It’s All Downhill From Here

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I like to be a little bit reckless sometimes. See, I was raised pretty sheltered. I’m the youngest of four children and the only girl. Now granted if you read my last post with random facts about me, you know that I can handle myself in a sticky situation and I don’t take kindly to people stealing my friend’s money or my soccer ball. However, self-defense and bully bashing aside, I was the good girl growing up.

I did what I was told when I was told to do it. I hated being a disappointment and I always colored within the lines. The only dangerous situations I put myself in were kept to the soccer field and dealing with a bully here or there. Oh, and there was that knife fight outside of… you know what? Never mind. Let’s just say that I played by the rules.

When my husband introduced me to snowboarding ten years ago I was totally against it. I walk into walls on a daily basis and he wanted to strap me on a board and have me hurl down a mountain, trees and other skiers be damned. The first couple of times I hated it. Partly because I hate sucking at things and partly because I was just too damn scared. Scared of hurting myself. Scared of being laughed at. Just plain scared. And snowboarders? Aren’t they a bit dangerous and careless? I felt a little spark at that that thought, but like the good girl I was, I ignored it.

Then half-way through that first season something happened. I stopped riding my back edge down the trail and I discovered I could go fast, really, really fast. The light bulb went off and the little devil on my right shoulder drop kicked the angel off my left and away I went.

I always liked the “thought” of going fast but I just could never let go. I could never trust my instincts. The more I practiced, and the more confident I got in my abilities, the more I realized just how much I not only enjoyed going fast, but how much I needed it. It isn’t until you’re flying down that mountain under your own control, trusting your own instincts that the freedom truly captures your spirit and you’re free.

Something happens to me when I go fast. When that adrenaline rushes in I feel like no one can touch me. Don’t like my stories? That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion, which sucks by the way, but you’re still entitled to it. You don’t want me as a friend, a sister, a confidant? Who needs you? I’m my own person. I can do this. I can do anything!

I can, and most likely, will run into that tree. Just kidding. Maybe. ;)

OK, let’s face it, becoming a totally awesome snowboarder will not turn me into an independent snob who doesn’t need anybody. The truth is I need people a lot more than your average Jane. But knowing that I can handle speed and trust my instincts to work the bumps and divets along the way is very empowering to the sheltered, scared little girl hiding within me.

We went snowboarding last night for the first time in five years and once again I heard that whiny voice creep into my thoughts. Wouldn’t you know it’s the same voice I hear when I write? That damn bitch was telling me that I couldn’t do it.

You’re going to fall and bust up your knee again.

You’re going to make a fool out of yourself when you get off the lift and take out thirty people including a ski patrol guy and be kicked off the mountain.

You should just go home. 

But as usual I kept her voice in my head and put on a happy face. That’s what I do. I smile through the fear, through the pain, because that was another life lesson I learned growing up. I learned no one needs to know your doubts, they’re yours, just deal with them. But I’ll save that train of thought for my therapist. :)

Anyway, back to last night… I laughed and joked with the people riding the lift with us, telling them stories about some of my worst falls.  As we neared the top of the mountain I braced myself for that first major wipeout off of the lift; my heart started to pump, my hands started to sweat and a nervous giggle escaped me. When it came time to push off the chair I took a deep breath, held it and glided about 4 feet before stopping. I didn’t fall.

Just got off the first lift of the night and I didn't fall!

I wanted to kiss someone but no one was around me so I just did a little dance and strapped myself back into my board. As the night wore on, my body remembered the flow of the mountain and I found my rhythm. I remembered that feeling I had five years ago, I remembered the freedom that boarding gave me and I felt that craving to have more of it.

Then the voice got quiet.

It was replaced with real, genuine confidence. I didn’t go as fast as I would have liked, but I had fun, I trusted my instincts on certain trails and I kept going. Sure, I wiped out getting off the lift twice, but the other times were smooth dismounts.

I’m tired of doubting myself, friends. I’m tired of thinking everyone is better than me. I’m ready to take on a bigger mountain, to shut that damn voice up once and for all.

I’m ready to write what I want to write, in my own time, no one else’s.

So shove that in your half pipe and smoke it. ;)

 

And for everyone who requested it… here is a little video I put together of me on the mountain. It gets a little choppy in the middle; I played with the speed of the clip because we were on a “mosey” part of the mountain. Enjoy!

Tags: , , , ,

19 Responses to “It’s All Downhill From Here”

  1. Jennifer Gracen Says:

    Can I get an AMEN?!?!? Hallelujah.

    You are one of my favorite people in the whole world, one of the best I know. Hearing you like this makes my heart happy and a puts a huge, victorious smile on my face.

    Go out there and do what you want, sister, because you CAN. I know you can. Love you. :)

  2. Jennifer Gracen Says:

    P.S. I just watched the video — loooooved it!!! I’ve never gone snowboarding in my life so I’m impressed and in awe of you right now. And how freaking CUTE are you??? Oh my God. :D

  3. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Thank you, Jen!! It’s an awesome time and it gave me a much needed pick-me-up. Sooooo glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Janelle Jensen Says:

    Have I told you lately that you ROCK! You can do anything if you set your mind to it. And, having seen your writing samples, I know that those little self doubts need to be drop kicked WAY off your mind. You are an amazing writer and an awesome snowboarder (and have the footage to prove it!). I am in awe of you, my friend. You inspire me!

  5. Janelle Jensen Says:

    Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE the title? ;) ‘Cause I do!!

  6. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Janelle!! Thank you so much for your kind words, you have no idea how much you help pick me up! Your support means the world to me. :)

  7. Susi Nonnemacher Says:

    Awesome!! Much more graceful than I would have been! :-)

    You should totally write whatever you want–and whatever that is, I am sure it will be amazing!! :-D

  8. Shay Fabbro Says:

    HAHA! I have lived in Colorado my whole life and have never been skiing. I don’t enjoy being cold and I am a colossal klutz ;) And you are now my hero, cuz I could never snowboard!!!!

  9. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Thanks, Susi! I was surprised how well I did; it was like riding a bike, thankfully! ;) And I will write what I want and if it’s bad then it’s bad but I’ll get better. #yay

  10. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Shay! Hahaha, you’re funny! I’m a klutz, too!! Trust me, honey, if I can do it YOU can do it!!!

  11. Prudence MacLeod Says:

    Awesome! It is fun to race the wind. Rock on Girl!

  12. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Thanks, Pru! I will rock on, you just watch me and my bad self! ;)

  13. Erica Lucke Dean Says:

    That is way too scary for me. I’m lucky I can make it from my bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night without breaking a bone. I’m not strapping my ass to anything at the top of an icy slope! Nope…I’ll happily watch from here :)

  14. Karen DeLabar Says:

    HAHAHA, Erica, you crack me up! It really isn’t that bad… after awhile… or after you drink. ;)

  15. Gareth Young (@SpartaGus) Says:

    Okay, now you’re starting to show the rest of us up! I am patiently cultivating one skill and you have many…

    …looked like a lot of fun though! :0)

  16. Karen DeLabar Says:

    I have many talents? Get out? Where? ;) Thanks so much, Gareth for your kind words. It was a lot of fun – you should try it!

  17. Christina Esdon Says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I’m so happy to hear your spirit coming alive and feeling confident. That’s my girl! I’m so proud of you! And such a great video too. You have mad skillz, yo. ;) P.S. I’m glad I’m not the only one who walks into walls on a daily basis. Your snowboarding exploits are inspirational to see for this klutz. P.P.S. We HAVE to meet. Nuff said.

  18. Amberr Meadows Says:

    Hell, if you can snowboard you can do anything–including write the best book of your life. Si se puede! (you can do it). I wish I knew how to snowboard, but I have that whiny voice inside, too…

Leave a Reply