Monday, December 27, 2010

Facing my fears

Just when you think you absolutely, positively can't do something, you surprise yourself and do it.

For ten years, I'd looked at the Idaho Face run on Lookout Pass Ski Resort's map and cringed in fear. From the base of the mountain, you can clearly see it looming where the ski lift disappears over its summit. As you ride the chair, you watch all the accomplished "expert" skiers easily tackle it with speedy flair.

I would watch year after year as I passed it by, envious of those who were gutsy enough to take it on.

My mother had invited me to go skiing with her, my aunt and my littlest brother yesterday, and I never intended on taking on this monster before my trip. In fact, I was quite worried about how I'd do, being that I don't work out all that often and I'm a mom. For some reason, in my mind, the fact that I'm a mother makes me limit myself into thinking I can't do certain things, anymore... if ever again.

So, when I was ascending the mountain on the lift, I surprised even myself when I decided that today would be the day I took that ominous run on, mano-a-womano.

When I was about 11, my two year younger brother had asked me to accompany him on that run, and I thought I might be able to handle it. I'd been skiing since I was 3, so I thought to myself, "How hard can it be? Especially if my younger brother speeds down it frequently?" We got off the lift, proceeded to the drop off point, and as I looked over the edge, my breath caught and I watched breathlessly as my brother plummeted over the edge. There was NO WAY I was going to follow him, I thought. Ever.

Fast forward to my "moment" of decision. I was going to tackle this fear, and today was going to be the day. I again exited the lift with great confidence in my ability, and headed toward the "cliff". The first drop was the steepest, and if you fell, there would be no going back. You simply had to complete the run. I crept slowly up to the edge, pretending to watch the lift for someone I was missing, and could physically feel myself shaking in my ski boots. I stood and stood, noticing occasional laughter and comments from those still on the lift watching this silly girl in a pink ski coat nervously peering over the edge.

Their laughter spurred me on - reminding me that sometimes you have to look fear straight in the face and stick your tongue out at it, and pursue your goal.

I pushed off.

I skidded and fell, right on my butt - splayed out for everyone on the lift to see. My biggest fear. I didn't look when I heard the laughter increase. I simply got up, checked my gear and continued with a different approach, focusing only on the next ten feet ahead of me. A couple dozen parallel turns later, I realized I made it past the worst part, and then it was smoother sailing for a couple dozen more. Then, another drop off. But this time, I was ready. I knew how to handle it, and navigated the precipice with relative ease.

At the end, it was the part of the run I was familiar with (a lot of other paths collide with this one) and I headed back down the mountain to do it again.

I won.
What have you conquered lately?

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