Trusting Myself Again

I am standing at the top, looking over the side. Pouring rain and strong winds made the water and snow pellets hit my face so hard I thought this was Mother Nature’s cruel way of giving me a free facial. Visibility had dropped to the point where I could barely make out what the terrain was like at my feet.

I remember what it was like last time.
I can’t do this.

Two years ago I stood atop of the same beginner’s run and tried to remember what it was like to ski. That time, I had stumbled and slid my way down to the bottom. I was a tiny bit humiliated and lot defeated: whatever skiing abilities I had learned in my youth seemed to have vanished.

Two years later I was back with a friend to ski on the same mountain. I had been brave for the entire journey: splurging on a season pass, racing to obtain my rental gear, and testing out my old ski legs on the bunny slope. But as I stood over the side and looked down into the foggy abyss, doubt crept into my mind. Would I slip and slide my way down to the bottom again?

Having my friend there really pushed me; I knew I would feel extremely bad if my doubts held us back. Sucking in a breath, I pushed off on my skis.

I was sliding all over the place! I was doing the beginner’s fallback of using nothing but the snowplow! It was that hated combination of snow/ice that gave me visions of seeing myself cartwheel down the side of the mountain with the full knowledge that I am no longer as elastic as my younger self. I skidded to a stop and dug my poles into the hard snow. I was still upright, that was a miracle.

I had no idea where I was in the run; it was too foggy to see the top or the bottom. I was pretty sure the bottom of the run was a long, long, LONG, ways off.
Screw it.

I can’t tell you what made me disregard most of my fear. The only way I could sum up how I felt; I suddenly made the very conscious effort to try trusting.

Trusting my (rental) equipment: Remember when I said two years ago I slipped and slid my way down to the bottom of the run? Back then I had measured my own shoe size (incorrectly) and didn’t have the confidence to go back to the shoe shop and sit there until I found a pair that fit me better. This time around, I ensured I found a pair that fit. This time around, I knew I could trust my equipment to do what I needed them to do, when I needed them to do it.

Trust in my knowledge: I had spent several winters of my childhood learning how to ski on this very same mountain. I had probably skied this very same run hundreds of times before. After my first run I knew the terrain had not changed since the days of my youth; I could almost predict when I would be coming across the steeper and shallower sections.

Trust in my abilities: This was the biggest one for me. I began to trust in my abilities; I had spent many winters learning how to ski as a kid, surely some of those abilities would still be there in my adulthood. I told myself to relax, to push myself into my reckless zone (still extremely conservative by most standards) and trust I had the skill to handle that step forward. I didn’t do the snowplow (nearly as much) and I almost laughed out loud with glee when I realized I was giving my skis the freedom to do what they wanted to do on the snow, and yet I was still comfortably in control!

Despite the fact the downpour broke the limits of my “waterproof” gear, despite the fact I almost did slip and fall once on the run and another time when my heavy ski boots slipped on a puddle in the cafeteria, I found a new sense of excitement. I was falling in love with skiing all over again.

I can already hear the mountain calling for me to come back.

mountainside

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2 thoughts on “Trusting Myself Again

  1. really loved this post Vivien! particularly the piece about trusting yourself. why is that so hard sometimes!! thanks for sharing your journey and congrats on getting down the mountain (i still have never been skiing eeeeek)

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