Looking back, Mok realizes she was chasing something she never really wanted.
“My idea of success when I was little was the Olympics because that’s what everyone goes for in skating, but I wish it was different,” Mok said. “My calling was to bring that magical performance to the ice—that’s why I was into skating.”
Mok’s life became a competition. She recalled talking with other figure skaters about the number of calories she took in and the amount of time she devoted to working out. Each girl wanted to outdo the other.
Mok had whittled down her daily caloric intake to a dangerously low 710. To put that in perspective, it is recommended that healthy young women take in around 2,000 calories a day. A young, extremely athletic woman could easily take in more than that because the more active you are, the more calories you burn.
Mok lowers her voice and peers downward before explaining “the pivotal
moment” in her skating career in 2005. One day, she drank an excessive amount of alcohol, desperate to force herself to throw up. Finding her at home drunk, her parents were shocked. But she told them that she was only trying to force herself to vomit and why.
“[My parents] said ‘Oh my god, we had no idea! Just quit skating! This is not how you want to live your life, this is so wrong.’ So I think that gave me the courage to quit,” Mok said. “I couldn’t be normal in that environment. [My parents] were just like, ‘We don’t want you to hurt yourself, we love you,we want you to be OK.’”
“It is and it is not about the jumps. First is performance,” Mok continued. “Jumps are a part of choreography. Elements become fused into choreography and music, making it even more beautiful, freer and more effortless. That is how a great performance is made, and that is something that I had to consciously learn, change and grow from because I was still stuck in the idea of competitive skating.” That’s a mindset she would like to see other young skaters abandon.
Mok, who teaches skating and is also training to be a yoga instructor, still has the diaries she kept as a young skater. “When I look back at my diaries, it’s just,” she began, then paused, searching for the right words. “Depressing,” she continued. “I can’t believe I was so mean to myself. If I could go back to that girl, I’d say, ‘Ease up. It’s not the end of the world, you know?’”