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.
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!