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Friday, May 7, 2010

Hater Help: Getting Up Glory

I went back-country skiing again!!! I hiked up a big mountain, Glory Bowl, for those in the know, and it was awesome. The hike up took me forever. Everyone passed me. I almost threw up and there was a point where I could only take 10 steps without a pause. What is important though, is that I made it. Taking a chance, pushing my own limits, I decided to try this whole back-country skiing thing again. It didn't hurt at all, besides the challenge of the hike. The skiing was smooth and easy.

After seriously contemplating not going because it could be unsafe, I couldn't resist. The #1 reason I was driven to go was a conversation I had with a hard-core skier after my previous back-country flop. I told him of the perils, the falls, the temptation to just sit and cry. His response was something to the tune of, "That's ok. You're just not a back-country skier. You're a lift skier. That's who you are. You are someone who skis the lifts." He didn't intend it in a mean spirited way, but in my head the hater warning flashed. This guy echoed my fears back to me and as he shrugged off my attempt, I knew that wasn't the end of my back-country exploration. Nobody puts baby on a chair lift and tells her that's all she can do. At this point, I would like to say thank you to all the haters out there.

My first winter in Jackson, I was definitely a fish out of water. I was a girl who had stopped working with vintage clothing, who had never skied before, who had never really been around snow before, who was active but not athletic. A lot of that first winter was spent learning how to walk and drive on snow. But after I mastered that, I even got a little skiing in. At the end of winter, my lovely friend Anna said to a boy, "Aren't you proud of what a snow bunny Jessica has become?" His answer, "She learned how to look like a snow bunny but she isn't actually a snow bunny." True, I came to this town with more knowledge on shifting appearances than hitting the slopes. He wasn't wrong, but he also wasn't right. He couldn't see the snow bunny badass blooming inside. His words prickled me. Thanks to his underestimating me, I fully realized what I wanted to be capable of, which is the first step towards success. So, thanks haters. Without you, my own desires wouldn't flare up inside of me so brightly.

No one knows where you are coming from and only you know what you are capable of accomplishing. Actually, what's even better is you probably only realize about 1/100th of your own possibility. Let the haters light the fire under your butt and use the flame to rocket up the mountain. The climb is the hardest part. You are gonna need all the inspiration you can get.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Smart Choices in Back-Country Skiing and Other Things I Don't Know About

The weather being so crappy has made me seek out some new adventures. Actually, this is more of revisiting old adventures. Adventures of the mind. I've been reading a bunch, strengthening my vocab and mental prowess. I used to read all the time. I hope this doesn't make me sound like a loon, but I cut back on my reading because I came to the conclusion that it was making me think too much. As in, fueling neurosis and causing me to be so heady that I wasn't sociable. Mainly, I just got tired of people telling me that I think too much. Trust me, I'm not a genius and the thoughts were not leading to solving the environmental, political, or economical crisis of our time. The people were probably right. I was thinking too much. Actually, I might be thinking too much right now. I'm already doubting the reading.

I would prefer a nice cleansing hike right now, but it's snowing. Other people are out there being active. They are back-country skiing. Dang-it! I want to do that, but based on the first and only time I tried, I know back-country skiing can be scary. It's scary because it is legitimately dangerous.

This is where thought becomes unavoidable. Thought is key in risk assessment. In my reading today, I found some badass wisdom from Yvon Chouinard's book, Let My People Go Surfing. This man is the founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company. He was also one of the early innovators in rock climbing and seems to be someone who conquers all sorts of outdoor adventures while running an extremely successful and environmentally responsible corporation. Damn, this man is a badass.

Since trying some back country skiing and having it kick my tush, I've been contemplating limits and knowledge. Chouinard had some advice for me today. He says, "Never exceed your limits. You push the envelope, and you live for those moments when you're right on the edge, but you don't go over. You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means." Essentially, he is reinforcing the philosophy I've heard around the mountain: ski today at the level that allows you to ski tomorrow.

But how do we learn our limits? Mr. Chouinard shares later in the book about how he started being careful. He dove off a bridge and hit a sandbar that was a foot underwater. His neck was fractured by landing directly on his head. I don't know if I should be using this guy as a role model. I guess I won't know what to do until I do it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I need a teddy bear.

It's 2 am and I can't sleep because the wind in rushing by my window and beating on the pane. It's howling, gusting, smacking. It might be about to beat me up. I'm just plain scared. So much for badass. I need a teddy bear and a glass of warm milk.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


On a walk/write around town today, I decided to see if I could get inspiration from an old favorite: window shopping. In my layers, topped with a fleece, and trotting along on my tennis shoes, I cruised the couple of boutiques this town meagerly possesses. My first stop, Katherine's. A beautiful store full of designer clothes that I can't afford. Staring at the over sized Marc Jacobs leather bags and over the knee suede boots in the window, I didn't get my usual tingle. A few years ago, I loved clothes so much that a great pair of shoes could give me a literal body buzz. Hope that isn't a feeling I've lost forever. Looking at the beautiful things, my only thought was, "But what could I DO in those?" The clothing is made for being in the clothing and standing still so people can admire the clothing. C'mon. I want to climb something, or at least, dance.

The change has been slow coming. For a while, I wasn't as concerned that the clothing was truly beautiful and inspiring, just as long as I felt it made me and my body look beautiful. Now, I want functional, flexible clothing that is comfortable and will keep me a desirable temperature. If it happens to match and keeps my body from looking like a 14-year-old boys, that is bonus points that go to me having a really good day.

It's possible that I'm on the precipice of losing all of my city girl cred. Oh, help me. I think a trip outta this town maybe in order. I need a city and one in Utah or Idaho will not suffice.

If I'm not able to make it out of this town, please, just keep an eye on me. If anyone sees me in some sort of athletic Patagonia sundress at a wedding or similar social event, smack me in the face until I come to my senses or bleed on the damn dress. I'm not hating. It works for some people, but that's not me. I don't have the toned arms to pull those dresses off.