So, as we discussed last time, I am on a quest to lean to conquer my fear (or at least quit being so paralyzed by it) of feeling ridiculous. So this week, I set myself up for a big beginning. This week, I was not only going to go skiing without Kyle, but I was going to go skiing with someone that I’d only met on the internet.
This was a terrifying prospect for me because is focuses in on two of my greatest fears: being that one person sitting all alone and that no one will like me in real life. Hey, I didn’t say they were rational fears, just that they are fears. And this skiing excursion was going to toss me right outside my comfort zone and challenge that one secret fear that I think we all carry deep in our brains:
What if no one likes me?
So that was the plan. I was ready. I was going to embrace my discomfort, accept my fear, and dive in anyway. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen. Kyle messed it up first. He was originally supposed to work on Wednesday, hence, my solo skiing. But then the project he was overseeing finished a day early, negating the need for him to go in at all. And if he didn’t have to be at work, there’s no way in hell anyone was keeping him from going skiing, least of all just so I could have the experience of going without him. Ski season is short, people, and a day of skiing is not to be wasted. Suddenly I found myself with a partner once more.
But no matter. This was actually a good thing, if you think about it. This meant that he could drive, as he always does, freeing me to nap in the car, as I always do. And then once we got to the lodge and I met up with my internet friend, Vickie, he would split off and ski on his own for the day. Then, we could meet back up at the end of the day, he could drive home, and I could pass out during the drive home. Kyle would get in a day of skiing, and I would still get the emotionally crippling experience of meeting a brand new person for the first time. Plan B, go.
Except that didn’t happen either.
I’m not really sure how I thought it was going to go down. We had agreed on Wednesday. I’d suggested 9am in the lodge, then told her what I looked like and what I’d be wearing. She never responded. I guess I thought that I would walk into the lodge a few minutes late (as we’re prone to do,) and I’d hear someone call out, “Hey! Stephanie! Over here!” And I would know it was her. Then we would spend the day skiing together, with lunch in the middle and maybe some beers afterwards. This seemed like a logical and plausible chain of events in my head, and I kinda figured that everything would just work itself into place.
Except that none of that happened. We walked into the lodge a few minutes after 9am, and I looked around, waiting for someone to recognize my white pants, pink and brown jacket, and white floppy hat. Nothing. I told Kyle to grab a table and I did a few laps through the different parts of the room and into the back room, even though the only people back there were a couple of 70 year old men, and waited for my name to be called. Nothing. I made eye contact with a few women who were the right age and build to have been the woman in her Facebook profile picture. Nothing. I even walked up to a few of the more promising candidates and timidly said, “Sorry to bother you, but is your name Vickie?” And then when they said that it wasn’t, I apologized profusely and tried to explain that I was supposed to meet someone but I didn’t know what she looked like and I thought they might have been her. And as I said it, I realized how stupid that sounded.
Finally, after 20 minutes of walking around and searching, I returned to Kyle’s table, defeated. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if she was there but didn’t recognize me or if something had come up and she hadn’t made it or if she’d forgotten altogether, but regardless of the reason, I’d failed in meeting my internet friend. And even though I’d tried my best to find her, I still felt like somewhat of a failure.
So despite my best intentions, what followed was Plan C: ski with Kyle just like we do every time. There was absolutely nothing different or special about this trip. It wasn’t even that great of a day of skiing; the conditions were hard and icy and I got into a weird emotional place in the morning and couldn’t ski for shit, eventually wiping out while paddling to a lift. Things did get better after lunch; we found a couple of decent runs, and I even added another black diamond to my repertoire without crashing. But the day still felt like a disappointment. This was supposed to be an emotional victory that would leave me feeling stronger and more confident; instead, it left me feeling sad, like an opportunity was missed.
So instead, I chopped off all my hair and tried to crochet a hat.
Not true. Well, not totally true. I did chop off my hair and tried to crochet a hat. But not because I failed at my emotional skiing experiment. Well, maybe a little because I failed. I mean, I’d tossed around both ideas separately previous to my emotional venture. And maybe it was that feeling of defeat that made me say, “You know what? What the hell, fuck it. Let’s do this shit.” And do this shit I did.
The hair, if I might say so myself, was a rousing success.
The hat, I’m willing to say, was not.
Okay, so my first attempt at emotional exploration wasn’t quit the victory that I’d expected. Instead of finding a feeling of pride and strength and a deeper sense of who I am, I’m left sitting here with a badass haircut and a wad of yarn that’s starting to actually look something like a hat and the same, gnawing feeling of wondering.
But the good news is that there’s still time. This was my first baby step into my personal exploration, and though I’m starting to realize that this may be harder than I first though, I’m not deterred.
I’ll make a proper jackass of myself yet!