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Part II: December 30th, 2016
Epic fail in regards to my first ski experience, but that was ok because it was now time to take a snowboarding lesson. Maybe this would be my thing. Maybe I would get it. Maybe I'd be a natural, I did do yoga, after all, and I have fairly good balance. HA! And maybe I needed to just be in the moment and wait and see what unfolded instead of putting pressure on myself and on the situation.
There were 4 of us in the group. I was the only one with zero experience. We went out on the slope for the lesson; no magic carpet for this. The instructor used terms like toe side and heel side, and I had no idea what he was talking about. He kind of jumped ahead leaving this newbie behind. He was trying to explain how to ride the board down the hill and I wasn’t getting a word of what he was saying – partly my fault, and definitely a lot his. I began to get stressed because I didn't understand the instructions, so my brain switched over into fight-or-flight mode and what he was saying went in one ear and out the other. Have you ever had one of those moments? You get nervous and all of a sudden you don't hear what the other person is saying, and you start having an out-of-body experience? Yeah, that was me.
I tried asking questions in order to understand because the words he was using didn't compute in my sometimes-overly-literal brain. His frustration began to escalate, as did mine. I was stressed, confused, feeling stupid and like a failure again. He was trying to help me the best he knew how, but it wasn't working for me, and through his attitude, he was letting me know it wasn't working for him either. He was getting short with me and this wasn't helping me and my snowboarding cause. Everyone else had already bailed on the lesson by this point, I think due to his one-on-one attention to me.
There was a pause in the lesson, and the instructor and I were standing there alone. I had truly had enough of him talking down to me and treating me like a moron, so I debated for a brief moment whether or not to speak to the situation. I opted to speak up. I was the customer, after all, and solely on a human basis I deserved more respect than he was giving me. I said in a kind, soft voice, so that I wouldn't yell at him, “I know you're frustrated here, but I'm frustrated, too.” I thought this would diffuse the situation. Nope. He went off. He proceeded to say that no one had ever treated him the way I had, that I was rude and acted like I knew more about snowboarding than he. I was floored and having a totally different experience. I was pretty sure I hadn't been rude, but I was very stressed, so I didn't know for sure. (I later checked with my counterparts to see if I had been rude or disrespectful in any way. They assured me I had not. Phew!) I let him say his piece, then I stated my confusion on the matter, told him I didn't know anything about snowboarding, which is why I was asking questions, told him our lesson was over, and walked off, crying the rest of the way to the lift. What a blow this was. Just what I didn't want to happen. Another bad experience.
I hopped the lift, got to the top, had to board off the lift, busted my ass, got up and out of the way as quickly as possible. I had to get down the hill in order to get off the slope, and it was a steep part of the slope. I was determined to try and board it down, even though I didn't have the slightest clue as to how to stop besides falling backwards. Off I went. Fall. Get up. Go! Fall – WHACK! Ouch! Get up. Go! Do a forward flip into the air and land hard on my back with a pretty good head slam into the ground. Yes, I can be hardheaded, but mercifully I was smart enough to wear a helmet. Didn't matter, it hurt like hell! All of it.
Once I caught my breath, I got my feet out of the straps, my board went sliding across the mountain, but I didn't care because it was going in the same direction as I – inside. I was done. I announced I was finished and going inside, not to speak to me because I had nothing nice to say at the moment, and cried the whole walk back--even harder than the day before. I actually sobbed so hard I almost hyperventilated. I may be wrong about this, but I don't remember crying that hard since I was a teenager. It all sounds so silly, right?
Have you ever projected thoughts and feelings onto another person? Well, let me go ahead and tell you, we've ALL projected onto others before, we are all guilty, including this snowboard instructor. The whole experience was tapping into some truly deep stuff. I didn't feel good enough, like a failure all over again. Was I good enough? Was I a failure in life, and not just at snowboarding and skiing? I didn't give a shit about the snowboarding, not really. The snowboarding was a metaphor for my life and all the places where I didn't feel smart, adequate, successful, etc. etc. Yeah, the instructor was a jerk and not very adequate in his teaching methods, at least not with a newbie--or at least not with THIS newbie--but what he was doing was mirroring my own insecurities. I'm guessing he may have his own feelings of inadequacy, so when I wasn't understanding what he was telling me, he in turn got triggered inside and tried to deflect and blame me for the whole situation. THIS is projection.
When all our mental, emotional, spiritual parts aren't feeling “okay” we get bothered by stuff--usually nonsensical stuff that frequently doesn't have anything to do with us. We have a tendency to take things personally and believe the unfriendly voice inside our heads that tells us we are not good enough. Situations of this nature usually are not personal attacks against us. And that voice inside our head is usually saying meaner things to us than anyone else would. Most of us wouldn't allow someone to treat us the way we often treat ourselves. Why do we allow this? It's so rude... and unnecessary!
Yes, I was triggered in so many ways that day, and the day before. I felt like a failure, I wanted to give up. I was having a gigantic pity party for ONE! I was kind enough not to invite anyone else to the soiree. Misery loves company, but company does NOT always love misery. Keep this in mind next time you're throwing yourself a big ol' pity bash.
I try to make it a habit to run from people who complain all the time. I no longer have the time or energy to listen to that same old song and dance, and neither should you when that person is never willing to change their situation. (I feel like this needs a qualifier.) “But, Sarah,” you say, “that is so harsh!” No, no it's not. I don't mean turn your back on someone in need, but if it is constantly the “boy who cried wolf,” then go smell the roses and enjoy your life while they are busy being miserable day in and day out with their same old routine.
I have been that person who complained over and over again about her life, never changing a darn thing. Then I learned better. Life is what you make it. You're in charge. Don't put your fate in the hands of others. Don't believe those nasty little voices inside your head that tell you You aren't good enough, you'll never succeed, you'll never amount to anything, you'll never...you can't...on and on and on. All that being said, this leads me to the next part of my story. Catch it in the next blog. :))
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