The art of falling down: / by Christina Rosalie

I crossed the first item off my 34 before 34 list this weekend: snowboard blue squares, and it felt amazing. They were my last two runs on Sunday. The light was golden and the shadows long and blue across the trail, and it was just me and my board and the snow and random strangers hurtling down at improbable speeds around me. And I did it: carving my way back and forth in a brilliant, precarious, unlikely upright angle, slanting and turning, all the way down, and this is what struck me about the whole process: that becoming something or learning something is always this crazy, amazing, awkward process.

Falling is awkward (and painful) and it isn't something you can skip. You can't fast forward learning. You can't overcome fear by skipping fear itself. You can't avoid falling by not falling. You've got to be in it: messy, face planting, laughing, crying, doing it all over again.

The best thing about riding the lifts is getting a glimpse at a bigger picture. When you're on the ground, your perspective is narrow. You + snow. You think you're the only one, maybe, to every wipe out this horrifically. To skid into the drift at the edge of the trail; to splat off the lift like you don't know how to stand. You collect yourself quickly, looking around, laughing self consciously. But from the air it's all different.

From there you can see: everyone is falling. Even the show-offs. Even the brilliant ones for whom snowboarding is like flying. They know that falling = learning. Falling = risking. Falling = facing fear.

This is true for everything, not just this new obsession of mine. It's true for writing; for making art; for asking for what you want; for extending your reach; finding your voice.

When was the last time you gave yourself the opportunity to fall?