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.