Monday, December 19

day 10608: the meaning of fear

A moment of fear, knee deep in freshly fallen snow, thighs burning, brain surging with thoughts of “why… fcuk it… why,” skis crossing, short breaths, curses under my breath, a twinge of pain and then another. I should not. I would not. But then I did.

There was no way but down. It was too late to turn around. The climb up would hurt just about as much as the run down. Peer pressure. One split second decision after a week of saying “no.” Regrets? Then - yes. Now - maybe. Later – probably not. But much, much later… only time will tell.

It was a surreal moment not too long ago. Ok, crap, it was just over a week ago. The sky was blue, nary a cloud in sight. The occasional bird of prey soared by overhead. The smell of diesel (I’m assuming that snowmobiles run on diesel) was strong, yet somewhat comforting, as was the guttural roar of the vehicle that had come to rescue. An occasional familiar face floated momentarily into view, smiled reassuringly and floated away again.

And me? Flat on my back being pulled down the slopes on a sled. I begged for a lift on the snowmobile. Oh, how I pleaded and bargained to be able to descend with some shred of dignity. But flat on my face, ass up in the air, there was no way in hell they took my entreaty seriously. I tried to make jokes. I tried to laugh. Humour does wonders for the healing the body… or so they say… to no avail.

It was a surprise, the fall. I was coming to a stop, looked uphill for a friend, caught a backedge, fell down and went “Boom!” I thought I was just winded. Things weren’t really in that much pain. The only thing wounded was my pride. That is, until I tried to stand up. Soon afterwards, the only thought running through my head was “Not again, please God, not again… I have to go to Mexico in two months…”

This was supposed to be the year to “go hard or go home.” What’s the worse that I could do to myself that I haven’t already done? Torn rotator cuffs, bruised ribs, sprained ankles, bad knees, broken back… been there done that. Pshaw, I scoff in the face of danger! One week’s rest and I’ll be perfectly fine. No worries, x-rays came back clean. Rest, ice, compress, and elevate… yes, I know… and lots and lots of ibuprofen and muscle relaxants. I know the drill. Like I said, been there, done that.

But I was wrong. Yes, been there, done that, and have always blamed my body for not being able to do what I thought that my mind had wanted to do. First, I was too fat, my body was out of shape, my knees were weak and well, hell, I was just too darned tired all the time. But then I lost the weight, did an extraordinary amount of sit-ups to strengthen my core, my legs and arms were strong, and well, hell, I still couldn’t do it.

My mental game is off. It’s never been on. I very grudgingly admit that I *sigh* am afraid of speed… even on skis (hence, probably the reason for my very limited aspirations to race). Instead of focusing on my ability and gritting my teeth to tackle the slopes, I anticipate the fall. I let the images run over and over inside my head. I can almost feel the weightless sensation in the pit of my stomach. The metallic taste of dread in my mouth, I check my speed and let my fear overrun me.

I am afraid of the pain, and afraid of the repercussions. My body aches, recovery time is longer than it used to be. I don’t want to take the risks that will take me from being a dabbler to being an actual skier or snowboarder. I used to call myself that… a skier… and to a lesser extent, a snowboarder… but I no longer deserve the distinction that either one of those labels afford.

I used to love the snow blowing into my face, the coolness of the air against my teeth, the feeling of being alive and being indestructible. I should be filled with the anticipation and the exhilaration of flying down the snow covered slopes. Instead, my heart pounds, and not in a good way. I am afraid to step beyond my limitations, comfortable only in the familiar.

This is wrong. I should not fear the fear. I should not let my mind play games with me. Same as climbing, my mind blocks me from achieving the next step. I have the ability, but the mental game I play constantly with myself hinders me.

1 comment:

teahouse said...

Ahhh, I love skiing. I'm going in January.