This weekend I voluntarily walked across broken glass. I know, what an idiot, right?

It was part of an event for Domestic Violence charity Leeway which is the charity my Roller Derby League, the Norfolk Brawds are supporting. Other league members were around with collecting buckets, but somehow I ended up walking on glass with 2 other Fresh Meat, Rayner Terror and Wild Honey.

Thankfully they didn’t just point us in the direction of some glass and send us off, we were given a training session before hand that focused on building up confidence, believing you can do things and facing our fears. It included a few practical exercises. Including breaking wooden boards and snapping an arrow with your throat. I didn’t get to have a go at either; sadly, in the case of board breaking, and with relief, in the case of arrow breaking.

A lot of the session was really geared at people in the corporate world as these things are often done as team building exercises, but it was interesting to think about how it applies to Roller Derby, running, and just about any other sport. One of the first things we did was an exercise to face our fear of embarrassment, doing silly dances in a pair. It’s such a basic level of fear, but one that holds us back from so much. I know people who say they *would* run, but they’re embarrassed that people might see them huffing and puffing round the streets in leggings and laugh at them, or they would come to Roller Derby, but they already know they won’t be very good at it and they’d be embarrassed.

It also made me think about the importance of positive thinking, and facing things with confidence. If you approach things with fear and trepidation you’re far more likely to get hurt or fail.

I still didn’t want to try and break an arrow with my throat though.

When it came to the glass walk itself we had an audience, gulp. No pressure.

We watched, obviously unconvinced, as our trainer for the day walked barefoot across a bed of broken glass to prove it can be done. We could hear the glass cracking under his feet. Gulp.


Then it was our turn to try. Looking at the bed of glass and putting that first foot down was the hardest part. Your brain tells that walking on a big pile of broken bottles is a STUPID thing to do barefoot. But you start, slowly, testing each step first and if anything felt pointy moving your foot around, and after that first step your brain realises it’s fine, and off you go!


glass walk

And do you know what, it was easy! It actually felt quite nice underfoot, like a cool pebbly beach.

We actually all went round twice, because walking across broken glass once just isn’t enough. You have to go back and do it again just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

You can hear, and feel, the glass cracking as you step on it, and everything tells you that in a minute something sharp is going to stick in your foot, but it doesn’t.

There’s definitely a lesson to be learnt, taking that first step is the hardest. Whatever you might want to try but you’re scared, embarrassed or nervous about, just take that first step, and after that it won’t seem so hard.

Anyway, that’s enough philosophising. We had our photo taken with the Mayor, who also walked on broken glass in a tricorn hat and full robes.


And then we got certificates. I do love to have a certificate. I might frame it for my wall.


It was an amazing thing to be able to experience, and I’m so grateful to the Norfolk Brawds and Leeway for giving us the opportunity. I wouldn’t say it’s changed my life, but it’s certainly given me some food for thought, about the fears I’ve already overcome in the last few years, and the ones I still have left, about my fear of embarrassment and the opportunities I don’t take.

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend walking on broken glass (but probably best not to try it by smashing bottle in your garden)