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Friday, 11 May 2012

A downhill challenge

I haven't been able to write for some time, which is a good thing as much as a bad. The last three years have been a journey in so many different forms and I have spent some time on it, trying to work out both the stuff in my head and the stuff around me. People have come into my life, people have left and I have used this blog to work things out. It's how I stop myself reacting to things.

Writing has been my space for cathartic vomit, to be happy, be hurt, to reframe, to rationalise, to deal with the things that at times, I have found unbearable. I write about things that I am incapable of expressing - which on the whole is my own vulnerability. I'm good at understanding other peoples issues, good at trying to separate someones behaviour from the person they truly are beneath. I am hopeless at telling anyone that I am hurt, or terrified, or vulnerable.

 And yet the blog has become the place where in fact, I cannot purge too many thoughts. There are so many observations that I have made, so much that I have worked out but to say them, to work it out here, would be picking away at the people I have cared about. (This clearly does not extent to IT) Which is a shame, since some of the best observations I have made are about the behaviour of others almost buried alive by their own baggage. Still, it's not like I am without mine.

 So, some time back I bumped into a man I once dated. We had a drink (in the company of others) and it was one of the biggest head screws I have ever experienced. The entire conversation was tinged with subtext and though they did not understand the specifics, made all present, most uncomfortable.

 Now I am a quick witted girl and I can hold my own on quick fire retort. What I couldn't do is keep up with who said what. By the end of the evening I wasn't even sure of my own name. There was lots of "don't you think if this happens, someone can project this onto someone who once did that" The general gist was "I recognise I was a bit of an arse but someone was once a bit of an arse to me, so that's okay"

 I say this - Life is full of people being unkind, of mothers that bullied, of fathers that ran off. Girlfriends are unfaithful, dogs bite, people die. No matter what it is, none of it makes it okay to treat someone else unkindly. No one is perfect, we all have issues but hey, lets all try and work those out with some honesty and not by 'projecting'the same onto people that come into you life and care.

As I drove off, the thought occurred that generally speaking, the people that screw with your head are generally people with screwed up heads. Trying to rationalise with a screwed up head is quite a tricky affair and probably best left to an expert in screwed up heads. But what a totally an utter waste of someones life. To be so damaged that you push everyone away has to be the ultimate road to loneliness.

In that moment of clarity on what is strikingly obvious, I realised that I do not need anyone messing with my head anymore and what I really needed, was to find something bigger to focus on. I needed a challenge that made the issues of others pale.

So three days later, I got on a plane to Bulgaria. I have never skied, I have never wanted to. I loathe the cold, much more of a SE Asia kind of girl. So I booked a three day skiing course, by myself. All I knew was that Bulgaria was somewhere in Estern Europe and I hated Skiing.

I cried in fear every day, I nearly died in the process of experiencing Bulgarian alcohol and my skiing isn't hugely better than it was before I left. I cried (like a snivelling baby) not because I found skiing difficult, it's not really that hard (theoretically). I cried because I avoid doing anything outside my comfort zone. Facing downhill on a slope in some alarmingly slippery skis, tapped into my bigest fear. Being vulnerable.

The ski instructor's plied me with empathy and shots and by the end of it, assessed that whilst I could ski, my biggest problem was that I refused to believe that I could. It was the perfect example of how fear prevents you going further in life.

On finding a challenge to make all the things that had become bigger than they ever deserved, it worked. More than that it taught me that I'm stronger than I thought. I cried in front of strangers and the sky didn't fall in.

So I'm vulnerable, I'm human. And despite the ridiculous heels, the acerbic tongue and the ability to think one step ahead, I cry like a girl on skis.

Occasionally.


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