Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On risk-taking and bikini skiing

So I didn’t tell the whole story in yesterday’s post about my husband’s Vixen toenails.

No, I’m not suggesting there was a matching manicure and he likes me to call him Sally.

I’m saying that on the day of his ski accident, there was drama beyond the potential threat to his life over purple toenail polish.

Pythagoras was injured in a ski jumping competition that was part of a larger event held each year at that ski hill. In addition to all the “real” ski contests, there is a longstanding tradition of a bikini ski competition.

A competition I was somehow persuaded to enter that day.

I should mention that I do not ski. Not downhill, anyway, and certainly not in attire more suited for a Caribbean beach.

I don’t mean that in the faux-modest way that implies I’ve taken years of lessons and honed my skills to mediocrity. I mean that on the day of the competition, I had been on skis precisely once.

But this was a time in my life when I was young and bold and, admittedly, a little broke.

Pythagoras was fully supportive, and the contest was an equal-opportunity affair with both men and women swishing their way down the slope for a chance at the $300 grand prize.

Well, the others were swishing.

For me, it was more of a snowplow. This was a black-diamond run, and my greatest desire was simply to remain upright and not lose any body parts to frostbite.

Somehow, I did that. I even had the foresight to cross my arms when passing the judges’ table and perform a little half-shiver, half shimmy maneuver that, miraculously, did not cause me to topple headfirst into a tree-well.

By the time I reached the bottom, I was so delighted with my own survival that claiming the $300 grand prize almost seemed like an afterthought.

I used the money to buy an ancient Volkswagen with no door handle and a non-working heater, and I’ve used the story time and again to remind myself to take more risks.

I think of it whenever I’m being a chicken about trying something new – writing my first manuscript, querying agents for the first time, trying a different style of writing – anything that’s a little bit terrifying.

I remind myself of the day I was brave enough (or insane enough) to strip off my clothes, strap sticks to my feet, and point them down a snowy slope.

If I can do that, what’s a little literary terror?

So what is the scariest thing you’ve done? What bold maneuvers are you planning in your future? Please share in the comments!
Getting ready for my bikini ski competition.
A bystander attempts to capture footage of me getting dressed afterward. Classy!

19 comments :

CKHB said...

SECOND TIME ON SKIS? Snowplowing down the black-diamond run was wise, my friend. Very wise.

Sadly, I feel like I've failed at most of the risks I've taken recently. So, right now I'm loath to, say, repeatedly fall down a mountain while in a bikini. No $300 for me! Sigh.

Misty said...

BAHAHAHA...You never let me down when I need an up, girl! HEHEHEHEHEHEHE

Cynthia Reese said...

Brrrr! You must have really been broke to don a bikini in that much snow! Glad you won!

NWFoodie said...

Scariest thing I've done is to actually sign up for a novel writing boot camp class and GO to it! I'm very shy in situations like that and tend to ponder them then retreat to the bat cave with the pups and a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. Going to the class lend to my finding a fantastic group of ladies that allowed me to join their even more fantastic critique group which lead me to twitter and which lead me to your fantastically funny blog. Whew.

Linda G. said...

OMG! You are freaking awesome!

To me, just showing up in a bikini would be scarier than the black diamond run, and I've never even been on snow skis. ;)

Candyland said...

You're HOT! I'd rather eat glass or chew on hot coals than put on a bikini.
Scariest thing I've ever done: Giver birth
Bold maneuvers? Seriously, querying.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

LMAO. Ahh, I swear, your blog never fails to crack me up.

The pics made this FL girl shiver with fear. Kudos to you. :)

LR said...

Wow, sexy!

Scariest: going white-water rafting without helmets or safety precautions with a bunch of sexy thugs my sis' and I had just met that day.

Bold maneuvers: I agree with Candyland, this writing business is the boldest yet.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

The scariest thing I've done... having kids. Outside of that, actually letting people look at what I've written. I still get a bit quivery about the idea of people seeing something I've written and thinking it's a load of utter trash.

Tawna Fenske said...

CKHB, and believe it or not, I was completely sober. Not sure whether to be proud of myself or wonder whether I was insane.

Misty, always happy to amuse you! :)

Cynthia, oddly enough, I didn't really notice the cold once I got going!

NWFoodie, going to a novel writing class takes a helluva lot more guts than skiing in a bikini!

Linda G, keep in mind, I was 22 years old. The sight of me in a bikini at that age was a whole lot more appealing than it would be now!

Candyland, giving birth and querying both sound terrifying (and probably have a lot in common, come to think of it).

Karen Amanda, have I mentioned that I hate snow? I really do.

LR, your white-water rafting adventure sounds fun! Even though there's less chance of dying in writing, I still say the writing is scarier.

Tawna

Tawna Fenske said...

Kayeleen, looks like we simu-posted there! You know, I've been writing for my supper my entire adult life, and I'm still TERRIFIED at having people review what I've written. Great profession I've chosen, eh?

Tawna

Maggie said...

Oh, you must have been so cold! And you still won, despite it only being your second time skiing! Crazy :D

Angela said...

Dude! I ma impressed all over the place.

But think you should have been wearing the stripe-y socks.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

You looked gorgeous that day! I'm not surprised you won -- I'd have voted for you :)

Scariest thing I've done is sign up for the Peace Corps.
Boldest maneuver...tough one...maybe when I trained for a fitness competition. I was buff! LOL

Fun post, as always!

Tawna Fenske said...

Maggie, I think the general terror I was experiencing served to crowd out any sense of hot or cold!

Angela, if only I had owned the stripey socks, I surely would have won some sort of GRAND grand prize!

Nicole, thank you for the kind words. Peace Corps definitely sounds like a bold move! How long were you a part of it and where did you serve?

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Oh my werd. I don't know how you did that! hahaha. I've been on skis once. fell down more than I stood up, almost got stuck on the lift and decided hot cocoa in the lodge was more my style. :)

Danica Avet said...

Tawna, I'm new to the blog, but I'm already loving it!

Perhaps the riskiest thing I've ever done was take a job working on a riverboat cruise right out of college. Okay, so it was the only job I could get with a History degree, but living in the belly of a riverboat in a room roughly the size of my closet was a massive risk. I can't swim. I float, but I don't swim. It was only a matter of time before I ended up in the river and eventually the Gulf of Mexico (but at least I would've been closer to home). I don't regret it though. I saw some beautiful parts of the country (well away from the side of the boat).

Tawna Fenske said...

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T, (wow, that's a mouthful!) I'm with you on the hot cocoa in the lodge. I've been entitled to a free season pass at our local ski hill for maybe 9 out of the last 12 years, and I've used it one time. For one ski run. That was plenty!

Danica, welcome to the blog! Hope you stick around. The riverboat cruise sounds way cool! I recently read Lee Smith's THE LAST GIRLS and it made me want to do a riverboat cruise someday.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Patty Blount said...

The crack you just heard was the sound of my jaw hitting my keyboard.

I've been on skis exactly once. I've NEVER worn a bikini. Ever. Even BC (before children) when I had no stretch marks and weighed 46 lbs. less than I do now.

To combine both? BOLD, baby.

The riskiest thing I've done was take a job that required me to stand in front of a few dozen people and actually teach them something new. *shivers* I discovered I'm actually pretty good at it, which is also a good reminder to take more risks, though definitely not as risky as your story!