Whistler

lift_pictureAfter Whistler I can definitely appreciate the apres “lifestyle”. I long scoffed at the party-harder-than-you-ski, buy-even-though-lift-tickets-made-you-broke culture of vibrant ski towns like Whistler. And it’s no wonder that I stuck to my guns for so long-I thought they were out of my budget. Well, a night full of lights and $5 dinner at a local and tourist haunt later I was hooked on crazy notion that to understand a crazy culture you must live the culture. And that living that culture in itself is a life – one too wacky and too wild to live vicariously.

We hit the easiest slopes but in no way were they diminutive-they snaked down from near the top of the mountain (Easy Out) to the very bottom, where crowds thinned out. Higher up I saw that lines at lifts were longer, probably all the more advanced skiiers and riders waiting their turn for fresh pow. The high tech RFID gates, operating with radio frequency chips to read chips in cards in our pockets, heightened the grandiose experience. After sorting out rentals, we found out that a 3pm last-lift time wasn’t enough. We forwent lunch and took a last lift up to wind down the mountain nearly 45 min later.

During this time, I had a lot of time to contemplate how hard it is to have fun while going slowly on flat ground but also the value of suspending old friendships. I was enjoying the slopes with my high school friends, a dream I had since I graduated a few years back-now it was finally happening. What did I think? Well, for one we were no longer at the same level, but on the other, I wished that we had gone harder. I wasn’t being my crazy-self-best, because I didn’t have adrenaline pumping through my system, and I expect my friends were focussed on picking their way elegantly down a world class mountain. But although we were on various levels of aptitude, the experience was the same: we were together on a mountain, doing something that was technically a treat, even though now it was more of a same-old for me.

Unfortunately, the 3PM last lift came around too soon and we sped down the long, not-too-fast section back to Whistler village. On a best friend’s recommendation, we hit El Furny’s, a character-filled restaurant and pub with $5 food. If I wasn’t already enamoured with the price, I was smitten by their portion sizes and quality. We all ordered different things but we were all satisfied with our choices. Best of all, the restaurant was populated by mountain creatures of all manners coming out of the cracks as the night descended and revived skiers and weary travellers that were dragging their feet. There was of course an over representation of folks who had came out banged up after the day, overdressed folks (in Macklemore like fur no less), underdressed folks (just kidding-not that we saw anyways) and spirited music.

Love it or lump it.

*The focus of the day was to take photos of my friends; I focussed very little on landscape shots

peak2peak2slopedetail2

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Fox in the Trees

 

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I had this brilliant idea while bored. I was discouraged from being unable to draw anything but the ugliest of cartoon Christmas trees (I’d post it but I already deleted it). So I thought, scrolling through yesterday’s photos, why not trace one? I had a photo I really liked but didn’t know how to play with it, and, being lazy, I wanted to reuse my fox. I was so happy how this turned out 4 hours later. It’s the scene I wanted, a fox dashing through the snow towards snowy trees.

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counselling/breaking the cycle

This was how I started when I wrote freely:

I said I don’t have depression, but probably I do. I just don’t know what it is anymore.

I’ve just gotten so good at masking with anxiety. Nothing will change my skewed perception of reality except me and I haven’t figured out yet until now that I can choose to importance to place on events in my life. I need to admit that to counselling so we can work on that.

It’s like when I was younger and had just started snowboarding and thought it doesn’t matter if I want to do it now because my future self felt assured that I’d be happy about it.

But I’m no longer that person, just living minute by minute, second by second. I just want to escape the pain that I feel. 

I lose something every time I go out without my parents’ permission. It’s an expensive habit. Losing segments of memory to avoid feeling guilty and losing things that I’ve somehow pinned my guilt and depression onto. Thinking I can physically throw away the physical representations of my very non physical and very real illness.

It’s debilitating. I didn’t chose to forget things. When I was twelve my parents told me I was worthless when I lost just one item and repeated it to me for years and I’ve believed them. So now I forget things to get rid of that guilt for proving them wrong, that I can keep ahold of things, feelings, grades, everything…

I never made the choice to be someone who loses things. I just felt them slip away and fell when I tried to grab them. 

I chose to love by listening and was hurt by it. I didn’t chose to get hurt. I’m tired of never loving to avoid being hurt again. 

I only filled out anxiety when I applied for special accommodations but depression is the one thing I fear the most. I fill the silences with anxiety and hope I find meaning through reaction instead of inaction. That makes me think I’m going backwards or not moving at all. How can I still be depressed or anxious if I’m working on it, have been working on it once every two weeks for three months? 

I hope my future self is glad I put the work in to not be depressed and be a nearly-normally functioning individual with bouts of irrational moods. I want my future self to be proud that I put in the work that I do in the moments when I’m unsure I matter. When I’m sure I messed up and disappointed everybody. I want my future self to be assured that I’ll be happy about putting the time into really convincing myself my feelings may be real, but that doesn’t mean they are true.

 

Because they aren’t true.

 

See how that changed? I shifted my emotions when I stepped back.

 

And that’s an example of my actually writing out thoughts and then making an effort to become conscious of what I’m feeling and asking “Is what I’m thinking true?”

It’s an example of breaking the cycle of self perpetuating thoughts.

If you look back at journals that I used to write, thoughts never ended on a note of closure. This is because I lacked the proper tools to stop errant reactions to thoughts. They self perpetuated not out of their own weakness but because you need to structure to your reactions to your feelings as much as you need structure to your life. This might come normally for most of your life but when it doesn’t know that it is just a skill that can be learned that has multiplying results. You can’t not benefit from breaking the cycle of any life impacting emotional reactions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One

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range

I thought all my photos suck until I brought them home.

I thought some of my photos were awesome until I saw something even more inspiring and polished than what I had captured.

Photography is a deceptively simple form of art; five photos may escape the discard pile out of hundreds. If you get one good photo, you feel good. If you don’t, you just tell yourself that you learned from it and you’ll do better next time.

Just like snowboarding.

One good run, one good turn, one good spot of snow.

One little thing can make your day.

One.

 

 

Snow Day

ridersI haven’t figured out a unified way to edit these photos yet I’m afraid if I don’t do anything with them, they’ll just languish.

The purpose of the trip was to de-stress and take awesome, conceptual photos. Reality hit me right away though, and I struggled throughout the day just to ward off the extreme fear I felt riding with irrational anxiety. On the upside, I have lots of pictures of snowy trees. My anxiety, though, tells me this are nothing special and that I should just delete them and left my camera at home. Life with anxiety: pay for 10+ runs, remember only to ride on half the last one. Anxiety will convince you that you have forgotten how to ride even if you haven’t, and that doubt will be a dark cloud.

To be honest, I haven’t ridden normally at all this season, even if it’s only been a couple other times; the anxiety is palpable, inescapable. In a week my discount won’t be valid any more and I’ll also be turning the last page on this semester. Will I be free to pursue what I want and who am I? Only I can make that happen.

In the meantime, here are some photos:

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FFGW’s Questionable New Logo!

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How about that? What about a new logo? Just for fun? Here’s a draft. My scratch disks are apparently too full to allow me to refine it anymore without my computer exploding. I’ll be happy to work on it when I clear my laptop of enough space-hording DLSR photos (all of which suck: let’s face it, I haven’t gotten much practice or inspiration for photos lately) to use it for drawing fun.

PS I know I can’t draw

PSS What is perspective?! Heeelp! I need my artist friends!

Graphics Roundup -Photoshop/DSLR

I would never claim to be a good artist, but I would certainly claim that I find it therapeutic to make visual alternate realities. For now, I’m sticking to visual/communicative designs – I’ll leave fine art to my friends who are fantastic artists. One day though, becoming an actual artist would be awesome. Having just walked through an artist’s installation made up of illuminated paper cutouts with my friend, I felt excited. The artist had no clear purpose set out in her work, yet we left feeling like we had had an intimate yet fun moment with the artist.

Who am I kidding? I really wish I were a great artist. But, from studying English, I see now how the finesse of an artist is the result of countless hours of practice, and that great art is not an accident but an elusive higher plane that requires devotion to reach. And, of course, a vision.