When Stopping Isn't Quitting
So back in February I wrote a post about my skiing experience in the friggin, freezing cold up at Mammoth Mountain with my lovely husband. It was freezing. I need to say this twice. And I wrote, in this writing, that we would be going back up to ski again in May. When it is warm. And specifically wrote that my husband said we would go in April but we were going in May. Well, he won this one. We went, this past weekend. April skiing. And it was lovely. And warm. And also the last full days of skiing up at Mammoth as the mountain pretty much closes down so it is a good thing this was the weekend we went.
So this skiing weekend that was warm and sunny where my skin got fried and the snow was soft and the air was sweet, this was a beautiful weekend. But this is not what this writing is about.
It is not about skiing. It is about not skiing.
Because on Sunday I did not. Ski. On Saturday I did. All day. Quite well actually. Until I fell. A big fall. A backward-roll-and-I-lost-a-ski fall. A screaming-out-as-I-tumbled fall. An I-needed-a-person-to-get-one-of-my-skis-and-my-pole fall and a my-husband-had-to-pick-me-up-because-I-couldn't-get-up-on-my-own fall. And then, after that fall I skied ok. A bit more carefully. Which actually makes the likelihood of falling that much more possible. And then I fell again.
Not nearly as tumble-y but still upsetting. Enough that my screaming out turned to crying, too.
So on Sunday, when we woke up to another beautiful and sunny though a bit more windy day, a part of me did not want to ski. My neck was sore from my gymnastic role and my spirit was weary and my body was tired, too. But up I went, to the lodge, to set about skiing again.
My husband, this amazing saint of a man, got my boots all ready and helped me get in them and tightened them up and, after getting all his gear ready to go too, carried my skies up to the slopes for me. I got the full service, make it as easy as possible, kind of care. And up the chairlift we went.
And the whole time I was thinking that I really didn't want to ski on this day. But I wanted to be a good partner and companion and more, I didn't want to be a quitter.
But then on that first run down, with the snow as soft and the air as sweet as the day before my skiing sucked. I was unsure and so unsteady. And unhappy, too. And so, when we were almost down that first run I said I think I don't want to ski today.
I felt bad. Worried that I was letting my husband down. Worried that I was letting myself down. Was I quitting or just stopping? Was I copping out or honoring what was right for me to do?
This is always a tough question for me.
It was especially tough when my kids were little and not only did I have to worry about my own quitting verses stopping questioning but I had to walk them through theirs. Was my son quitting football or just honoring that the game - though fun to watch on TV - was not the right one for him to play? Was my daughter's desire to come home early from that one week soccer clinic a running away from a challenge or a deep respect for what she knew was right for her?
There is this funky balance that goes on, made more difficult by all the expectation that society lays on top of our own not-good-enoughs, that makes it really hard to wade through all the muck to what is true. That makes seeing the choice of whether to stop or not really difficult to see. Because that initial I think I don't want to ski anymore comes saddled with emotional baggage. We have imaginary backpacks filled with all the shoulds and woulds and what will everyone else think along with all of our other quittings and stoppings and questionings that came before this exact moment when we're trying to figure out if we should continue down the hill or sit in the sun and wait out the day.
We know what's true. All of us. This voice that is wise and tapped in and honors the core of who we are, this voice speaks up right away. Sometimes we miss it in our rush to move forward or because of all the other chatter that is gong on inside of us. But this voice - this knowing - it is right there and always right.
My voice, she is so smart. She knew that I needed to stop skiing yesterday. But her friends - worry and disappointment and ego (who is bossy and opinionated and often quite loud) - they chimed in and so truth had a hard time following through.
But in the end she was heard. I heard her. And honored her wisdom and her grace. And finished out the run before turning in my skies and sitting in the sun as my husband worked the mountain.
As that was what his wise voice told him to do.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.