So yesterday I discovered Brene Brown.
I guess I’m pretty out of it.
She and Oprah are like BFF’s.
How I’ve never heard of her, I have no idea.
Anyway, she’s an author and a professor and a vulnerability and shame researcher.
I spent yesterday watching videos and listening to her talk about vulnerability.
About how being vulnerable is a demonstration of courage.
How “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
How being vulnerable means you must be willing to fail.
Because you will.
And sometimes miserably.
Yesterday I told the story of my experience with a Bosu Ball.
And how I failed.
Nobody laughed at me.
A couple people did.
But I was laughing too.
And I survived.
Many people have written to me and asked,
“How do you do it?”
“You are Superwoman!”
I’m not Superwoman.
I’m just not afraid to fail.
I’m not worried about falling off that bosu ball.
And so while sometimes I fall, and fall hard,
sometimes taking a chance allows me to have some pretty big successes.
To do things I never thought I could do.
Something as big as running a marathon.
Or as small as baking bread.
Maybe I try to bake a loaf of bread and it comes out more like a baseball.
Or a discuss.
I can always try again.
So let me tell you about another time I failed.
In February of 1986 I went on an exchange trip to France.
I was a junior in high school.
There was a group of about 10 of us.
We each stayed with a host family, and I think we were there for about 3 weeks.
Now I don’t care much for cold weather.
So I was never into skiing.
In addition, I was a serious swimmer.
Swim coaches don’t like you to ski.
The chances of hurting yourself and missing a whole swim season are pretty good.
There is a little place not far from my house in Connecticut called Mohawk.
It’s a rinky dink ski area.
I went there once with my cousin.
I rented skis and skied down the world’s smallest ski slope a couple times.
Most of them by mistake.
Luckily, I managed not to hurt myself.
That was the extent of my skiing experience before my trip to France.
The first weekend I was in France, my host family decided to take a little trip.
A skiing trip.
To the French Fucking Alps.
Ho. Lee. Shit.
How the hell was I going to manage that?
I considered feigning illness and sitting in the lodge the whole time.
But I sucked it up. And I gave it a try.
I had been on a little ski lift at Mohawk.
It was a little different in the FFA’s.
They had a rope tow there.
I had never seen one before, but it looked easy enough.
Pretty much like this:
The grooves in the snow from everyone’s skis looked just like that.
It would be just like a train on the tracks.
All I’d have to do is hold on to the rope, and it would guide me up the hill.
I stood behind my French counterpart.
When it was my turn, I grabbed the rope.
I steadied myself, stood up, and moved up the hill.
For about 9 seconds.
Your skis don’t just stay in those grooves on their own.
It wasn’t like being on a train.
I managed to stay upright for about,
And then my right ski started wavering.
The tip caught something.
And then it was totally out of the track.
Before long, my skis were about 3 feet apart, and I was pulling multiple groin muscles.
And then, my skis were behind me.
I was holding onto the fucking rope for dear life.
It was dragging me up the hill on my stomach.
My feet and my skis were bouncing around behind me like balls in a lottery machine.
I wanted to die.
It couldn’t have gotten any worse.
until one of my skis fell off.
I had no idea what the hell to do.
One of my skis was lying in the snow, halfway up the mountain, and I had a death grip on that rope.
I’m pretty sure my French hostess was more humiliated than I was.
“Let go!” she yelled in a thick, French accent.
So, I finally released my grip.
I almost started a chain reaction.
The guy behind me used some fancy maneuvers to avoid completely trampling me.
I rolled out of the way.
It took a good minute for me to get my other ski off.
Plenty of time for a bunch of French semi-professional skiers to point and snicker at me as they effortlessly glided past me up the hill.
I stood up,
brushed myself off,
put one ski on my shoulder,
and started the walk of shame down the hill to find my other ski.
I went straight to the lodge.
Where I sat for the remainder of the day.
A failed loaf of bread I’ll try again.
But I think one “ski” trip to the French Alps is plenty for me.
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