A couple of weeks ago I went on a skiing trip with my boyfriend and his family. I’m not a skier, I’ve never been skiing, I have no exposure to skiing, and I’d never had any interest in skiing.
But skiing is a big deal for my boyfriend: he’s been pretty much every year since he was two and he LOVES it. He loves the skiing itself, but also the traditions that he and his family have developed around it. When his family decided to go skiing for his father’s 60th birthday I was invited to go, and whilst I was so excited to get to see this part of my boyfriend’s life and get to know his family better, it filled me with a dread that just got stronger and stronger the closer the holiday came.
It was not the actual skiing itself (sure, I was nervous, but I was also kind of looking forward to trying something new) but it was the ski lessons and ski culture that terrified me.
To me, ski lessons made me feel vulnerable. There were lots of people who I didn’t know, who would probably be all far more glamorous and interesting than me, and I would bore them/annoy them/hold them back/all of the above.
When we arrived at the ski resort my anxieties only got worse when everything seemed so alien. I felt so out of my depth.
I cried pretty much from the time we arrived to the following morning when my ski lesson started. I didn’t want to cry: I wanted to pull myself together and be strong, but I never managed that!
In the end I did get myself to the ski lesson (I was determined to get at least that far), and I even made it through until after lunch. The other people in my ski lesson seemed lovely, down-to-earth, and looked after me when I was struggling – it was in no way what I feared. Unfortunately by that point I was so mentally exhausted that as soon as someone asked me whether I was ok after lunch I just burst into tears and couldn’t stop…so I left and didn’t return for the rest of my 3 day course.
As soon as I was out of the situation and the fear had subsided, I felt like a failure. I used to have so much determination to see anything through no matter how tough. I knew, no matter how much my boyfriend hid it, he’d be disappointed that I didn’t love it. And I was scared what his family would think.
The whole situation made me realise how deep our insecurities run. When I look back at what was fuelling my fears it was that I didn’t feel good enough. I wouldn’t be interesting enough, friendly enough, glamorous enough for the other people on my course. I wouldn’t be good enough at skiing. My determination wasn’t good enough.
All these thoughts of not being enough are what fuel our low self-esteem and body image. We don’t feel like we live up to the person we should be and we’re constantly chasing to be someone else, or hiding away when we don’t feel we can achieve what we should be.
But who is that person we should be? Surely the person we should be is exactly who we are! We are enough. We are all interesting in our own ways, we are all friendly, we are all glamorous, and beautiful and striking enough…all in our own unique and amazing ways.
Sure, I’m not going to become a world-class skier. But I will be plenty of other things. And that is enough. That is why we’re all enough.