Friday, March 5, 2010

When At First I Don’t Succeed, Cry, Cry Again….

I’ve been meaning to write this since our last class when Joanne talked about needing to recognize our triggers and since Nev asked me what I thought the challenges for me going to India would be. So here goes…

I’d like to tell you all about my latest adversary - cross country skiing. Now before you laugh I would like to qualify this by saying that it involved far more hills than “cross country” would imply and its way harder than it looks. I found myself at the bottom of a rather large (probably not that large at all but seemed big at the time) hill. I got half way up only to slide all the way back down and land on my butt. Eventually I managed to get stranded halfway up the hill unable to do up and unwilling to go back down. For anyone else I’m sure it would have been hilarious to see me, skis crossed, one pole up one pole down, just barely hanging on, when I’m sure kids could figure their way up that hill, so I commend Michael on not falling down laughing at the sight of me. But somehow I managed to get untangled and up that hill and managed to hold back the tears of frustration welling in my eyes.

About a half a kilometer later I found myself at the top of an even bigger (I think? It seemed like it…) hill. More than slightly afraid I made Mike go down it first, and as I watched him sail down the hill with ease I felt a little better. But about half the way down things weren’t going so well and I fell the rest of the way down on a combination of my back, knees, and shoulder. That was the last straw for me and the tears came flooding. Partially from the many scrapes and bruises, partially from embarrassment and mostly from frustration. And not just little a little bit either big, messy, sobbing tears. (Sooo attractive on my skiing date) But honestly! What’s wrong with me?!? I felt like such a baby. I wasn’t crying because I was hurt, I was crying because I couldn’t do it. Try as I may I am NOT good at cross country skiing. And that is endlessly infuriating to me!

This is a weakness that I have been aware of for some time. I don’t handle failure very well. Not like sore loser temper tantrums but I get frustrated very easily when I am not good at something. I work myself up to a point that I’m so upset that I can’t even make myself try again! I get so frustrated when I feel out of my element and even to a point that I would rather not try again than be bad at something! Umm Whew! That took a lot to actually write down and admit, I tried a couple of other phrasings but no, I just needed to say it. Also, WOW that sounds even more horrible when it’s out there in the open!

But now that I’ve said it I have to deal with it! And I have realized that I’m just going to have to suck it up if I want to do well in this placement. Trying to get up that hill it felt like the skis work a handicap and I just couldn’t make them work, but wakeup call!! EVERYDAY in India is going to feel like that for a while. I won’t know how to get myself where I need to be, I won’t be able to communicate effectively whenever I want, I won’t know the proper way to go on a bus, to greet people, or pretty much the proper way to do anything when I first get there. So what am I going to? Cry, give up and go home? NO WAY! So I’m going to have to find away to be okay with struggling. I instantly felt silly for crying and pouting and that is a big step for me to be able to admit it, even to myself. GIRL! You’re going to be twenty in a couple of weeks! Get yourself together! How am I ever going to make not being able to communicate if I can’t deal with not being able to ski?

I need to fix this, and fast! So I am setting a goal for myself – when I am getting frustrated I am going to consciously will myself to take a step back and breathe…It’s not the end of the world if I can’t get to the bottom of the hill without falling! It could be fun to slide all the way down on my bum! There are much bigger problems than my own.

Preparinf for this trip is a lot like climbing up that ski hill. Some days I gain a bit and feel unstoppable – put me on a plane today, I’m ready!! And some days I slip a bit and feel like there’s no way I will be able to do this by myself. It’s hard, and it’s going to take work and willpower … but I’m determined to make it to the top of that hill!


  1. Very motivational post! I know I get frustrated as well. I went snowboarding recently and the end of the day I was on skis (I have never really snowboarded but I have been taught skiing). It's very normal to want to cry when you are frustrated. I like the idea of setting back and taking a few breaths to calm down. I hope you get better at cross country skiing (btw last time I went cross country skiing I fell down so many times I gave up and walked my skis home! Hahaha )

  2. Oh Jenn, I am also very familiar with the crying method when dealing with frustration. You know what? there's nothing wrong with tears. I don't know about you, but crying really calms me - gives me a little bit of peace, if you will. But the important lesson here is that, it's okay to cry as long as crying isn't the precursor to giving up. Cry a little, it will make you feel better, but then wipe those tears away and find a new way to solve the problem!

    excellent post, and I loved the title!

  3. Sometimes sliding down on your bum means the battle is won!
    Really, some hills were made (I recall this from my childhood, and assure you it is true) for people to just slide down them. That's what makes them funnnnnn!
    That being said, you are probably not the first or the last who slid down them, keep that in mind!

    p.s. Great post!

    Nev ;)