This is not going to be my usual type of post. I want to talk about barriers. Hang on. This is a long one.
When we get older, we are imbued with fear. Well, I have been. I think it just happens. I was fearless when I was younger. My attitude was, ‘Well, why not?’ This applied to what I could do, couldn’t do, wanted to try, thought I might like, everything. The world was my oyster.
As I got older, I learned more of life. We all know how that goes. It shows you, first gently, and then with a hard bitch slap, that everyone has limitations. Or at least, Life wants you to think that way.
For someone who was only limited by what I felt were limits (and I just didn’t have any when I was younger, because I was convinced of my own fabulousness and ability to conquer whatever Life or anyone else put in my way) learning that someone or something else set limits and would let you hit up against them hard was an ugly revelation. I stumbled, then fell. Having done so spectacularly, I became cautious. Perhaps even fearfully so. I don’t know. I look back, and see where my fearful caution held me back. I think, Why? I know it seemed important at the time.
Living in any sort of state inspired by fear is an awful thing. You do it long enough, you don’t even notice it. It’s always there, part of the landscape.
I’m 45 now, and letting go of some of the fear. Why? Because I like me, and getting to this point has been a journey from that younger me who loved herself, and felt no fear. So fuck it. I like me. I’m not backing down or apologizing for that. Not anymore.
But an adulthood of fear of some sort or another is a hard habit to kick. That hit home with me this past weekend. I just started skiing again in the past several years with the family after…oh…twenty years since my last foray into trying to ski.
What I’ve learned is that I am afraid. Of falling. Of breaking something. Of something I can’t even articulate. We planned to go out on Friday, when everyone else was fighting over a TV at Best Buy or some other Black Friday thing. Everyone got up late. No one made the push for going – and I finally did, even though I was dragging my feet.
So on the drive up, I mulled over why I dragged my feet. I hate the walk to the slopes. Getting the kids ready. All the circus-like atmosphere to get a family out for the day.
On the ride up, I forced myself to shift my attitude. It was a beautiful day. Sunny, and the wind wasn’t kicking. Since I ski near the Continental Divide, no wind and sun is a gift. (Note: It didn’t go over 20 degrees all day, but we weren’t cold. It was too sunny.)
You know what? Getting the kids suited up and ready wasn’t as bad. My boots fit amazingly this year, so the trek to the lift wasn’t so bad. No whining from the aforementioned kids. It was nice.
On to the lift we go. First run down, and it’s not so bad. Little icy, which makes me nervous. Then I think, wait. Last year in spring snow I fell face first ass over teakettle, and I was fine. Thank god for helmets! So I fall. So what?
I spent that first run watching my kids and making sure I hadn’t forgotten everything. Then we go down the second time, and holy hell. It was better. I watched my kid (the one I was assigned to), and I leaned forward, and forced my shoulders to drop.
That run was fantastic. I got some speed, which I normally am not comfortable with. I’m always afraid I’ll lose control. One more aspect of the fear issue.
What’s so bad about losing control? Well, for me, and this will be different for everyone, when I lost control, I totally dropped my basket and my life went to hell. So I am negatively conditioned to hang onto control like my life depended on it.
Even to the point where I won’t go fast skiing. I changed that on Friday. I let go, and I went fast. Guess what? I didn’t lose control. When things got dicey, and I am sure they still will, I managed it.
I managed it. Take that, Fear.
Which led, because my kids love the lift that takes an eternity, to more reflection. Look how much I enjoyed the day that wasn’t a full day, nor was it the most challenging day we’ve ever done. I had a fantastic day. I took more risks (no moguls or anything like that) than I usually do, and I did it skiing faster than I normally would.
Because what the hell? I’m not a crazy risk taker, but ANY step out of my normal is a risk for me.
And since then, I’ve had a weight lifted off me. Some of that weight is still there. I’ve spent too long keeping control and worrying and making sure that “something” doesn’t happen. My wariness and cautious nerves won’t ease up overnight.
But something left. And it’s not a bad thing. All because I took a deep breath, and said ‘What the hell?’ on the first day out of ski season.
So take a chance this week. It doesn’t have to be big, or even anything that someone other than you notices. It just has to be a chance for you. Bite your lip, take a deep breath, and just go for something. Something just for you.
Because that’s what this is all about. In our own way, we are all