10 March 2014

Why I Embrace Being Ridiculous

This may come as a surprise to most of you, but I didn't always ski in tutus and travel with an action figure mascot. In fact, I wouldn't even consider myself 'outdoorsy' prior to about 2008. Sure I grew up skiing and hiking in Montana, but what you haven't heard about are the countless mornings I opted to forego the ski hill in favor of sleeping in (lazy teenager), or the amount of complaining I used to do while trudging up a hillside somewhere (typical teenager).

A photo has been circulating on Facebook for some time, and this week 2 people posted it to my wall. That's after 3 other people posted it a few months ago....

Know what that photo was?:

My life mantra

As a young person trying to make your way in this big, confusing world, you don't always have the confidence to do things that make you happy. Instead you think, "what will my friends say about me if I do this? if I wear that? if I admit how much I love the Spice Girls?"

So you go through life doing what everyone else does. You dress the same, eat the same, read the same, look the same, be the same.

And then something happens. For me, I hit my mid-twenties and what everyone else thought didn't matter anymore. I couldn't be bothered with their opinions. I was going to be weird and wear ridiculously bright colors and finally accept the fact that I'm bossy and am willing to take on the additional work of being "the organizer" who keeps detailed spreadsheets and writes out hourly schedules and pre-trip to do lists because that just MAKES ME HAPPY DAMMIT!

It was like one day I just woke up and said, "yeah, this is me." This fact was driven home when I attended a party of mostly 30-somethings and the hostess brought out a box of costumes. Not only was everyone excited about said box, but we were clamoring over who got to wear which outfit. This NEVER would have happened at a party in my early 20's, and I was fascinated by the behavior change. Then I began noticing as more and more of my friends hit the same point of self-discovery and acceptance. In some cases it drove us closer together, and in other cases it drove us apart. But you know what? That's okay. We all have to find what makes us happy in life and go for it, even if that means growing up and growing apart.

I am now known as 'that girl who skis in a pink tutu'. People recognize me in the mountains. I participate in a web forum called Turns All Year, and have completed 29-consecutive months of skiing. This puts me in a group of people who are random and fun and awesome and active and happy. Even better - last time I was backcountry skiing in the tutu three people recognized me, and all of them stopped to say hello. One wanted to compliment my writing in Mountaineer, one wanted to tell me they enjoyed my trip reports on Turns All Year, and one just wanted to say, "hey, are you Kristina that crazy girl who skis in a tutu? Yeah? I thought so. Nice to meet you."

And I don't stop there. I also climb in a tutu. And skydive in a tutu. And influence my friends to ski and climb and skydive in tutus, or do anything else wearing something ridiculous if that's what makes them happy.

I also travel with an entourage of tiny action figures who all have distinct names and personalities; I talk about poop way more often than your average American; I make my friends line up by color to take ROYGBIV photos; I read and write and don't watch much TV and have seen 3 movies in 5 years and you know what? I'm not apologizing anymore. Instead - I'm happy. Not every day, but most days. I know myself well enough to put my hair up in pigtails when I'm having a bad day because, while I'm pushing 30 and those types of hairstyles aren't really appropriate for someone "my age", it automatically puts me in a good mood. And there's nothing in this world more powerful than spreading joy and happiness, and yes, just a little bit of ridiculousness.

Because really, life would be better if we wore more tutus.

Rainbow Girls Ski Day


Matt Q said...

Thanks for spreading the joy and happiness. It is infectious and the rest of us appreciate it!

S said...

So glad to call you my friend! That makes me happy! :)