June 21, 2017 // Fernie – December
Oh Fernie. Fernie, Fernie, Fernie.
Honestly those were 100% (hundy P) the best days of my life to this date. I found myself in Fernie. I gained self-confidence. I made amazing friends, who lifted me up and made me feel alive and happy, and who were always down for doing something fun. Everyone was kind-hearted and genuinely good. I felt so whole and complete there, never alone.
December was a fun one. Everyone on the tixy chicks team was getting to know one another. We were feeling each other out – seeing who we got along best with, getting a sense for who we could trust, and who we could spill our guts to. Orientation was only mildly stressful – everyone was fairly quiet and calm, Cam being the one who broke the ice the most – i think we were all very glad that he was on the team! Other than that, people seemed nice enough, and the ratio of guy:girl was 3:1, so i knew it’d be a chill team (cause guys = 🙂 ) and that i’d end up being close to the girls – should they be cool and not catty (which they in no way were!! 😀 ). Also our supervisor, Shannon, was a suuuuper chill 30yr old aussie gal with a dirty mouth, hilarious jokes and the mental age of about 16. It really was just the chillest vibes in the good ol dungeon. Plus Stu. Stuuuuu. He came across as very by-the-book when I met him then. I figured I probably shouldn’t get on his bad side… Ooooh and Robin Siggers – the self-felt Fernie Fabio, came to give our crew a little chat at orientation. And as he sat on Shannon’s desk (total uncool manpower move btw) he casually farted… Shannon’s face was to die for. I still crack up about it to this day thinking about it! Deeeefinitely an ice breaker for the rest of the crew! Our first mutual “enemy” on the hill, someone to joke about harmlessly and build up some team bonding. Our first staff night at the Raging Elk was chill, I remember being quiet because I didn’t know anyone really. I wasn’t very familiar with casual drinking at that point, and one beer had a tendency to make me feel anxious and uneasy – not quite to the point of social lubricant or binge-drinking/partying as I was used to at uni. I was a little uncomfortable. And Steph and I ended up chatting – the two quietest girls on the crew(at first lol), and I could not find anything good to talk about. I remember feeling that as anxiety-inducing too. Plus i was caught up in a suffering relationship with Danny, so I felt a little off talking to the guys, like i needed to explain my relationship status all the time Other than that, the night turned out well. And i was happy (and a little shocked) to see that I would be working with some people unlike anyone who I’d ever met before. Just very chill, comfortable people. The one’s who I’d been searching for at uni, and never truly found. These were my people. It was happening. Plus, the job turned out to be wonderfully easy! My first scan went well! As did my first shift – think I was with Cam and Adam? It was a chill time – though I let an old man through on a youth pass, first and last time I’d ever seen that 😛 Since then, the rest of the month consisted on me going back home to Calgary a few times to pick up some shit and celebrate my bday with the Madre: went out for dinner and watched Arrival in theatres – excellent movie! Back in Fernie, I was getting to know the rest of the staff better too – striking up conversation with more of the ski instructors and even scanning a certain Dutch boy with ocean-blue eyes and a furry hood 😉 I felt so in awe at the number of chill, exotic people living in a tiny little ski town in Middle of Nowhere c/o Rocky Mountains xD Working with the different personality types and being forced to talk for hours on end really helped me come out of my shell. I learned to strike up small talk with anyone and everyone, and I could put my foot down when the situation called for it (though not too hard, cause my tootsies were frozen solid most days). This is where the confidence began to blossom. Its little head was peeking out in the midst of a cold, Canadian winter as a blade of grass breaks free of the soil come springtime. This was my emotional and mental springtime. By the end of the month, I had a good rapport going with the team. Brad and I were getting closer due to our identical schedules, and we ended up hanging out most days: working or skiing. His open personality and friendliness really helped me out. I don’t think he even realized the degree to which he helped me reclaim myself. I am incredibly grateful for his friendship, and I hope to nurture it for years to come. He is an incredible individual. He was my emotional (and sometimes physical) support for much of the season, and he lived so close by, it was literally perfect. We were definitely meant to meet. We were meant to find each other, because I think we both needed to. Man I love that crazy jewish New York boy. More on that later! So yes, December was great. It was cold but great. A new beginning in -30C. A temperature at which most things would whither and die, I was found seizing the day and my shrivelled inner emotional self, and coming to life! What is life? Lol. I was still walking to the shuttle in that -30C weather, so I definitely hardened up a bit, as was necessary in the cold. I really can’t believe I worked outside in -30C for days on end… I would run my toes under hot water in the bath every day after work – trying to re-instil some warmth in them, and ward off the numbness that had seemed to settle in since those first days out there. I was slowly letting my guard down with the tixy chicks and the lifties and the instructors, and I was really starting to enjoy myself. I was flirting with everyone and anyone who came my way – so stoked on the attention of being one of the few girls in town 😉 It was a great feeling. I always came home at the end of the day with a big smile on my face. Heidi and I still weren’t very close yet – I know now that I was hard to talk to, I thought there was no reason for me to talk – as Danny had fostered that sense of silence in me. And slowly grown in over the past 2 years. Looking back, it was shameful of me to have let it continue, let him tear me and my voice down. But at the time, as it took place in slow increments. As I let myself be silenced more and more day by day. I didn’t realize it. Crazy how that happens, huh? Something to be learned and to be conscious of for the future… Anyways Heidi and I were getting along well, we definitely lucked out finding each other – as we were both finding our inner selves too. Her: quitting her job and having just gotten out of an 8-yr shitty-ass relationship and engagement; and me: struggling with confidence issues, a (what i then thought was) aimless biology degree, and an eating disorder that still occasionally reared its ugly head. Wow life can be harsh when you put it down in words. At the same time, I was applying to schools (specifically UBC and McGill alone – lol wonder why i only chose two….. ;( ) for a public health/biostats master’s program. I know now that this is the wrong path for me (i even knew it then ;( ), and I’m incredibly glad it didn’t work out. But at the time, it is what I thought was fine. It would keep me busy and give me a steady income. It would make for a very plain and normal life. That’s what I still thought life was about. Boy, am I glad I was wrong about that. By the end of the month, I had a few cute guys on my little fishhook. I wanted to talk to them more, and more importantly, they wanted to talk to me and hear my story. Something I began to love to share, a feeling that was empowered by all the people around me. So at the end of the month, after the incessant and “non-versational” daily phone calls and weekly skypes with Danny, most of which ended with me feeling physically and emotionally mute, such a contrast to my daily life, he finally came out to visit. It was fine. Very kind of him to make the trip out. The company was good to have, and I was initially very stoked on the thought of having sex again… I had a lot of pent up energy from all the flirting with hot ski boys… ‘:) However, a definite red flag resided in the fact that I could no longer tolerate and sit idly by as he chattered on about his problems. He threw his stresses at me, and I was no longer as quick to catch them and turn them around as I had countless billion times before. I was losing patience. Very quickly. I knew it wouldn’t last. Not after having met so many nice, chill, thoughtful, driven, athletic guys – something I never thought even existed! I know I had settled with Danny, but I thought that was the way life and love worked. I thought he’d be nice. That was it. And that’s all he was. If that. Sometimes even that virtue of his was tested. The real thing that sealed the deal though, was that as we had sex over the next few days (i just got chills thinking about it – my body is repulsed at this point), the only way I could manage even a little, tiny O was when I was thinking of Hugo, or Ollie, or even Cam. Any of my skibum friends who I had taken a liking to. Or if we were doing something particularly exciting (ie: car sex, which he was even reluctant to do… god knows why..). I was done. I had made my mind up. Come 2017, I wanted to change, and that meant finding myself. It meant seizing my confidence and letting myself grow as a person. It meant no more idleness, no more muteness. It meant no more Danny. The rest of the vacation was nice: he spent Christmas with my family (lol woops that was a mistake), and he got lost on Picture Chutes (such a fuckin pain), he rode in Fernie (saw me flirting with ollie and cam. my bad.), and we struggled to have mediocre sex (it was our lifeline in the relationship). And as i dropped him off at the small Kalispell airport on Erika’s birthday, I willed tears into my eyes as I knew it’d be the last time I’d see him forever. I was done and I didn’t want him anymore. He had done me more damage than good, and I was ready to let it and him go. I figure I will post something in the next little while about the great things of our relationship (because I don’t like having regrets, and there are always good sides to accompany the bad, and vice-versa), but for now, this is how I felt in the moment. The raw disappointment in myself at how I let it get that far, and my sadness in the fact that he didn’t make me a better me, and in the end, isn’t that the whole point?
December was a whirlwind of emotion, relationship epiphanies, and confidence boosts. It was a great time. This was probably when I started to realize the extent of my capability as a strong, intelligent, independent, beautiful, kind, optimistic individual. This is when change was happening. And despite the struggles and the emotional upheaval, i could not be more happy.