Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

In 2006 I went on a camping trip that almost ended in death. Daniel(Atikens), My sister Sandra, My boyfriend at the time Brendan, Me, My sister Heather & two other guys Ben&Troy made a decision to go down the douglas daly rapids one week after a massive cyclone had flooded the entire area.
Forgetting the fact that the river branched out from one of the most crocodile infested rivers in Darwin , speeding over trees and sharp rocks with nothing but an inflatable pillow at speeds similar to a maxed out electric scooter was the dangerous stunt here.

Soon as I was back in the water and Brendan and I were heading down the first rapid in front of troy and Sandra I got sucked away from the lilo and pulled over a rapid. I tumbled about four or five times in a circle had no control just trying to get my head above water. I banged every part of my body on rocks and I seriously thought I was going to die. After some extreme tumbling I managed to reach out and snag myself on a tree but once I was on the tree there was nothing I could do. I was trapped in the middle of this river. On my left was more crazy rapids and on the right was the massive rapid I had just come down with the shore about 10 metres away. And I was all alone.

The above is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote back then. Anyone who knows me in the last five years probably thinks well that's normal isn't it. That's just Amanda doing stupid shit & living to tell the story like she always does. What you miss though is in 2006 I was a completely different person. In fact I start that post off with this quote

 I decided fuck it … I never be extreme so I grabbed Brendan’s hand and headed upstream 
I just got back from another trip to Surprise where once again we spent the weekend swimming, jumping, drinking. I love that jump 10m high. I love that feeling as I fall to the water. But I'm desensitised to it, it doesn't scare me standing up there I just feel a flutter of excitement in my chest looking down. A friend of mine was also there and I watched her gripping the cliff walls unable to take the leap of a much smaller 3m jump. I could only imagine how it felt for her and the fear that was controlling her. The reality is though out of the two of us she was the braver one. She was the one who was facing her fears and trying to beat them. I was just having fun and enjoying myself but she wanted to do something she couldn't do.
Before 2006 I spent a long time letting fear and circumstance control me. I had to deal with my entire life being turned upside down at 17 years old. I was pretty young, insecure and naive and I gave in. I spent a good chunk of my life letting that change control me.

One day I knew I couldn’t keep going like this. I heard this new quote
Don’t wait for the storm to pass learn to dance in the rain

So I didn’t. I went to find myself I packed up or sold everything I owned, quit my job and left Darwin. I went to Canada. I was terrified of leaving my support network at home. I almost didn’t get on the plane, I was like my friend gripping onto the cliff walls unable to take that leap.

Needless to say leaving the country was easily the best thing I could have done. Sure my four year relationship ended, and when I returned I had to restart my life again. But I beat my fears. Maybe I had to give up a lot of things at 17 certainly I’ll never be able to water-ski again. But in Canada I found a love for something else. I discovered snowboarding, not only that I discovered I was pretty good at snowboarding. Snowboarding really gave me a new lease on life I was outdoors, I was active and it was hard to describe how happy and pain-free I felt when I was riding down a ski hill. Nothing could come close to that feeling of freedom.

And that’s the secret of life. Snowboarding. Haha. No but really. When I stood up and faced my fears I stopped letting them control me. Snowboarding was the first step for me, it saved me. It gave me passion and inspiration. I realised how much I could do and become. I was the only person in my life who had the ability to make something of myself.

After that I began to embrace life once again. When I couldn’t snowboard anymore I found new passions, new adventures. I am the person who pretty much says yes to anything. So I was a late bloomer in life but there are people older than me who still haven’t experienced anything, who have let circumstances control them. I’m a lucky person I have an amazing family, incredible friends and I live in a beautiful country. I have the chances that many don’t. And I am blessed. Sometimes I still fall back to the times before Canada when my circumstances overwhelm me, but I have to stop those moments from becoming to frequent and the way I do that is by continuing to live and find the awesome in everything. Let it rain, a good thunderstorm is kind of sexy anyway ;) And when the rain stops the entire world glistens.

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