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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shredding the gnar-gnar pow-pow!!

Last Christmas I received a holiday card promising me an adaptive snowboarding weekend, at Cannon Mt. Resort in Franconia NH. The man I know as my step father, Marty, lives over there now, and I can recall many outings to Cannon, before, and after, my injury. I even was fortunate enough to ride with the same adaptive instructor I'd had 2 years back. Ben, a local, helped me stay upright. (Most of the time:), and a couple other volunteers, around for support, all helped out, offered sage advice, and kept the encouragement on, full blast. Encouragement is great for all of us, and always appreciated. Though, I personally, have a character flaw, where, if I'm flattered in any way, my first instinct is to mock the flatterer. Not the most classy of moves on my part. When I did races, or attempted new sports before my injury, I liked to get into them alone, because I don't accept encouragement gracefully. Physical activity, and motion, doesn't come naturally to my brain. It's completely necessary, and clearly makes me a 110% happier, if I get out there, and expend some energy. Being outside, appreciating the wonders Mother Earth gave to us to enjoy and appreciate, is certainly one of my biggest motivating factors for getting myself back in motion. It's far too easy to lose sight of, but the moment, I step outside, with the intention of being active outdoors, I feel like a different person.
Arriving at the mountain Saturday morning brought back, the rush of freedom, I constantly crave. Clearly, life will never come with the ease of learning a new sport, or activity, or even an old one, as it once did. Although, every opportunity I receive, to take a stab, at getting back out there, is bliss. Being that I've had to relearn to gracefully a accept encouragement, and the fact that I'll need to try to push myself, and my own limits. I have to give love to the adaptive sports people, who help me get out there, with their help, because, I'd be done, getting on the chairlift, let alone, getting down any slope, upright. I was ecstatic to have an opportunity to try to ride without assistance. I desperately wish that I had the opportunity to live in the mountains right now, and devote my days to pushing my limits, and growing from those experiences. Getting the go-ahead o even attempt riding without support, gave me my independence, while also allowing me to learn my own weaknesses. It's my belief, that awareness of your weaknesses, allows you to grow, and make them stronger, physically, and mentally.

One of my favorite moments was falling in the powder. I'm still unclear as to how I fell down a steep embankment off the trail, but landing in powder is surreal. I recall my chest tightening as I realized I was falling, and then, poof, I came to rest in a heap of soft, powdery snow. I heard a voice asking if I was okay, and looked left, and right, seeing no-one. In that second, I was thinking, "What if I really hurt myself, and am hallucinating." But then, he spoke again, and I looked up, realizing I'd gone down an embankment, off the trail. This realization makes me laugh. I'm only able try an control my laughter, when I realize I need to climb up the steep bank. Ben slides down, to, more or less, drag me up, and out of my resting place. Never a dull moment, I suppose. After that, we all headed in, for lunch.

After proper sustenance, we returned to the slopes, and I decided I wanted to take a stab at riding all by myself. This is huge for me, as its what I crave. The support, and encouragement, I got, really helped, and helped me bring words to the physical aspects of my disability, as we'll as learn about, how to describe what I want, r need from my adaptive instructors. My ability to react, and process the movements I need to make is quite slowed, my general coordination is slowed, and less responsive, on the left. These are things I know, on a subconscious level, though rarely bring to a more conscious level. However, given that I crave the ability to control my body appropriately, while I've got my feet strapped to a slick board, on a mountainside of snow. W
Each time I began my attempts, I'd feel my entire body tense up. I know what I need to do, sit sending that message, is incredibly difficult, if you're completely rigid. I abandoned my trust in myself, and abilities. If I could ride each day, I know that I old be released from the lack of trust, yet it's so difficult, when I have set pattern of hurting myself in some fashion, with each new thing I try. I once taught myself to ride, but now, I need to relearn properly, and escape the fear. Damn, that seems like a metaphor for everything in my life right now. I'm reminded of the common saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where the going gets good?

I'm getting on here today, and realizing how long a hiatus I've taken from posting. There are 4 or 5 drafts I've begun, and simply not finished. I'm not writing, simply because I've lost my inspiration. It's not as though I had a fabled source, but I've been working hard relearning to deal with my feelings and emotions. I always was pretty emotional, but could never accept, and got into the habit of pre-emptily disposing of them. In high school, I kept myself occupied with academic, and every extra-curricular activity out there, from running, and horses, to drama and student council. At home, I had horses, and sunk any spare moment into them. Being active and busy, is who I am. I repeated the exact same process in college, working part-time jobs, completing a full ourselves load, ummm partying, outing club, alternative spring break, student council, cycling team. I've never learned to connect with people for the the long term, simply because I never allowed myself enough time to do so. I don't mean that I don't have friends, and people I care about, I'm just reflecting on where I've been, to figure out, where I'd like to head.

I'd like to start writing more regularly again, it's not like I've dropped all of my usual activities, I just lost my ability to positively reflect on my experiences. It's been difficult to learn to come to terms with the fact that I now need help. Independence has always been part of who I am. Growing up, I realized, the more I did, the less I'd be hanging out, at home by myself (only child syndrome). My biggest goal in the last 5 years, has been to be rid of rehab program, get through it successfully. Trouble is, I'm here, and Im completely uncertain, of where I'd like to head now. I'm lost, as I refuse to start over employment wise, though, not having held a job in 5 years, reflects poorly on my résumé. I also miss the social connections I once made through employment, and school, which may be why I pushed so hard for both, in the past few years. Last year, was a banner year for me, and my handicap. Though, towards the end of it, I felt lost, alone, and melancholy. Oddly, all of those thoughts are meddling with my mind most of the time. I'm still running, snow boarding, and planning adaptive trips, just not writing about it. So, I'll take this opportunity.

Last fall, my dad heard of a treadmill, that simulated weightless motion, by suspending the runner, with compressed air. At first I was into it, because I knew it meant I old run all winter, and not have to worry about flying off a treadmill. Although, its really enabled me to work on using my left side. Oddly, symmetry has never been a focus in my PT, over the years. Though, I couldn't be happier to say that, through my work at On Track, on the Alter G treadmill, I'm slowly learning to run faster, without using my hands like vice grips to support myself. Of course, every day is different, not everyday is a success, but it's all steps in the right direction. (Heh, literally)
I've also been snowboarding, at Smugglers Notch, was supposed to go this past weekend, but travel didn't cut it, and I found myself housebound. After much reflection, I've diced I need to change my outlook. Easier said than done. My first step was last night, when I listened to my friends suggestion, to ask for help walking to the car, because of the ice. If you know me, you more than likely are aware that I don't generally ask for help, I'm also not always the most appreciative, of it. It's poor line to walk, because I create a harsh edge for myself, that no one appreciates. Although, my blood curdled with fury, when the young man who'd agreed to help said he'd just carry me to the car. By ll men's, a grand gesture, that I appreciated, though having someone take away the opportunity or me, in one 'foul' swoop, it's humiliating. Although there always an upside, and I'm trying to learn to appreciate that, rather than fighting tooth and nail.
There will be lees sons for all of us throughout life, though most recently, I'm slowly learning o be more gracious Anne accepting help.