wheels were black, donning a now faded image of young Malcolm X.
Back then, I was hard on myself for no reason and was impatient for an unknown future or another life I anxiously awaited (it was a vision of a life involving true love and screamo breakdowns, no doubt). Anything less than total passion was ancillary, a side thing, extra.
Switch to the present, and I’m a content adult human. I like to tell people that my soul is liberated, which usually gets quizzical looks—so I just say I write. With a sense of calm in a manic world, I’m riding on white and blue wheels and a deck that pictures a blue sky with bespoke clouds floating above a saintly woman. I like to think she is Madame Guyon, the sixteenth-century French mystic. But who knows.
As I compared my classically styled & newly minted boards side by side, I realized how this time around, I am coming to skateboarding with positivity at my back, with a sense that the best of us can be found at a skatepark, a street spot or online.
Looking at the boards, I felt like I was reading my high school notebooks or wearing a t-shirt that defined me at some point. For a moment, I was caught up reminiscing about the time skateboarding so prominently occupied my attention.
Where I was, where I am.
Sometimes the past and the future are the same. Sometimes people change drastically. Sometimes they don’t. No matter if I’ve transformed into a wholly new person or only taken on the appearance of change by some small token of growth, I feel lucky that through skateboarding, I get to reflect on the person I’ve been and who I see myself becoming.
There will be more decks and wheel combinations in the future, and each setup will act as an expression of where I see myself in life. But even when I pick up that slick looking 8.5 deck with a skeleton on black background, which I recently hawk-eyed at my local shop, and it appears to be in complete contrast to the mystic I currently ride, I know that I ride it as a person who has grown and evolved, who has come to reflect on the way things used to appear and how they are now.
I hope that means I’ve become a rad human being along the way. But who knows.
2 responses to “Then & Now”
Exceedingly interesting. And revelatory. And food for further discussion.
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I appreciate it! And I agree, coming back to this has me thinking of other ways to reflect on life through skateboarding.