Sunday, January 9, 2011

*Too Big for My (Ski) Britches

December 31, 2010

It has been such an odd holiday. Odd in that it has seemed perfect on so many levels that I have been puzzled when I'm not absolutely shivering with delight each and every moment. But my mood gets the best of me at times, and for the life of me, I can't just be grateful for everything that's right; my mind sneaks into the dark crevices around the edges, and suggests there are so many little things that aren't quite right, so let's focus on THOSE for a bit. And I do. And I become emotional, and I cry for no outwardly apparent reason.

I have loved the snow, before and after Christmas. I have loved spending time with my children. I have loved not having to work and having time off work. I have loved baking, and, oh, yes, the consequent eating. But let's not go there just yet; the added four and a half pounds is just the tip of the iceberg of one of those dark places my mind visits, and that makes things so much worse. The presents I gave seemed to be a hit, and the ones I received were so much more than I expected. I found joy in small moments; snuggling with Marley in bed, reading a lovely book about Dean Koontz's golden retriever, and enjoying the early morning hours when the house was lit only by the Christmas tree's glow.

Yes, yes, the whole holiday was practically magical. And yet. The only thing I can come up with when pondering my puzzling emotional state is that Sierra broke up with her boyfriend. And I don't understand it. 

That kid was perfect for ME. Everything looked wonderful to ME. He would be the perfect son-in-law for ME. 

Oh, yeah, but it's about HER this time; not me. And I could not quite wrap my head around the fact that I am not in control of my children, nor their choices, nor their future destiny. Hmm. Usually I am the QUEEN OF MY LIFE, and all of my subjects seem to bow to my every whim, and when they don't, I shake my head in amazement, and try to keep my mouth from gaping.

I woke up on Christmas Eve EVE, feeling blue. I wanted to talk to Sierra about it but it never seemed the right time. So we texted while watching Shrek the Halls with Bridger. Totally unsatisfactory, but that's what we did. Every time I questioned her actions, I realized they were not mine to question. She truly is an adult. A wonderful, mature, caring adult who is in control of her life. I must come to terms with the obvious; she gets to choose for herself, as I chose for myself. I am doing the best I can with what I know, and everyone else in my kingdom is doing the best they can with what they know. It's unfortunate that I no longer will have contact with the ex-boyfriend because circumstances have changed. It is very, very sad that he had such an emotionally draining holiday, but life goes on, and those two will find their own happily ever afters. I must let this go.

I realized this when I was sitting at the bank teller's window, and felt tears rolling down my cheek. That was two days I must back up and wallow in several of the dark crevice spots to which I referred.

The day before the unexpected tears hit, I'd been skiing for my third time. That morning I was horrified to discover that one just cannot cram an additional 17 pounds into a pair of ski pants that fit perfectly the previous season. Yes, I've gained some weight over the last year. And gained four and a half pounds more since this holiday began. 

That is a very terrifying prospect because I live in fear of being the extra-extra large woman I once was in 2000. And I'm well on my way. So I just balled up the too small ski pants and pulled on some comfy work out pants with lots of stretch. They'd be warm enough, right? 

Well, as we neared Wolf Mountain Ski Resort, I kept my eye on the outside temperature reading in the pickup. 23...17...14...11...I thought I'd be okay if the temps could stay in double digits.

I don't own my own equipment, so I waited for an hour and forty minutes outside, and then inside, the ski rental shop, which smelled remarkably like a high school boys' locker room. I had to record my height, and my astronomically high weight on paper for the teeny, tiny girl at the counter so she could help me get the right size boots and skis. 

I decided to stick with the "adult learner" skis. They weigh about a quarter of a ton, and are fluorescent green in color. 

"What? No vest with blinking lights? No warning beeps at intermittent intervals to alert other skiers in the area?" I joked. 

The ski tech looked out from behind his curtain of long hair, and said, "Well, that bright green color is enough, don't ya think?" 

So there is a class system here on the slopes of Utah: the real skiers, and the novices wearing the neon skis that are only about three feet long. The skis looked more like snow shoes than skis. 

I was so obviously a beginner. I couldn't even figure out how to open the boots to get my foot in; there was a secret latch hidden from view that only experts seem to know about, but I digress even more. Sorry.

My first pass down the hill was extremely FAST. Somehow I could not quite get the snowplowing technique right, and practically flew down the mountain. I'm pretty sure my wild eyes were hidden from view with my dark sunglasses, but I think everyone there knew "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" was simply an out-of-control adult learner trying to pass herself off as a skier. 

I did a lot of falling that day, and reattaching my boots to the bindings was so hard for me. After one bad tumble, I gathered up my unattached ski, and gallumphed and harumphed across the middle of the ski hill. I was near tears. My mind was jammed with so many jostling thoughts: my daughter's break up; my big, fat butt; my freezing cold legs crusted in ice and snow; my aching muscles screaming from each attempt to get back up after a fall. Everything was taking its toll on my psyche. It took everything I had to put that infernal ski back on, and try to keep in an upright position the rest of the way down the hill, and keep my tears from spilling, but I did it. 

We called it a day after that run, and I still had not cried about any of my troubles that were eating away at my peaceful serenity during this holiday.

So the next day, I found myself with tears streaming down my face at the bank window in the truck.  All of it hit me at once. I felt sad, and I didn't think I deserved that privilege. I should be HAPPY. My life was going great, sort of, except for feeling fat, and the loss of a potential son-in-law, and being a lousy skier.

During my massage that morning, it came to me; the Serenity Prayer.  

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  And that's all there is to it, really.  

The actions and choices of others are not within my control; it was time to accept those, and be done with them. I have the strength to lose this weight. I've been here before, and I can get through it once again. And again, if necessary. The wisdom part just comes so slowly to me, it seems. And so, my friends, this is the rather long story of my enlightenment over the holidays. Love me through this, please. I'm learning. Slowly, slowly learning, but learning nonetheless. 

I pray we'll all overcome our troubles this new year and become triumphant over our weaknesses. I want to love more deeply, and laugh even more than I already do. With the support of my friends, I know I'll live to tell about this with more of a smile in years to come.

Happy New Year to us all, dear ones.

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