When it comes to societal stereotypes,
I break all the rules.
I’m an 80’s baby living in a Colorado mountain town, by way of Columbus, Ohio. Grew up battling between what I was ‘supposed’ to be in the eyes of society, versus who I really was, wanted to do, and wanted to be as a person. Through this insane series of events that they call LIFE, I ended up here; a Black, female snowboard instructor crushing life in a ski town that fully embraces its Western heritage.
My family has always put the fun in disfunctional. My parents were happily unhappily married for over 33 years before my father’s death in 2010. There’s a 9-year age gap between my two big brothers, and a 3-year gap between the last of the boys and my little sister. I fall right in that gap, and am often referred to within my family as the true middle child. As far back as I can remember, my grandma (mom’s mom) has been cooking Sunday dinners for her kids, and their kids, and their kids, and friends of the family, and friends of the kids, and family of in-laws— anyone really, as long as you know someone there. Knowing how some other families interact, and relationships between some blood relatives that are rocky or broken, and some people being raised in horrible environments, I feel like I lucked out as far as the family I was born into and how I was raised.
I am a natural athlete. I am open-minded. I like to drink. My three favorite colors starting with number three are blue, pink, and green. I still enjoy playing The Sims (rumors of The Sims 5?!). I can’t focus while driving or at my manager job if music isn’t playing. I curse, a lot. I love college football and have rearranged my work schedule every fall for at least the past 4 years to have Saturdays off (Go Buckeyes!). My all time favorite bands are A Day to Remember, and The Spill Canvas. I used to be fairly fluent at speaking French, but have been well out of practice for the past decade. I like to describe myself as a 32 year old in the body of a 20 year old with the mind of a 14 year old, just a big kid. I love SpongeBob. My doctor recently ‘diagnosed’ me with ADD, but doesn’t think it affects my life to the point that I need meds. I’m one of those people that has a mustache tattoo on their finger. I love Law & Order: SVU marathons. I own 7 onesies, and have no shame wearing them in public. I am weird. I am different. I am unapologetically myself. I am here.
How snowboarding ruined my life
[in the best way possible].
Snowboarding led me to a giant group of people that I consider family. These hooligans didn’t just break me out of my shell, but I’m pretty sure they used rocket launchers. They caused me to stumble off of the path to the college degree that I thought was needed in order to be an adult. They’ve created some of my most epic life stories. If our lives as the Snow Trails family was a reality show that I was watching from the outside, I would totally think that 95% of what happened was staged. That’s how ridiculous life was.
Over the course of 7 winters of partying too hard in Mansfield, and the trickle over the years of more and more of the crew moving to Columbus during the off season, this crazy tornado of friends tossed me through ups and downs, friendships and falling outs, love and heartbreak, and even some instances where some/more people should’ve gotten hurt/arrested/killed. And then, they decided to spit me out. I wouldn’t be in Colorado if it wasn’t for them. Their encouragement, energy, and genuine desire for everyone in our dysfunctional family to do great things with their life is what got me here. That, and they basically kicked me out after I passed my AASI cert 3. I owe them the world.
It’s funny how almost dying
can end up saving your life.
‘Nature versus nurture’ along with my own personal life events combined to create a ticking time bomb within my mind. I had slowly been spiraling for a very long time, with or without realizing what was happening. Anyone that has felt themselves drop to very low points knows and understands what I mean when I say that the negative thoughts and feelings slowly start to turn you against yourself. Moments when you realize it, you have the ability to try to fight back against those lies being told in your head. When you don’t notice it, the negativity will continue to take over your thoughts until those lies start to feel like and maybe even actually turn into truths. The people that believe that all you need to do to be happy is be positive are the people that don’t fully know what depression is. The people on the side of believing that suicide is a selfish act don’t know the power an imbalanced brain has at convincing you that this is the ultimate way to save you from yourself.
After years of falling further and further down the rabbit hole of sadness in my mind, I reached my lowest level of depression sometime around the 2014-2015 winter season. I didn’t want to be alive, but I didn’t really want to die. Long story short, and with a lot of help with some really close friends, I finally got a therapist. It was a long time coming. I noticed I probably needed one when I was like a sophomore in high school. Looking back, I can notice small signs as far back as like 6th or 7th grade that hinted at the fact that my mind might go that direction.
Therapist ‘diagnosed’ me with severe depression. She referred me to a doctor (I didn’t have one yet in Steamboat) and they both recommended that I get on anti-depressants, immediately. I’ll save my thoughts on how I’m pretty sure my body is weirdly immune to most of different types of medicines/pills for a different day, but after having tried 3 different happy pills with little success, one dark bike ride changed everything. That story in itself is long and ridiculous (and will be posted about, then linked here once it’s posted), but I’ll sum it up by saying to always bring your headlamp, and that helmets are cool.
Apparently after fairly serious head injuries, it’s highly recommended that the unfortunate patient is put on Zoloft as their brain heals because of the imbalance that happens can cause symptoms of depression and all that fun stuff. Turns out, Zoloft ended up being the elixir I needed.
Fast forward a few years, quite a few life-changing moments, many ups and downs, and couple stupid attempts to quit my meds (don’t do this, especially without the help and guidance of your doctor), I had a summer of revelations that led up to what I can only describe as a Spiritual Awakening. Like the kinds you read about while thinking there’s no way this is real life. It’s so rare that it’s seems like an unreal event. That’s until you, yourself, have one. There was the most euphoric feeling within me, an INSANE amount of crying, and a good chunk of writing.
And that basically brings me here. I am here.