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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ugly

Two years ago, I was obsessed with fashion. Not just cute clothing, but Vogue fashion. The type of fashion that is more like art and less like things that should be on a body that needs to move and get stuff done. I was rarely comfortable, shoes pinching feet, belt cinching in waist, jewelry hooking on furniture as I passed. I did feel good, however. Comfort was replaced with the buzz that comes from looking at beautiful things and the endorphins of compliments.

Before moving to Los Angeles for college, I had always believed that judging anything based on looks was a shallow waste of time. LA knocked that thought out of me. I still think judging solely on appearance is a mistake, but I now realize that we are only given five senses, and to ignore any of them is a mistake. Sorry folks, but how you look matters. How you smell matters. The way you speak and the words you choose matter. The way you taste may only matter to one person, or a few at a time if you are into liberal living and not monogamy, but love, sex, and reproduction matter. The way you touch and how you feel inside your body and to others also matters. Our senses guide us through the world, alerting us to good and bad that is instinctively felt, not intellectually worked out. So, yes. Looks matter. For better or worse, we are immediately judged on looks and we all have to deal with it.

That said, I now live in Wyoming. Looks matter less. Maybe looks matter in a different way. Here, looking cold is looking stupid. Oh! You wore a really cute wool coat from Marc Jacobs to a party. Well, no one thinks you look good because it's actually a bon-fire party and you're so cold you are turning blue. Not cute. You can't frolic in the river because you are wearing sexy strappy sandals? Not hot.

I've watched my cute dresses move to the back of the closet and my form fitting blazers have been replaced with polar-tech fleeces that when zipped up all the way make me look like I'm wearing a scuba suit. Not like Jessica Alba in a scuba suit, but like a normal person with no make-up and bad lighting in a scuba suit. You may not have to own anything this ugly, but there are active-lifestyle coats with hoods that zip all the way up the neck. I own a couple for the coat part of the garment, but really, this look is so ridiculous that as much as I try to give over to practicality over looks, I'm only zipping the coat up all the way if I'm lost in the woods for over 2 days and I'm either alone or with woman. Time that I used to spend picking out belts and cute necklaces is now devoted to figuring out how many layers are necessary for the given temperature.

The worst part about all this practical clothing that can keep you warm in negative 20 or sweat free in 96 degrees is that it's all so expensive. A good pair of snow boots to keep you warm and from slipping usually cost about $150. A sweet ski coat with all the technology and a bit of steaze (aka: style) is gonna set you back about $300. My $500 dollar skis are now my most expensive foot wear. A few years ago, I thought that money was going to be spent on Christian Louboutin heels and I would be like the ladies of Sex and the City. I can't lie. I miss cute shoes and adorable outfits. Sometimes, I watch the glammed out women in music videos and want to rip the smart-wool socks off my feet and run back to Los Angeles, where spending 2 hours getting ready in the morning won't make me a social leper and mascara has a fighting chance of staying on my face. That's not going to happen though, because I'm actually, incredibly happy, warm, comfortable and doing awesome things in my ugly fleeces. And, the pants I have to wear to ski down a mountain may not show off my assets, but my assets are a lot firmer and more lifted now that I am skiing down mountains.

Fighting against the practical outdoor clothing is useless anyways, because once you own one thing, you'll own it forever. The friggen stuff is all damn near indestructible, being made for bear wrestling or whatever, and it's water resistant and impossible to stain. Plus, tons of it comes with life-time guarantees. These outdoorsy types are tricky, conspiring to make me look ugly and not show off my natural waist, but they sure do know how to have a good time and prevent stains.

I have a dream. Someday, I will be such a badass that I will be able to have good hair while hiking and find ski pants that show off my butt. I'll find a moisturizer and sunscreen that keep me from turning all leathery and I'll be so thin that even a boxy fleece won't make me look fat. It may not be tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year, but I will accomplish my dreams.




ps. Some of my dreams even involve helping others and making the world a better place.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Before We Go Any Further

I must mention a story I heard at my recent job orientation. Working for an ski resort that has a reputation for extreme terrain, I should expect to be asked, "Would you please share your most adventurous experience with the group?" Didn't. Flabbergasted that I am now such an adventurous person that people would ask me to share adventure stories as part of my job, I started to search my mind.

Oh, yes! The story about taking a 4 person plane packed with 5 people off the island in Honduras. That could be good. Jumping off the 40 foot waterfall? Could work. Yeah. Maybe. Not that great. Poking the lava with a stick. I could touch on the bus ride over the mountain pass with the open door. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh...

"Ok, Todd. How bout if you start?"

"Sure. Uhhh, well? I guess it would be about 5 years ago. I was mountain biking with a couple of my friends and of course I was way ahead of the two of them, and, I was attacked by a grizzly bear."

The group waits. Eyes begin tentatively shifting ever so slightly. The search for confirmation of that being the entirety of the story is discreetly underway. Todd looks to his right and tries to pass the torch. The cardigan wearing snow bunny to his right is horrified. Luckily, this time, that snow bunny wasn't me. I would have tried to follow this story. The actual snow bunny knew better. She just stared at Todd, until, some dude asked, "What? Dude? Where? How?" Simple questions, but apparently the right ones.

It should be said, Todd is older. A ski patroller of middle age. No visible scarring on the face.

"Yeah, so I was headed up (name of trail omitted cause I forgot) and I was pretty far ahead of my two buddies. This griz comes at me from the side. All I heard was gnarly thumping, something I don't usually hear. So, I see the bear and it's already charging me. Man, it got me really good."

"Dude, how'd you get it off you?"

"My friends finally caught up and unloaded two cans of bear spray."

There is more to the story, but I'm already doing Todd an injustice with the shotty telling, so I'll let the gist of it speak for itself. The real gem of the story, though, came later when we were discussing the merits of helmets while skiing. Todd, piped up, "I'm sure psyched that I wear a helmet when I mountain bike. That bear busted one gnawing on my head."

I told the story of poking lava with a stick. Becoming a badass is a constant education in humility.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Failure/Success

I'm badassing all over the place. This is success. I've skied 3 out of the last 4 days. I just got back from Central America. The problem is, all this badassing is leaving not a lot of time and energy to write the stories. Failure.

Don't tell anyone, please, but the whole reason I ever do anything sweet is to try to impress other people later with the story. I've heard about this whole "only you can make yourself happy. Don't try to impress others..." thing. "To thine own self be true" is more my thing. If I can't make other laugh, jealous, or inspired, I feel dead inside. So, it's time to trim down the action and up the writing. Once again, it all comes down to balance. I bet core strength is involved some how too. Oh, life. I'm gonna getcha.

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