FOOLED - Funny or not? I was ANGRY!Mar 08, 2023
Once upon a time a bunch of teenie scout-friends and I rented a little hut near a ski resort in the Swiss alps to spend a week snowboarding, cooking, board gaming and having a great time together.
Midweek, it was stormy, snowy and lots of fog. When we queued at the chairlift, a big bearded older guy with skis commented in English on our snowboards to his friend: “Why do these guys all lost one ski?” I immediately said loudly: “Because it’s more fun!”
Our chair from the chairlift hovered just behind them through the white sky and we started a fun shouting conversation in English through the wind and snow of that day and I offered to proof it to him. Snowboarding is more fun than skiing. He was from New Zealand, I don’t remember his name and he agreed to try it out himself!
We rode down to an ideal spot where the slope was wide and rather flat. I had my screwdriver with me and changed the binding from goofy to regular (goofy = right foot front, regular = left foot front). Back then I had my FIRST own snowboard which I used with my ski boots for ski touring, so I could change the binding to his shoe-size with my screwdriver too. It was a hustle though in the snowfall and wind.
I explained to him, I taught him - he was very talented and learned quickly - all in my rocky school English with a splash of an American accent because when I was 4 years old I went to kindergarten in Iowa city!
It felt exciting, fun, and I was so proud to show this tourist Swiss hospitality and connect with him in my ENGLISH. : )
After about 4 rides - I had to change the binding every time in the beginning back to my shoes and then ride to the ideal learning spot and change it to his shoes again - he could do turns on both sides! That’s quite impressive and he was proud. I was proud. He smiled and told me that he got it now, that “one ski” is as much fun as two skis. He thanked me a thousand times for this experience and I felt like superwoman. Then we parted ways and I rode again with my friends and I didn’t see him anymore.
One of my friends later told me that he saw the NZ-guy again from afar and: “I heard him speaking Swiss German!”
I answered: “Noooo way! We were talking in English all the time! And he has no accent!”
Him: “Well, I can tell you that I just heard him speak Swiss German without any accent too with his friend.”
My heart sunk sooooo deep. REALLY? Like REALLY? Did he fool me all the way? All my ENGLISH effort wasn’t necessary at all? I felt sooooo taken advantage of. I was sooooo ANGRY.
When something like this happens, still to this day I address it right away! No thinking required, no hesitation. Conflicts for me are to be confronted and I’d rather walk through the fire of an uncomfortable situation RIGHT away to the other side than wait one second longer. The relief of a solved conflict is the reward I like to get even though it can be gut wrenching and difficult. That’s a big advantage in relationships of any kind and I’m lucky that Ken is the same. Our fights are immediate and short and no things get stored away ever, because we clean up things at the first occasion.
Well, the beardy guy got away before I could confront him and he could feel my anger and apologize or laugh or whatever would have been his reaction. I just found my scrapbook-entry from that day - it was February 22 in 1995 - and I noted “GEMEIN” which means “soo MEAN” in big letters! I also wrote down that I saw him at the parking lot where we waited for our bus. He slammed the door of his car quickly when he saw me and rode away. (Insert all the swear words you are comfortable with…) I love to swear :) and I called him MANY names to get rid of my anger that evening…
What’s helpful to me in a situation like this to sort out my thoughts is to “collect” the facts which are true to myself:
- I had fun
- I felt important
- I felt accomplished
- He learned to snowboard
- He was nice and fun and kind
- He had fun
- He did this first comment in English so I assumed he was English speaking
- He didn’t particularly lie to me
- I loved to show off my (very rocky) English
- I have a great story in my life resume : )
- OK, no reason to be angry with…let it gooooo…
How would you have handled your anger? You wouldn’t be angry in the first place and laugh it away? What would you have done?
Do you remember a similar situation in your life? This is f*cking 28 years ago and I still remember his one piece snow suit and how his beard was flapping in the wind 😀. Nobody was wearing helmets back then and I was snowboarding in a woolen hippie-sweater (like WHAAT?)
I’m happy that I didn’t stop offering fun activities to strangers… I’ll tell you another story later in the year when I invited two Japanese students I just started to talk to at the trainstation to join me for a mountain cabin stay. Or the story of the Japanese airplane-crew who came for dinner at my parents house…
Sometimes situations like with beardy fake-NZ-guy can lead to closing down, building a wall around the part of you which has child-like spontaneous ideas and you stop doing things like offering snowboard-lessons because you got hurt and disappointed. That’s why my reframe and shaking it off or like Elsa in frozen does it: “Let it goooo…” is so important.
In the Joy Academy there is a whole masterclass about forgiveness with very powerful meditations to cut the energetic cords of memories like this. It could be the kid who always pushed you into the bushes when walking to school? Some kind of bully. A teacher. A relative… whoever still is hanging out in your brain as a stingy memory can get cleaned out!
The other person probably doesn’t even remember the situations you are still suffering in your mind…sooo this forgiveness-effort, you do it for YOU. You give yourself the freedom of cutting the cords to this person and situation. (If you have any question concerning Joy Academy, hit reply on this email, ok!?)
The next time you double think if it’s worth it to do this or that for a stranger, please remember my snowboard story. I think it’s always worth a shot. It makes our world more colorful, playful and joyful. Let’s never stop having fun with that.
IF you get disappointed you have a story to tell AND you made another experience in your life which is way off the ordinary path.
YOU ROCK. I am your biggest fan. Thank you for being here!
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