Another quick update post before we tackle the backlog of Aspen and Crested Butte training...
So the reentry into Bozeman was bumpy at best. I have to say this last week and a half has tested my belief in myself and my sense of self in a way that its hasn't been tested since... well, since LAST year at this time, about four weeks before the Level 3 Exam.
Because I want this blog to be a true account of what it takes to get to teams tryouts in five years (with only THREE LEFT! AHHH!) I need to write about the warts and the bumps as well as the good times. So here goes.
The trip to Colorado was spectacular. I learned a LOT, changed my skiing significantly, gained deeper understanding of skiing in general, and my skiing in particular. I learned to face fear (hello, jumping off a waterfall on my skis), and I learned that its okay to go straight, and maybe even okay to go fast.
On Wednesday, I drove home about 15 hours, got in late, got up early, taught at Bridger all day (YAY ladies group! WOO HOO!). Things felt weird in the locker room, just a little off, and I thought, okay, well, I've been gone for two weeks, so thats to be expected. I'll just quiet myself down a little rather than ranting on and on about how much fun I had cliff hucking, and sharing everything I'd learned or been working on in Aspen.
This was hard, because, you know, I'm a bit verbal, and I get really excited about stuff, and I really wanted to verbalize what I'd learned in Aspen so I could help make it stick. But, concerned about widening the gap I was feeling, I decided to turn the volume down on Kate a bit.
On Friday, I went back to school, where things felt really weird there as well. There had been some hard feelings that I was allowed to go on my trip while others were not. When I left we were all very good friends, when I came back, there was a large gulf between us. This really rattled me, as I have come to rely on Health Works as a safe haven, and my friends there have helped me through a lot. The day was tough, we had some good conversations that made the issue clear, but the sadness was thorough on both sides.
On Friday night, Tom and I killed the dream. I suppose there was a part of each of us that was hoping that one day we'd end up back together after a good break, but we realize on Friday that that's just not the case.
Saturday, I went over to Mama Jen's house (This is one of my very closest friends, we nursed each others kids! When the chips are down, this is the friend I run to.)
I spent the day in her house processing through the shock of the conversation Tom and I had had the night before and letting the reality sink in. That night, the boys slept at Jen's house, and Tom and I had a farewell party. We spent the evening sitting in front of the fire, talking through how we ended up there. Tom put it well, "So, what did you do last night?" "Well, I got a massage, hung out with my best friend, and divorced my wife. And there were only the two of us all night!".
Sunday, I went up to teach at Bridger with a little TINY (uh) hangover, emotional and physical, and landed right in the lap of friends who care. Shannon and Alex gave me snuggles as I fuddled my way through the day, ending in a great lesson, which helped re-energize me. I ended up doing something I never do, I canceled my evening massages and went home to my family.
It was fine at home, warm, safe, still a family, nothing has changed from the day before, the week before, the year before, and I'm so proud of Tom and I for that.
Monday, back to school, and of course, a torrent of tears in Chair massage, worried about my friends, just too emotionally raw to take any more and I lost it.
Tuesday back at Bridger for the epic ski day with Alex and Mike Leslie, which set me back to normal, including four huge wrecks and a possibly fractured wrist (whatever). Starting to normalize.
Wednesday. Integration seminar at school. This means we all sit around in a circle and talk about what's working and what isn't. I have to say I wasn't looking forward to it, because I knew that the subject of me being allowed to leave for training trips was a sore one, and was going to come up.
I have to say its an amazing thing that Ruth, our head of school does, getting the whole school together (all 13 of us!) and talking through any issues we have. We talked about a lot that day, and then, the issue that was bothering my friends came up, and we talked through that. It was hard, but great, and in the end, I felt that things could get back to normal there as well.
Now is the strange transition time, I have all of March off, and I am catching up on school missed, and shifting my focus with all I have in my being to training for the Level 3 exam. This week they overlap as I go in for tutoring and take some missed exams, but get up to Bridger as much as I can.
I had the opportunity to ski with Josh yesterday and get his eyeballs on me. I was lucky that it was a deep powder day and I was on my fat skis, which I don't ski my best on. In other words, Josh got to see me NOT at my best, but at my most mediocre. Which is a good thing. I have a lot of work to do. Powder is my weakest point, and fat skis are still confusing to me!
Josh asked me, "Where'd Kate go? We need that chameleon back. The one who could change her skiing every run. You've plateaued."
I thought about what he said, and he's right, my intensity and intention for absorbing information and being a master student had all but disappeared in the last two weeks. And it wasn't turned up to high before I left, as my attention was split by all the issues with school and divorce and my private practice and my kids and paying bills, writing a book, a technical manual, and arranging details of upcoming trips with sponsors and magazines.
That afternoon, I went in for tutoring with Aubrey for Pathology. It was incredible, a terrific session, but the thing that was wild was that she said the same thing that Josh did. "Why are you hiding and apologizing for being you? Why are you taking on the guilt of the whole room?"
We talked quite a bit about that, it doesn't happen to me very often, but I had definitely come to a place in the last two weeks where I doubted my choices, who I was, at what cost would I go to this try out, was I making good decisions or terrible, horrible, destructive ones, and why can I not tell the difference between a good decision that keeps me on my path with balance, and a catastrophic decision?
I decided then and there that my gut is right, that Josh and Aubrey and Shannon and Jen have all seen that the choice to pull back myself and be more quiet, not ask for what I need, not honoring myself, was hurting rather that helping.
And so, once again, I decide that who I am is who I am, and that some people may feel overwhelmed by that, and that's okay, they don't have to stay close, and some people like it, and that's okay too. Right now, I have four weeks to the toughest certification in skiing. I need to be me, believe in me, give myself permission to learn like I learn, turn up all the receptors in every cell in my body to absorb and understand the changes I need to make in my skiing.
After I left Aubrey, I went to give a few massages, and I was thinking about how for the last five years, I've been working on staying true to me, trusting my gut, honoring who I am rather than subjugating to what is convenient or comfortable for others. This subjugating is an old habit brought on by being raised by a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
And if there is ONE THING I'm NOT gonna do, its let THAT GUY get in the way of me passing my exam! Here's when it hit me, the thread from the past that tied it all together: I'm sixteen, we're at Disneyland as a family. He asks, "What's your favorite land?" to all of us.
This is a game, the game is a competition for who in the family can come up with the deepest, most creative, most meaningful answer, and the prize is pride for the person with the best answer, and crushing devastation for those who weren't quick enough on their feet.
I decided to go with honesty. "Fantasyland!" because its true, I love it, I love how much work and time they put into carving the designs in the wood on Mr. Toad's wild ride, the promise of the castle, the creativity of Alice's wild ride, the coming of age of learning to love the teacups...
The answer: "Of course it is. Because you live in fantasyland. You have no concept of reality what so ever. And you never will. I'm not surprised to hear that at all." And guess what? We had been walking through Fantasyland, and we left. Immediately. Lets cut that dreamer off at the knees. (What's a more Reality based part of Disneyland, IS THERE SUCH A THING?)
And yesterday, I reached back in my mind and found that moment, and then raced forward, stopping at each moment that I found in my memory where I apologized for thinking differently, where I felt badly and didn't follow who I was. I systematically unplugged those moments in my mind, identifying them as reactions to how someone else felt rather than as my true self making decisions.
And today, I head to Bridger on a bluebird powder day to work low end demos on groomers for a few hours. I'm back!