To be Frank With You (Even Though my Name is JR)

Taken 2 weeks after surgery 2011

Good morning chaps! As very few people actually follow this blog, it is to very few people I will be addressing today. The rest of you who randomly wandered onto this website, probably will not know or care about what I will be talking about.

Skiing. One of those sports where it is extremely likely an injury will happen upon you at least once in your (skiing) career. Some are those stupid mistakes we make that have an obvious, flashing red, "Danger Danger!" sign that we decide to ignore. Some are out of the blue, pounce-on-you type injuries. Some take weeks of rest, ice, and a little vitamin I (ibuprofen) to heal up. Some take flashy scalpels, needles and thread, percocets, a months supply of ice, physical therapy, and emotional/psychological TLC.

Needless to say, injuries happen. To everyone. Now, I realize my tone right there might have been slightly daunting. However, I am just stating facts, so don't hate me too much, yet.

I started this blog almost two years ago, in a stage in life where skiing was honestly what mattered most. In the last (almost) 24 months, my life has changed. What?! Life changes? Yeah, yeah. Surprise, surprise right? As my life has changed, my posts have dwindled; not that it really means anything to about 99.5739% of you reading this.

"Where has all of the stoke gone?" I've asked myself this an unbelievable amount of times. I have come to the conclusion that there were many variables that played into this turn-of-events-life-changing business. And here they are for the world to see. Just so you know, this is not easy, I feel like posting this will bump my vulnerability up to an 8 on the 'vulnerable' scale. And standing naked in front of a crowd is a 9, to put it in perspective.

Reasons for the Turn-of-Events-Life-Changing-Stoke-Dwindling-Thing:

1) I am no longer 21 years old. Shocker, my age changed! Yes, I am almost 23 years old now. What does age have to do with anything? My mom and dad are still ripping the powpow harder than ever, so why should a 23 year old not? Well, due to certain life circumstances and more responsibility, the free-time that was taken for granted at age 21, is nearly absent now. What free time I have these days, 85% of the time I want to just chill and let my brain catch up. Oh the struggles of a poor-full-time-working-full-time-student. Cry me a river, right? Hey, I'm just being honest.

2) Being a girl in the ski world is rough. Do you know how many posts I have seen from guys on facebook or blogs that completely rip on girls? "I hate girls that ride. Honestly. They are all out there just to try to impress guys. Why would you spend hours getting your hair and face done just to sit in the middle of the park/hill? You can't even turn!" Yes, that is a real quote from a post I saw just two days ago. Yes, I completely agree with him, in most aspects. For the most part, girls who are on the mountain do give a bad rep to the girls who can actually ride.

Alert! Alert! There are still a few girls out there who can still beat you guys!! Just because we don't show off every chance we get, does not mean we can't shred as hard or harder than you (hint to guys: when a girl is riding with a group of guys, we hate it when all you do is show off).

Oh, and guess what? Just because I am a girl, doesn't mean that you know more about ski gear than I do. Some girls can talk circles around you, most of us would feel bad to embarrass you in front of your friends by doing so.

Another thing guys, stop assuming. Just because I am a girl, does not mean that I should be riding shorter, or softer, or girl skis because "it's easier and I could handle it". BS. Girls can rip just as hard as you on stiff 185 skis. Most girls I know who can shred hard have always, and will always, ride guy skis.

What does this have to do with me and why should I care? It gets old. Honestly, it really gets so old trying to "prove" you are "worthy" to ride with a crew of guys without them telling you the easier way to get down the cliff when you don't need to know. Yes, I should just let it go, but it gets really old.

3) Injury. Wow I have rambled way off topic since the beginning. Yes, I am injured. I have been for going on 8 years now. How is that possible, you might ask. No doctors have been able to figure out what is wrong. Now, that may sound dramatic, and I don't mean it to be, I am not dying or anything (that I know of. . .).

Simply put, I have a problem with my legs that is, thus far, incurable. Hallelujah bells rang out last summer, when we thought we had cracked the case. The diagnosis for Compartment Syndrome was made after a grueling physical test involving 24 5-inch-long needles, blood, pain, torture, and more pain. After this it was simple: we scheduled the surgery, I said goodnight Neverland to the anesthesiologist, and woke up a few hours later. This is the fun part. My leg felt like lead, seriously. They had done a fasciotomy in two of the muscle compartments in my right leg. One 6" scar. Luckily the surgeon had dodged the freckles on my legs, I am partial to them.

After two weeks of ice-pumps, lortab, crutches, and one-legged-baths, I trained my right leg how to walk again. This wasn't completely successful until a month after surgery (give or take a few days). My (right) leg was feeling much better than before. I chose to do one leg at a time because let's be honest, wheelchair and 2-ish months until walking versus crutches and 1 month till you can walk. Easy-peasy choice. My stoke was definitely skyrocketing at this point.

Winter came (well, if you can call the start of the 11-12 season winter...). My leg started aching, keeping me up at nights. Again. All over. The same thing, and it is not common at all for this to happen after surgery, if in fact you have Compartment Syndrome.

Skiing has been my life. I started when I was 18 months old. I cannot tell you how much pain it causes me to not ski. How much it kills when someone tells me that "so-and-so had a broken toe and they still ski so why don't you?" or "why aren't you skiing today" or "so-and-so is way more into skiing now than you are" or "you don't really care about skiing".

So what? I should just ignore them, right? Have you ever hammered a nail into a very stubborn section of a wall? Eventually the wall succumbs to the pressure. Eventually ignoring people doesn't work as well as it used to. Eventually, I get pissed off at them, at my legs, and the pain wears down my stoke-levels (not that it is completely gone, only dwindled).

I could ski everyday (that I don't have work or school) if I wanted to. Some days my legs feel okay, maybe even great. Some days I wake up at 3 am because they feel like there is someone sawing at them with a dull knife. I don't know the pattern. I ski when they feel good, and that's that. The reason you think that "I don't care about skiing anymore", or that I don't talk about ski gear as much as you anymore, is because I am sick of telling people my legs hurt. It sounds bland, dry, and overused in my mouth. I am not going for sympathy here, I am just telling you straight up who I am and how I feel. I don't tell you my legs hurt because I don't want your sympathy. I don't tell you they hurt because there is nothing I can do about it. I don't tell you I feel weak. I don't tell you they hurt because I hate complaining. I don't tell you they hurt because I am stubborn.

5) I don't have a fifth, but I cannot end on an even number, sorry for the inconvenience.

Life changes, people change. My stoke-level is rising back up to where it used to be, but with a new perspective and a new appreciation. Be patient with me. I did not write this to get sympathy, to give you excuses. I am vulnerable for sharing this part of me that hardly anyone knows. I wrote it to be honest with you, with myself.

I wrote this to be honest with those who have given me the most support in my life, and thank them for everything: my awesome hubby/best friend Bobby, my parents who taught me to ski and love, my best friend/sis Whit and her incredible hubby Tom, and my best friend/little sis Kell. (And all my other family members/friends who have been with me and heard my rants).


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