* S * T * A * R **** D * U * S* T *
It has been a lengthy, grueling, and somewhat painful opening of my ski season. I have been struggling to figure out a comfortable setup on winter snow. But it is slowly coming together and despite the struggles I have thus far endured this winter I somehow feel happy and hopeful.
The races in Beaver Creek and Lake Louise were not exactly what our team was expecting. We came into the season as the best women's speed team in the world, and our expectations were high. When the first few races of the season were completed we all came to the realization that you can't always win. It's seemingly more difficult to be chased than to chase, and with all the hype around our team this prep period I think we all underestimated the rest of the world. But we also underestimated ourselves--or at least I have underestimated myself during the past month of opening races.
It's so easy to get caught up in all the chatter, all the commotion, all the pressure. Sometimes I forget how enormous this world is--I get stuck in my tiny little bubble of ski racing and every misstep becomes a disaster. When the only thing that exists is not going your way, nothing feels right. Nothing can open your eyes or alter your mindset when you get this narrow, darkened tunnel vision. A little shake and your whole world turns upside-down. One moment you're on your feet, then next moment you're hanging by a thread--distraught and broken. Desperate for air, prepared to give up. I'm ready to throw my hands up and suddenly I feel free. Like it can't really go much worse....so what do I have to lose?
My balance has been thrown off. I've been venturing to some dark places that I haven't ever been and I've gotten incredibly lost. I feel myself dipping in and out of these phases, never really finding a sustainable, even ground. And the hardest thing has been admitting it all. Finding a way to express yourself can often be difficult: you become vulnerable. Weak. Miniscule. Trying to break out of a bubble when the oxygen outside is impure. Aching for air under water when you know you have the time and capacity to remain below for longer. The biggest challenge is to talk yourself into embracing the fear, to sit with your devil while it's much easier to simply ignore it all. But lately I've been brave. Honest. Real. Everyone doubts themselves at one point or another, so why not plunge in that confusion and try to understand it? It's bigger than I ever imagined it to be, and maybe sometimes it's even stronger than me. I'm getting to know the other Laurenne. And yeah, she's pretty fucking crazy.
All craziness aside, I kind of like her. I have a very logical way of thinking: there's no way of talking myself into a state or satisfaction that I know is unrealistic--magical, other-worldly, unattainable. But there is so much to see, so many opportunities, so vast a world that I'm brought to the ground: light and empty and self-ruling, best of all. Friends come around and inspire me. A sunrise, though red and accompanied by a storm, is calming and liberating. The feeling of a good turn--snow and skis and connection to it all--illuminates all the promise and kinship of being a part of this mad fight for life on earth. We're all human, and we're not going to be around for much longer. It is humbling to think of death and space, nothingness and my role in the whole dance. After all, what is the purpose of our existence? Being doubtful of an answer is helping me to understand that, sadly and somehow reassuringly, there is no means to our end. Which inevitably approaches...who knows how quickly? So if there's really no point, no impact, no resolve, then why worry about anything at all?
It seems strange to be so outwardly pessimistic, as I've always been a fighter: determined, passionate, and devoted to finding an answer. But the inescapable lack of solution makes everything seem right. It makes every body seem so bare. Like we're all the same. Like we're all made of stardust. If all attempts are futile, regardless of momentary outcomes, there is not much to agonize over. So we might as well just be. And be free.
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind