I have some wonderful friends. Not only once did my mother tell me that friends should count on the fingers of one hand. And so many times I wanted to argue with her, until I realized that, in fact, I am lucky to have so many good friends. And indeed, when I began to notice that friendships are difficult to connect, are contextual and interesting, that people are less and less open, and that genuine connections between people are very rare, I began to understand the perspective. mother.
I don't realize why I grew up with the idea that winter sports are something elitist, maybe even exclusive. I grew up in a family with very good material possibilities, so that could not have been the problem. I even asked my mother if they were simply not interested or if there was a specific reason. It seems that they were not exposed to such activities either (although my father seems to have skied in his youth), and when my brother and I were old enough for this activity my father started to have many projects abroad, and the focus Our family was on something else. I don't know if you find yourself in my story, but it is certain that despite the fact that I longed for the ski slope at some point after the holidays, I did not explicitly ask my parents to send me. Then this thing didn't depend on them anymore, but I still didn't do anything about it. And I had good friends around me who went to practice winter sports both in Romania and abroad.
In addition to all this context in which I felt that these activities are not really accessible to everyone, I also had an obstacle. And I put this obstacle on my own because it was so physical, because I was an extremely sedentary overweight man and it was really hard for me (even if I don't like to admit it), but also emotionally because I didn't think I could. The simple reason that skiing or snowboarding involves effort and movement discourages me. And I didn't even enjoy doing sports, nor did I think I could do this activity on my own. It is a prejudice that is far too well known and widespread (that fat people cannot play sports) to claim that you have never hit it or that you have never thought of it yourself.
And here I return to my wonderful friends who over the years have had only beautiful influences on me. I do not want to turn the article into a eulogy to them because they would bore you, and I prefer to give them personal gratitude and appreciation.
I just want to tell you that due to the fact that they created an environment in which I could feel appreciated, encouraged and supported, I managed to overcome some prejudices and to overcome some limits imposed either by me or by society..
The power of example is very important
When I met Anda, I was very happy because I finally had someone to borrow clothes from. I had the same preferences and wore about the same size, so it was like a match made in Heaven. She had a great group of cool friends and an older brother (Arin). And I have an older brother, in case you don't know.
For many years I heard and saw Anda, Arin and our friends going snowboarding and skiing in the winter, and even though I really wanted to be part of that cool gang, I didn't have the courage. to dare to dream that I could practice this sport.
However, the fact that I saw them, as overweight as me, that they can, that they have fun, that they can afford, that they easily integrate into all kinds of gangs and that they are accepted, made me want, to dream and dare.
When self-love and self-confidence work wonders
I had the courage to say out loud that I want to learn to snowboard only at the beginning of 2017 when I was almost 29 years old, and when I had already lost over 30kg of the 120 I had started. I had been doing regular sports for a year and a half and I had a physical condition like I had never had before. My confidence had grown considerably as the extra pounds left me, but that was not the main reason. First of all, what contributed most to the increase in self-confidence was the fact that every day I discovered that I had a stronger body and more able to do more and more complex workouts.. I didn't trust myself, but my body taught me to have (the hard way, that's right). And by listening to my body, I learned how to take care of myself. Now I know that self-love translates (in my case) through a healthy diet, exercise, rest and doing what I love and makes me happy. Then I was just learning that. And courage is a proof of self-love. And in January 2017, I felt brave.
Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you
And the people around me reacted wonderfully! Anda gave me snowboarding clothes from her, and from the rest of the group I planted what I needed: boots, board, glasses, etc. The picture below is from my first experience on the board. Not even the gloves I was wearing were mine.
At the first experience on the slope I also went with Iulian (my coach at the gym) because he was the man who supported me the most in my trip because it is important to surround yourself with people who lift you. I don't know how you are, but I'm the kind of person who feels motivated and empowers when encouraged. Criticism does not motivate me, but on the contrary it gives me states of anxiety and distrust, and things tend to take it in an unwanted direction.
On January 6, 2017, I climbed a plate for the first time. I took a two-hour lesson with an instructor and didn't do much then. I didn't even get a return. I couldn't get up on my own, I fell a lot, I climbed 20-30m on foot on the slope and then with the help of the instructor I made some turns. I didn't manage to do anything on my own, but I had made great progress: I was on the slope, I had my snowboarding board standing and I had a direction.
Passion and dedication
On January 28, I returned with my friends for another lap on the slope. They took a turn because I also sat at the base of the slope and practiced. But this time I had my ski suit (boots and board also on loan). And you can easily recognize Anda, because we are dressed the same. Nothing out of the ordinary, we've been doing this since I was 19 🙂
This turn I managed to get up on my own and turn right. Because I couldn't get up from the ground, Anda taught me to do as she did: get up on my knees and then turn slightly to the right. And after a few falls I succeeded. She couldn't get up from the bottom either, so she found an alternative and shared it with me. I felt understood and accepted. And it mattered a lot because it didn't discourage me and didn't stop me. That's what my knees looked like after that weekend on the slopes. How did I feel? Very proud of me, even though the pain was severe.
In December 2017, just two days before Christmas, I had a new back crisis. My disc herniation was bothered by some wrong workouts and a carpet I wanted to carry on my own. So I entered 2018 a little immobilized in bed and with regular injections of dexa in order to get out of the crisis and to be able to regain my mobility. I just couldn't move because of the pain. So, I missed that season and couldn't continue learning. I honestly confess that I was the most upset because I didn't take care of myself and I couldn't go to the slope.
However, I took full advantage of the 2018-2019 winter season because I went to the Kopaonik ski resort in Serbia where I learned to control the board a bit, made the first downhill descents and learned to turn left and on the right. I took lessons with an instructor for 4-5 days. In the morning I spent 2 hours with the instructor and then I went alone or with friends.
For the departure from Kopaonik I prepared properly and now I had my own complete equipment because my determination and desire to learn was maximum.
Then I came back with the beauties (forget how beautiful you are!) my friends on the Azuga slope where I wanted to practice what I had learned in Serbia.
If you also have the prejudice that fat people can't play sports, it's nothing because I had it too. But this does not make you a bad person, but you have simply mastered some customs of the society in which you live. You don't have to feel guilty about that. You become guilty the moment you choose to continue wearing your horse glasses and refuse to open your mind.
Arin is a tall man who weighs around 140 kg and is much better than two-thirds with a snowboarding board than people on the slopes. And he has fun, and he is empathetic and has the patience to teach those around him. Sometimes just by having an example, you have the courage to get out of the shell and try things you barely dared dream of.
Patience and joy
Last year's season ended in March after a 4-day trip to Pamporovo in Bulgaria where I went with my girlfriend Denisa Sima (you probably know her YouTube channel) and her circle of friends. They were all much younger than me and less on their toes, but I was very impressed by that departure and the experience of a different group. The fun was maximum and I discovered something I had not been aware of at all until then: on the slope, people are supportive, and connections are created very easily between people. So, even if you go alone, you will still be connected to someone.
Is it easy to learn? Clearly not. But what sport is easy to learn?
But I tell you honestly that the learning process with all the related falls and blows, with fears and frustrations, with sunny days or bad weather, is sprinkled with joys and small victories. From my point of view, the satisfaction comes not only from checking that you have learned this, but from the small victories along the way: first lift, first turn, first descent, first descent without falls, 5 tied turns on both sides, first returns on steep slopes and so on. If you look at things this way, the whole process is a joy and a source of personal satisfaction. And an important resource for increasing self-esteem. Because you prove that you can do something you didn't think you could do.
Get out of your comfort zone
At the end of January this year I arrived in Bansko, Bulgaria. I admit that the resort pleasantly surprised me and that I had a totally different experience than I expected (I can make a separate post about Bansko if you are interested in the subject). First of all, here I feel that I have made some significant progress, I have completely left the comfort zone and I have climbed up to 1600m with a cable car, a road that lasted around 23 minutes (I was afraid of heights). One day my friends could not accompany me on the slope and I had the option not to go either or to go alone.
I chose to go alone, although sometimes I am very afraid to do things alone. That was the only day he could climb 2600m because he also went to that telescope. Due to the strong wind on most days it is stopped. Do you realize how lucky I was? That day, I explored and discovered new slopes on my own, I descended twice from 2600m, I managed to make turns on the steep slope and I gained a state of well-being and satisfaction that I had not felt before. It's extraordinarily nice to be proud of yourself!
During this holiday I went out of my comfort zone several times and even if it was hard for me and I always had every reason not to do it, I am very happy that I succeeded. And do you know what I noticed? That if I don't think so much anymore, but act quickly, it's much easier. For example, Anda reminded me that at the end of March I will go to Austria where you are not allowed to climb in the chairlift with the board in hand, but it must be tied to one leg. I tried to go up with her tied to Serbia, but because I didn't master the board very well, I always fell when I got off the chairlift and I was a little scared. Well, this time I said instantly You are right! and I made the decision to make the last climbs of that holiday with the plate tied, especially since I had my friends Anda and Betto with me to support me in case of need. On the first climb I stuck to Betto more, but on the next 3 I really did well on my own. I still have emotions, but at least I tried and now I know I can.
To get here I went on a long journey, but beautiful and full of satisfaction that gave me a boost and energy for the other sectors of life. It is important to do things that charge us.
And I want to urge you to have the courage to try the things you dream of. I want you to look around with your soul and see and surround yourself with people who inspire you, who support you and who create a safe environment in which you can feel comfortable.
Stop thinking so much when you want to get out of your comfort zone because your brain is smart and knows exactly what argument apologies for not doing new things.
Don't be the kind of person who finds a problem for every solution.
And if you are a parent, it may be a good option to expose your children to as many activities as possible so that they become familiar with them, but also to be able to choose what they like best. And think that you can start a new series of activities with your children so that you can make the most of your time together.
And in conclusion, I just want to leave you a comment below that I received last week on Instagram.
Most of the time, it doesn't matter what others say or believe because from such moments you charge yourself with self-confidence, joy, personal satisfaction and self-satisfaction.
Yes, I'm a balloon full of happiness. If you hugged me, I would explode with joy.