The Truth in Forgiveness

How does one preface the self made discovery of the accumulation of the previous three years' experiences, to find that the power in forgiveness lies in the hands of the ones you couldn't forgive...

Red wine has become a close friend of mine, my Kiwi host father would be smiling at that admittance while drinking a glass himself, one leg crossed under the other in the comfy leather couch. To my Kiwi host mum, I miss you beyond words can describe, but for honest words' sake, I miss your lasagna the most.

My free time, mentally, is met by a constant conversation with myself, mainly in the art of analyzing and overthinking with a newfound degree of control over the anxiety produced as otherwise a previous by-product. With that, I have been brought to the metaphoric table of life to address why I have been able to find forgiveness in places but more importantly in people, who were in personal consideration, dead to me. 

There is absolute strength in accepting that you forgive someone for what they have done, I am not here to discount that, however I believe that there is a far more pure point of forgiveness that we do not allow ourselves to go to, because it means admitting to our personal weaknesses. Once I was able to accept my role in why a relationship of any demeanor ended and once I was able to physically be around and in contact with them, I realized that that was true forgiveness. 

When you can face the other person and not feel the past of what has happened, when you can lay to rest every emotion that became by-product of the beauty in how a human grows, that is the experience of forgiveness. 

After experiencing heavy, heavy losses of friendships, I eventually came around to viewing these peoples' presence in my life, both positive and negative, as there being a genuine reason for it. I was due to learn something about myself, through another soul. If you really take the time to look at how every relationship has affected you, how it was brought you to where you are now in life as far as what expectations and efforts you are aware of, how could you ever regret it? You're choosing to spend more time figuring out how to lie in a bed with too many sheets when really all you need is pick your favorite. You shouldn't settle for less, you shouldn't treat others dishonestly along the way, and you can find forgiveness in the faces that you once couldn't bare the sight of. 

They'll Choose When...

What a lovely discovery it has been over the weekend to find that Vail: Park City has decided to up and change policies that just a couple months ago they were stubbornly headstrong on not changing. 

This message was shared with the employees at Park City Mountain: 

Dogs - Starting mid April HR has a policy on dogs on property.  If you are a guest you can bring your dog. It should be on a leash. It is up to the hotel if the dog is allowed to stay in the hotel room.  We can ask the guest if the dog is a Service Animal, but we cannot ask for proof or paperwork. We also cannot ask what service the dog provides.  As an employee you cannot bring your dog to work while on the clock. But you can bring your dog when you are off the clock because you are then considered a guest.   If you are an employee and have a service animal bring your paperwork to HR and you are free to bring your animal to work. " 

In March 2018, while employed with Park City Mountain Human Resources, I was written up by a coworker (who wrote me up after petting my dog that day, previous days before that, who kept her kid's skis in my office, and who should have been figuring out how to keep employee housing as an option for one of Vail's biggest resorts). At the time, the policy was no dogs period and if you needed your ESA with you, the four pages of paperwork that needed your medical history dated back to birth, would allow that, only after it was reviewed by the HR Director. Basically, wrap your arm around your neck twice and shove it in a place we don't speak about, and then try to sign the paper they needed.

The above statement, posted and emailed to employees the week of April 9-13, 2018, depicts that IF you are an employee, you just need to bring your ESA certs in and YOU ARE GOOD. 

Here's my thought process: my write-up was made known, I didn't keep it a secret what my own department had done that to me, and with that I began to be approached by other current employees who were bringing their dog(s) to work, with no problems. They would express their shock and secondarily their concern for their own situations, fearing that they too would suffer the same reprimands that were otherwise completely unfair. Then, a recruiter from my HR office adopted a new dog (not a puppy, it was aged beyond the first year by far) and she was keeping it in her office which was conveniently located out of sight from the front doors. After having other coworkers from that office confirm that this was occurring, I brought it up to my supervisor upon which she said "I am not responsible for Hannah". Cool, so with our own HR Director being Hannah's higher up, she was letting her get away with it and essentially looking the other way. 

Since leaving Vail Resorts, I've realized that I spent my whole time fighting things that ACTUALLY had grounds but no one had the courage to step up and work towards a goal that would accomplish respecting what is fundamentally right and wrong. Until the person up top decides it's time for change, no change happens in that company. 

I'm happy that folks will be able to bring their pups to work without fear of losing their jobs.

In case Park City would like to pay attention to any of the other topics that they are currently failing in, please read https://mckenzie-roers.squarespace.com/writing/2018/2/18/evail-the-wrong-going-on (EVail: The Wrong Going On article on this site) for a closer, in depth review about Vail Resorts operations in Park City, Utah.  

Communication, Caring, and Checking-in

A couple of years ago, the bottle that held all of the emotions popped like a rocket and unleashed across my personal life-one of the bigger character flaws that has taken me years to genuinely own up to. 

My involvement on different social media outlets began to produce a strange reaction of people feeling like my activity on these accounts meant that everything was fine, while it eventually led to a stronger disassociation with actual communication between friends and loved ones. I have always been an advocate for keeping the reality of your situation genuine while posting to social media and it has in turn given me the ability to be very open about my life. Although comfortable with how I have chosen to publicize my personal stories, I am learning that your successes and your failures are being measured by people who have chosen to instead read and criticize out of jealousy, lack of knowledge, and an overall unwillingness to have a mature understanding on the matter. 

I watch folks on social media, commenting on accounts of people whom they have never personally met, and wonder how some people can read what they do, with the love that they have, and still not reach out in the name of support. Out of empathy after reading a post written by someone I went to high school with, I chose to email her to express to her that she was not alone, that if she needed it, I was there for her. I never received a response. At first I thought about how rude it was, not even a simple acknowledgement, but then I came to realize that she was choosing to dwell in self pity instead. Some people cry for help that they do not actually want. 

There was one year that saw the worst of my feelings towards owning a Facebook and Instagram; my own family was using these resources as a way of confirming that I was "doing okay". After expressing how infuriating it is to have people assume things about your life, well being, and whereabouts, I found myself struggling to accept how busy life gets. It was easier to blame anyone else for how I was feeling as I was fighting much harder in accepting my role in the two-way street of life. I couldn't comprehend how people could acknowledge what I was struggling with but never reach out to me. It is rooted back from when kids in high school would ask other people about my life. No one ever had the wherewithal or respect to simply just ask me. 

Communication is hard; how embarrassing to say that considering how immediate we can be in contact with someone in today's world. Our presence via the internet is becoming our only way of connection: we text instead of call, we email instead of Skype, we let it go to voicemail every time. I am guilty of all of these practices however when I notice that someone I care about is having a hard time, I do try to personally reach out to them. Maybe that is the reflection of how I would like to be shown love and maybe therefore it is unfair to expect that from others, but it seems to be taking on a trend in today's society. 

The need for daily communication is overrated; most of the time there is not enough that happens day to day that you need to be venting or hearing from your loved ones. I respect people far more when they take days to respond and have substance to share rather than empty words used to fill the bucket of never being alone. 

If someone genuinely loves you, they will reach out to you. Asking someone to love you in the way you need to be loved is even harder. After lashing out at my parents years back for what "friends" are doing to me on a daily basis now, I realized that some people will never come around to wanting to understand how to communicate and connect with you. I'm thankful for the ones that have worked with me to push through these situations and who have genuinely considered how the two-way street actually works. It takes a lot of time and patience, a lot of conversations focused around expressing how you feel, how they feel, and what can be done to move forward in a way that respect both of you. It took months of trial and error with  my parents and from my perspective, I could not love them more for how they have really and truly worked on this with me and how they have shown me that we as humans are indeed capable of continuing to learn how to love someone, even as both parties change over time.

The people that care, will prove it. You shouldn't waste your time on anyone who is not willing to at least willing to give an honest effort. Always remember though, that people come into our lives to help us learn about ourselves; you shouldn't regret their presence or time shared because ultimately they are in and out of your life for a reason. Take it as a lesson and let the water keep flowing under the bridge. 

TGR, The Disappointment of Social Media, Drone "Pilots", and Your Sob Story

I am about one month away from chucking my cell phone into the biggest river I can find; watching it burn out of existence would be too satisfying in knowing where it ended up. 

Where the hell to start with the love/hate relationship....

Teton Gravity Research: what the fuck. This company, this organization, this media group, this whatever you want to call it-it's taking millions of personal humans hands, holding them, and ruining the outdoor world through pleasurable exploitation. When I first saw the Tetons, I thought to myself, oh my god, how could anyone want to ever ruin that? Want to work for TGR: apply if you have no respect for your lifestyle and where it takes place. This media group prides themselves in exploiting the lands we hold sacred, all for the sake of fame and income, income is important. For something that once started as a source of inspiration for folks, has now turned into social media users obsessing over trying so hard to #tgrlivethedream. After coming across an account that was featured on TGR's Instagram, I quickly came to realize why she had been chosen: comfortably proud exploiter. She had posted a photo of multiple locations that, even as a new "local," I was shocked to know she had the disrespect for a place that she claimed to have the upmost respect for. That's when it really hit me: why are people, companies, organizations...anyone with a social media platform that extends beyond their hometown, more interested in getting more attention and "likes" instead of trying harder to protect these places. We become obsessed with a location based off a photograph, the basis of inspiration, however the work put into discovering it has been deescalated into the hands of lazy recreation-ers.  Remember those super cool paper books that were too big to open in the front seat of your car? They have roads plastered all over them AND we have Google Maps to really do some research on where we want to go. You should be inspired to go out and do what you love, not because you need the post or can't think of anything without watching accounts like TGR to know you have a passion about something. Here's where I agree with TGR: film industry. They have unquestionably produced some of the highest quality short films that focus around the outdoor industry's key lifestylers. That's where it ends..... 

Social Media has been a string of disappointments offset by the occasional interaction that leads to the meeting of some of the best souls you would have never found otherwise. Those few and far in betweens are the reason I haven't up and offed myself completely. I cannot be one to say not to pull out your phone to photograph what you want but just as there is responsibility in taking out the trash you brought into a location, you have a responsibility to shut the fuck up. We have our National Parks for a reason; there a lot of people that do not deserve to be recreating the way that they are. Let me REPEAT that: There are a LOT of people that DO NOT DESERVE to be recreating THE WAY that they are. Too rude? I'll stop when I stop picking up forgotten clothing, non-biodegradable trash strewn in places that make absolute no sense, when I stop seeing peoples' initial carved into a live tree or natural landscape; I will stop when I stop hearing drones buzzing above my head in a place that I should be able to hear my own breathing. 

Drones: if 3-D printers couldn't be bought by the average person and they couldn't be used to create weapons, drones would be the worst thing invented and given to the public, affordably. My first question when I hear one, because I always hear it before I ever see it, is why? Why did you need that perspective, why do you need a selfie of your car from a birds eye view? The only footage I have seen and honestly been impressed with were Candide Thorvex's follows and when a drone has been flown straight into a sky of fireworks. But aside from criticizing the perspective drones provide, it's the "pilots" that need the rocks thrown towards. You're being rude, intrusive, and irresponsible. Can you imagine being mid-climb on a wall where you have little opportunity to welcome any distraction and all of the sudden you have a drone buzzing over your shoulder, filming you without permission, with no idea where it came from or who is on the other side of that camera. That happened to a friend of mine that resides peacefully in Moab. I have actually been peeing in a forest when, upon standing up from the bush line, I was looking up to the sky at a drone hanging above my location; I have even had a drone hover while I hiked down trail for five minutes before it rerouted, recording what?! Lastly, you're not a pilot, you are a video game control operator. 

The final rant: social media sob stories. I will be the first to admit that I have chosen to share the majority of my life with the internet, I believe that there are people who appreciate genuine inspiration instead of sponsored versions and therefore opening up your life is all part of the sign-off. There is one particular video spamming the internet right now that every time it ends up on the screen in front of me, I hate it more and more. First reaction when reading: she is just jealous. As much as I would love to be on the road 24/7, I actually do want a job and to be based out of one place, I want a home. Otherwise, nope. I have mulled over this person's story multiple times. How did he videotape himself immediately after "ruining" his life, how did he even pull out a cell phone other than to call someone; how, if you lived in a camper, you know the modern "home on wheels" truck set up that provides you a place to sleep wherever you are, did you fall asleep at the wheel? Did you not get into your car, look at your dog's face, and think about that while you drove? That you had another life to take care of, another life to be responsible for in keeping safe and out of harms way to the best of your ability? You could have pulled over. I could care less about his childhood, the challenges he faced as a teen, and how hard he worked to "rebuild his life" because ultimately, his platform is simply just a plea for undeserved sympathy. Do you know that one of my family members grew up living in a mix of states across the USA because her mother was so out of control and irresponsible that she had to grow up by the age of THIRTEEN and had to figure out her own success without sponsorships?! There are thousands of kids who have had such worse fucking lives, all they dream about is a day without pain, and you lost your dog to a decision you weren't responsible enough to make. 

Driving tired can be as dangerous as being intoxicated. It's illegal to drive under the influence. Alcohol prevents you from making what would otherwise be responsible decision, don't you think being tired has the same effect? Ask anyone who has really pulled an all-nighter. Life is more important than a deadline, or at least it should be. 

Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences below. Thanks. 

 

Reflection + Realization

One week of distraction, one week of raw acceptance, seven days of feeling instead of thinking. There were times that I was searching for words, aloud or from within, I wanted words but I only received emotion. I'll admit now, this post is going to reach into every part of me. 

**

I stopped dreaming on a regular basis a few years ago, not by choice of course, but naturally I was waking to no memory of one. Throughout those few years though the dreams that do make it through into what I feel is my reality, they are powerful, they leave me suddenly awake and drenched in cold sweat, racking my brain to find where it was rooted. Last year, my first trip down to the desert was met by my first night's sleep of a nightmare that I slipped into three times in one evening. This time, as I still try to figure out if this new dream was over the course of two nights or twice in one night, I remembered the feeling more than the lesson. I never reached the lesson. I woke with such sorrow and hurt in my heart as my dream was focused on walking away from my family but wanting them to reach for me, to pull me back, and they wouldn't, they were finally done with me. I was too stubborn to return, I kept fighting and fighting to prove a point (what point?) and to feel from them that they did not want me to leave. 

Both times that I have had these tremendous dreams and experiences, I have had two specific souls that were there for me to help me work through what some of it might mean (Tayler C. you're kind and genuine soul being there the first time, I am forever grateful). This time I was in the comfortable company of someone who has been in my life the longest thus far, excluding family, who was raised in a military family and who I used to steal skate shoes from in middle school because he was so much cooler than me, who has been through just as wild of a roaster coaster in his own way. As we talked, I came around to at least some conclusion that would set my mind at ease; we were raised to depend on our immediate family members, consistently, because they were the only ones that were consistent. Our military based childhoods were met with people always leaving, us trying to figure out how to make our parents stay while not understanding what a deployment was, holding onto friendships with dental floss thin strings, and trying desperately to find our roots throughout life when we finally leave the only lifestyle we've been taught. You develop such an indestructible relationship with your family members that there is fear in separation, fear in autonomy....we begin to realize that we only have each other. My dream was attacking my only set of roots while trying to tell me that no matter how scary it is to go beyond your family, that it is something that needs to happen. 

** 

The word "love"; why is this word so hard to get out when it actually means something? I still have a hard time telling my best friend that I love her as we hang up the phone because I mean it to such depths of my existence. Sometimes it means too much. 

**

For the entirety of the time that I have been extremely aware of my body composition, beginning around fifth-grade and being teased for the hair on my legs still. The first time you shave your legs as a woman is like a huge deal, or at least it was for me and for my mom; she was tearing up and I was terrifyingly excited to see the hair disappear. But the years to follow would have me looking in a mirror at my legs and deciding to wear a pair of jeans in the midst of summer instead. The year that I came to Utah and really started to hike my ass off, I found myself becoming more accepting of my body as well as understanding that I had not been taking care of it to the level at which it was actually demanding. I used to hold the back of my thighs and cry, trying to rip at them for their cellulite and hideous demeanor. A couple of years ago while hiking/playing in a northern Utah forest, I was impulsed to be absorbing the sunshine, the water, the dirt, and the breezes, totally naked. It felt so genuine. There was discomfort at first in feeling your body hang in the wild, my legs felt jiggly and my boobs looked so weird to me, but the more you wiggle around and dance on your toes, the lighter it feels, the more natural you realize it all to be. This time, while down in the desert, I returned to this existence and was introduced to new experiences in bravery. I bathed in the Green River while never being able to visibly see my own two feet and sinking inches into a mud/clay mixture below and I have never enjoyed my time more. The freezing water in my pits, losing my breathe as it touched my scalp, and discovering that I actually probably put more dirt into my hair than was in it before, I was so present, so alive. That feeling is wildly addicting. 

**

I went through a spell recently that had me convinced I could not find peace in being alone, that I had become too accustomed to sharing my presence with another soul that I felt robbed when without it. I had accepted it and tried very hard not to be too hard on myself for coming to this realization. Through time I have found that this was indeed only a brief encounter with a deeply rooted insecurity, as I spend my time now marveling in the freedoms of having to only check-in with my mother. My week in the desert fed my desire to be unattached and instead to be consumed by moments, not reaching for the future or dwelling on the past, but to be present for what was there before me. There is a greater love in being loved from afar, being loved hands-off. There is love in the breeze that carries your hand into another's, there is love in watching what you love, love. 

**

 

Dirty Hairstrands

Sitting in one of the busier cafes in Moab due to both it's popularity and overall awesomeness, I've managed to fill my belly, charge the camera battery, edit photos, and start the new hire process from the desert.

April 1st, Easter Sunday...April Fool's Day; the drive out from the campsite today was matched with the loudest volume of jazz music my car will emit without sounding cheap. Where to begin here....

Arriving in the desert feels like coming home a little bit every time; as I drove into town towards my turnoff for the planned hike, I was reminded of how nice it can be to lose cell service.  The windows can go down comfortably once you get off the highway, the warm and dirt filled breeze starts to fill the car, Zuke's head always makes its way out of the window once we hit 40 mph. We love it. 

Our first hike was a ton of fun; right off the bat we met a couple who was visiting from Wisconsin, got complimented on having a beer in my hand (twice), and had an in-depth conversation about Zuke's breeds. This specific hike offers an interesting route with a dog in tow and as I was lifting Zuke up onto some rocks, I heard my camera lens cap disconnect and start to bounce. Wide-eyed and gasping as I watched it finally come to a stop, I was able to retrieve it without Zuke following me back down (thank GOD). Zuke was almost more popular than the arch for some folks up there; there are definitely some tourists from Ohio that have posed photos with him. But here comes the best part: as we are turning around to hike down, the couple that we had met in the beginning, from Wisconsin, had stopped us. The mom went on to basically more or less set me up with her son, who is currently single and living in Colorado and definitely not present for this hike. It was the most hilarious yet genuinely cute thing that has ever happened to me as I couldn't help but joke with myself, "hell I won't meet someone in a bar...it's going to be me meeting his parents on a hike FIRST". Needless to say, I adopted two (more) parents over the weekend! 

We camped in a familiar spot and awaited the arrival of a long-term friend coming from Northern Utah. The beautiful thing about camping is that you pretty much always wake up with the sun...aka no time wasted. Rising early but enjoying our morning, we got back on the road headed for our next stop near Castle Valley. We hiked around Fisher Towers, mainly marveling at the climbers taking risks larger than life. Soaking in the sun, that was the main attraction. 

Our campsite that night was unplanned and a complete treat; we were nestled at the base of the mountains while overlooking one of the most graceful views I have seen in this area. The sunrise the next morning was unworthy of words, dripping in reds, so astoundingly alive. It was a little hard to leave that spot behind, I will admit. 

Stopping to catch up on life, at the same cafe as I am in now, we scoured the map and dug through Google Earth looking for our next place: we wanted water. Taking a risk due to never being down the road we decided to take, the ten miles of dirt that brought us to a jaw-dropping location. We could not have been blessed with a better spot to spend the next two nights and two days. Trees to hang the hammock and slack-line, we had access to the river and little company to share it with. Camping with dirt roads all around, we took to the bikes and wandered down to the boat ramp where we met a small group just completing their river trip. Drunk on life and beer, the conversation flowed like lava between us and them, chatting more with the 8 year old while their parents strapped down the gear to the car. It was in conversation with this 8 year old that I learned about his fascination with gun power and through a series of questions and inquires from myself, I came to learn something even more profound: he wanted to build them one day. He was more interested in designing them, than shooting them, however his father had taken the time to really pass down that knowledge of usage to his boy to a point that the 8 year old knew how to respect the matter. I laid my head to rest that night thinking about this boy and what he had expressed to me and why it had not bothered me. And then it came to me: this boy had other things to occupy his time with, he was spending time outdoors, he had a way to release energy. My point is that I believe that guns are not the problem, people not having proper outlets, not taking the time to recreate in some way, that is where the problems are being bred. But anyways.... 

On our second day there, waiting for the sun to reach it's hottest point, I took to the river and bathed for my first time in one. This was a huge experience for me; it took me about five minutes of poking around with a stick in the water (from the shore) to make sure there would be no unexpected drops once in the water and then I creeped into it in the most uncomfortable manner. After finding my footing and telling myself over and over again that it was OKAY (even though I couldn't see my feet at all), I bathed. It was magical, in the most relaxed sense, and it forced me to love what I was being offered. The water was ice cold and yet so refreshing. It made it hard to keep clothes on for the rest of our time there as the freedom had become almost addicting. 

This is a sorry excuse for a post, it's more of a scattered-brain recap to keep everyone in the loop of life without cell service. To add and to finish though, the dirty days continue as I plan my trip up North. Stay tuned.... 

 

Reach and You Shall Receive

About 45 minutes into my drive out of Alpine, Wyoming headed back for Utah, I received a voicemail from a Montana number; due to driving the quieter route, my cell service had proven to be spotty and I was slightly relieved that the call had not come through (I hate picking up random, unknown numbers). Playing the voicemail, it was a woman calling from Big Sky Resort about the position I had applied for...two days ago. So, just to give some background here, I have applied to over +80 jobs since March 4th and received only two calls which turned out to be recruiting agencies; even breweries in Colorado were not responding to my hand-written emails of interest. Two days before deciding exactly when to physically leave Wyoming, I decided on a whim to look at some job openings based in Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana. 

Calling them back as soon as I had reliable service, we made an appointment for a Skype interview for Tuesday, March 28th and I excitedly put all my eggs into that basket. Then another Big Sky based company reached out to me, which turned into an hour long phone interview and eventually put me through onto the next round. WHAT? How, after almost a month of so many applications and hearing nothing, was I suddenly hearing from Montana? I could dive into the weird list of how the universe seriously said "hey wake up, this is where you need to be" but I think I'd rather marvel in remembering the moment I handed it all over so that I could be guided. 

I hate asking for help. I am stubborn as hell and it's a sign of weakness as cliche is that comes off. The piece written earlier on "surrendering" was my acceptance in admitting that I needed help. I had rushed up to Wyoming with the mindset of knowing how hard it was going to be but how worth it. Looking back even just this little ways out, I'm coming to more of an understanding that I just needed to gain some independence from Park City, from "home". I had figured out how to make it work up there for the past three years and it was scary leaving that behind to go do it all over again. 

The month in Wyoming was spent more along the Snake River Canyon than the Tetons themselves and Alpine still remains on my list of "Where My Ashes Shall Need To Be Spread"; I learned a lot about myself in a short amount of time. From sobbing my whole drive up the canyon to Jackson every morning for work to sitting in my car outside of the Jackson Animal Hospital on the phone with my parents, cursing the damn world and swearing that I just needed to get out of the mountain towns altogether, I figured out where my happiness flourished and what purpose I was really longing for. 

There were some opportunities that came along that naturally fell through, like a job in Ogden that I felt in my heart I couldn't take or the freelance photographer position based in Southern Utah that would let me live out my little dream of being a desert dirt child. I was split between two different lifestyles and yeah, yes, I totally let the job take over for now. Someone once told me, "if you leave now, it'll be harder to come back in the future, find the balance instead". 

On March 27th, after completing an hour-long Skype interview with Big Sky Resorts, I was contacted less than two hours later with an extended job offer for a full time, year round position with the HR Team. We are due to be in Montana by April 9th (lucky number 9, hey hey). 

In the meantime, Zuke and I are headed down to Moab to go get our desert fill before we return to Old Man Winter up north. If you're in the area, get in contact! 

On the road again....... 

 

Limbo Land and Loving Less

Not staying put (surprise)! Not in terms of leaving where I am right now but I'm still fidgeting: hiking, dog park, job applications, errands, hiking, dog park, job applications. Trying to make a decision to between two very different lifestyles while also trying not to let it drag on for too long because 'tis the joys of unemployment. Sorry-I really don't mean to glamours this time in my life. I'll have it known that I made sure to have enough financials to back me up while I spin out of control (within reason, of course). 

Today was supposed to include a photoshoot but the weather decided against that, however before encountering such, I had decided that we (side note, whenever I refer to "we" it is always in reference to me and Zuke...even if there will be a human companion down the road) were going to hike our favorite dog-friendly hike in Salt Lake City. Having lived at The University of Utah for a semester, I was favorable of the trail that runs from behind Red Butte around the back of the ridge that the more accessible trail is at, to get to The Living Room. Two things: I am seriously out of shape, haha, and it was extremely windy so, at one point I couldn't really control the nose drool. 

My favorite thing about this hike is that you get to a point where the trail "ends" and do not get me wrong, the view is stunning: panoramic glory from a stone seat capturing The Valley, The Great Salt Lake, The Capitol Building, and The Front Range. You can fall in love with the cancerous-air quality city in a skipped breath and increased heartbeat. It's worth stopping for, however, there are far cooler places to sit...you just have to take a few extra steps up the mountain. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 

I collapsed into a smaller room this afternoon while Zuke took a rest just slightly above me on some higher ground (the herding breed in him, the overseer). Snacking on naan and hummus, I was flushed with memories of traveling in New Zealand and how much more casual what I have chosen to do was not as "dirt-baggy" as we sometimes let it seem. Admittedly, living on the road, out of our cars, is far more glamours, admirable, and longed after, nowadays. 

Reflecting while layering back up due to the lovely wind, I am trying to take life slower and with more thought in every hour, with more purpose. For instance, as a notorious five-over-the-limit driver, I have really been attempting to consciously take my time. Less road rage I'll tell ya that much. Also, my gas mileage likes the relaxed pace. There's not a lot of space or time for holding on to things that did not go your way or people that fell out of your life because of it; there's more space for accepting your part in things but understanding that, on the basis of being human, if you needed help, they will pick up every time. I wondered why some people become apart of our life so that in a few years we will know nothing about their whereabouts or well-being again, but it's okay. I want to feel less sorrow for lost relationships and connections and instead view them as lessons in progression and acceptance. Maybe we are meant to meet people multiple times throughout our lives until we are ready to learn how to love them. 

I will admit that I am slightly relishing in growing forward; to me, I do not have a fall-back right now, I only have the ability to move forward from my position. After hiking down from our spot, both tired, I parked the Subaru and popped the trunk to relax. Always cold, I was snuggled in my sleeping bag with Zuke curled up beside me, soundly taking a snooze as the raindrops increased their patter on windows. Moments like this one, you want so badly to hold onto them forever.  

Looking around at the big bin in my car, taking up all it's space, trying to x-ray analyze what more I could eliminate from my life. There is a strong desire to really gut the belongings and I am trying hard to remind myself that I may be potentially returning to a life with a front door. That freedom has been addicting. Thankfully it's been raining to I can't pull the bin out to dig through it (again). It's so much easier to spread love elsewhere when there's less stuff taking it up. One day I'll start my Kindness Rock Project...

To end this post, I'll share my extraordinary experience that took place two Sunday's ago in a super small Southern Utahan town: stopping to fill up the tank for the BLM land we were about to explore, I walked into this hole-in-the-wall store, grabbed a twelve-pack and put it on the counter to be scanned. Being friendly and trying to be polite, I say, to the obviously Mormon man, "oh man, you're the savior! The only place open for miles. We are headed deep into the land." His face dropped as I realized that I had just compared him to god because of beer....HAHAHAHAHA. Trying not to immediately laugh at my own mistake, we exchanged polite thank-yous and off I went! Oh Utah...as Ed Abbey has even said "3.2 beer is just disgraceful". I love this state.... 

Road Thoughts

This morning was an early one, by nature of sharing a twin bed with your medium sized dog who is all but courteous of the space he takes up. Sometimes he is unbearably hard to separate from, especially when he rolls onto his back and throws all four paws into the air in the art of a stretch and gives morning kisses. Ugh, the heartstrings. 

I am settled for the time being, out of the car, and back in familiar territory as not only to ease my mind but to make more serious decisions from here. It has been good for me to return to Park City as often as I have since moving a month ago (HA) simply because it has solidified my thoughts on knowing that I am ready for something different. Resort towns breed a very unique atmosphere, not in a negative sense, there are people that thrive here, but it is unique nonetheless. 

Anyways, so, the highway brings out thought catalog when the traffic stops being stressful and on today's cruise the brain was a'flowin. It's probably important to establish exactly that I am not homeless in the sense that I have hit that kind of rock bottom but more along the lines that I have up and eliminated a financial burden for the time being while I also let my career take the wheel for once (aka I am job hunting hard and willing to relocated on the drop of a dime). I'm also not broke despite the hole burning in the pocket from Zuke's bad encounter. I am living lavishly, no way, just within the means for maybe the first, true time. I do have the support of my family as they understand what soul they brought into this world; I am a free-spirited, emotion-showcasing type of person and by wild thought today, have realized that the more words I'm able to get out onto paper or a post, the quieter my mind becomes on a more regular basis. Self-therapy is what the purpose of the blog is breaking down into But more importantly, they know that I'm figuring it out. Mama raised a courageous gal, maybe not a logical one, but definitely realistic at best. 

First thing: the more you drive around with all of your belongings, having memorized where everything lives within the car, you start to mull over how important some of it is; this morning the Outback was gutted and I repacked the remains after taking out items that totally had sentimental value but...I guess not enough. I'm torn between wanting to make the Subaru totally livable, between trading it in for a van, and between having a front door to walk into every evening. I'll admit, I feel the strongest pulls towards freelancing. Maybe it's selfish but I want as much time with my dog and with the landscapes on this beautiful earth because death is so unknowingly sudden. Sometimes I am wondering what that thought has been guiding my headspace for a couple months now, "you can die literally tomorrow, enjoy it all now". Maybe this blog's coined phrase will be "dwell in the now", but with a positive connotation. So, I got rid of more things and with two thoughts 1) you can always buy a new one 2) it's just a thing, even if it's from your childhood days in Turkey, it's just a thing. 

Second thing: lots of forgiveness and letting go, it's the same feeling as surrendering to the universe, you loose the ability to feel the grudges and to bare the anger that came with every bad memory. Maybe it's a temporary slip on the spectrum but it's so relieving, so liberating. I'm letting it wash over instead of taking it and running with the feeling. 

People, strangers, family and friends, everyone is more friendly. Sure half of it comes with an individuals perceived outlook on life, if I was stressing out as per normal, I would be melting in every bad interaction that's occurred since pulling out of my driveway in Wyoming, but it has not been so. Do I feel brave for doing what I am doing? Maybe, yes okay I do, but only because I never saw myself having the courage to go through with it. I have been slowing trying to convert my Outback without going totally HAM. Even today, I had to stop my brain from going too far with the "live out of your outback kenzie, just do it" thoughts. I want to be a dirtbag hippy, respectfully. 

Did you ever take those personality tests in high school that determined things such as being an extrovert or introvert? INTJ was the first ever combo I received, a test that changes with you as time does, as I know that I am far from the introvert I used to be. My thought with this though is that maybe the folks that you see, freelancing from their vans, maybe that is where the creative, free-spirited, artists folks dwell in happiness. Maybe that is what I have been searching for throughout the years of self discovery, disconnect, and redefinition. Do you know how scary that is to commit to and I am saying that, having already completed 1/4th of that path? 

At what point are we so willing to sacrifice our happiness for wealth and stability? Are you wrong for wanting one over the other? No, never. I do not believe that anyone should feel like they have chosen wrongly because they like their life the way that it is or because they wanted children young or because they pursued a career instead of a family. There's a chance none of this will work out in my favor, there's a chance that I will reach new, lower, lows but I think I would have hated myself more for never knowing because I was too scared to try. Cliche ending, barf. 

Go choose happiness for yourself. 

 

Day One: Ok this is real...

My alarm went off today for the first time this month of March: 6 am. 

The pit in my stomach was more of a small elephant sitting on my chest; it's almost as if my subconsciousness had brewed all night and now I was waking into a state that I did not even get to build up the anxiety to...it's just already there! Not fair. (sarcasm) I laid in bed and stared into the darkness of an unlit room, seriously pondering what I was about to make of my day. The normality of what could have been another rise to another day in the remains of my stability was fleeing fast; the last of everything was gathered and I soaked in hot, steamy water that flowed healthily. Last shower for a couple days, I thought to myself with a smirk. 

Of everything coming from this mid-mid life crisis, I am uncharacteristically calm(er). 

Originally my plan had been to trickle down back in Utah from the north, starting with Flaming Gorge, but a text message the night prior to my departure suggested a better option. Instead, I got to ride a mountain I have never skied at before with two friends from middle school, who I had not ridden with since our hot lap days on our home mountain in Italy. The hospitality extended towards me as been of the upmost generosity as I ended up getting to sleep in a warm house in a far more comfortable bed than my Outback. 

I'm not going to lie, I felt pretty conflicted at first, in deciding to go with the option that was going to cost me a little extra money. There was some guilt to taking a day for myself until a job called to offer an interview time and I figured out that I was using what would have been gas funds, for something a little more worthwhile. 

Lastly, I was dreading having to speak to my mom today to the point that I was hoping her day bad been too busy to consider the whereabouts of mine. Why? Because sometimes I'm embarrassed to give her the update on my life, sometimes I'm not wanting to try to justify my choices or decisions, and sometimes it's not worth the disagreement. I mean to bring this up gently, because I have lived my entire life trying to figure out how to make my parents happy by their standards while trying to figure out how I want to be happy at the same time. I've learned that it is okay to be different from them, to want different things; ultimately they are not going to be the reason as to why you do or do not get that job, because they are not you. Once I finally figured that out, that I finally figured out that I was the only person who was going to get myself to where I needed to be, I have honestly felt liberated. 

It's hard to write that, especially having such supportive parents who provided a very kush childhood and who have gone beyond their measures to help throughout the years of bad choices, mistakes, and big changes. It is not a question of appreciation, far from it as I have the upmost, but you need to sit back and analyze who you are living for, who's standards are you abiding by? Really and truly. You'll answer strongly at first but keep asking yourself that question and it will break you down.

This practice, of repeating a question to myself, it has been both torture and delightful entanglement; I was introduced to the method through a podcast one day and thought it was silly, redundant, and otherwise unsuccessful, until I tried it. Instead of writing it down, as I already write enough things down, I decided to let it play like a broken record in my mind. So on my most recent drive from Park City to Wyoming, in the midst of just having quit my only remaining job, I was pressing repeat on the question, "what do you need and where do you need to be?" I was fighting pretty hard at first, for my answer to be Wyoming, and to not bore you to tears about how many internal discussions I had, I was being drawn to Colorado more and more. That is what sparked the idea to move again-I wanted to get a career in the works but I wanted to stay in The Rockies. 

So today, the first real day of it all, has been welcomed warmly. I have definitely had a few solid waves of "holy OH MY GOD" but ultimately something is putting me on this journey for a reason. Maybe I needed a real reason to write. Maybe I need to actually spend time finding myself. All I know (now) is that it's finally up to the universe and for me to learn everything I can from this experience.  

We're headed to the Salt Lake area until further notice! Stay tuned for the crazy....

Ride The Waves You Create

Okay as much as I would like to pretend that I did not put myself into this situation...here I am. 

In terms of dealing with it all, that's where I've decided "alright, might as well document this chaos for something to laugh at one day" and to more or less create a personal reference for me to know how to cope in the future *smiley face* 

1) Embrace the Waves: you started this one girl, like the Moon, you are creating tides big enough to swallow you whole but for whatever reason you're still afloat on that excuse of a paddle board. *Pausing for a moment of self reflection....I fucking hate water, how is this coming to me?!* It's the motions, it's the build up and the crash, it's the breath of air that you're still here. 

2) Do More of What Makes You Happy: the worst, best piece of advice when you're in the midst of all the turmoil or your mid-mid life crisis (age twenty-four approx.) but seriously, do more of what makes you happy. It can even be done on a budget, trust me, my painting set up includes an old pair of (clean) panties and a Talenti coconut almond container as my water cup and paint lid. *Sidenote, Talenti icecream is not only amazing but their containers are so reusable that you have zero excuse to not upcycle them or at least recycle them.* Go in search of the moments where you are so distracted that you're finally free from thinking about all the doom and worry. 

3) Save Yo Money, Be Frugal: I actually used to be way better at not spending unnecessary money when I was living off of the parental nip so it has been a disappointing discovery that while I am now financially independent, I love food. I also love good food, like the organic, break your bank trying to take care of yourself food. Don't go out to eat, and yes unfortunately that means a lot of declines to invites; think of yourself as already being broke, ya know, just in case. It's really easy to buy ten bucks worth of crap food versus a select few, thought-out food items. Avocados are surprisingly versatile (says the white girl). 

4) Keep Pushing Forward: yes, the world on some days seems to be giving you both middle fingers with no regard to your emotional well-being, and I am here to say that it's okay to cry (maybe not as often as I do but) and that even if the days don't seem to get better, there is definitely something good in each day. Don't let yourself settle for "this is how it is". Write the lists, do the research, create the spreadsheets, and get yourself where you need to be. My mom keeps calling me saying, "I can't believe there's so much unemployment in America, I'm seeing a ton of jobs" while I stare at the list of ten jobs I applied to that day wondering if I will hear back from at least one of the ten from the lists created everyday for the past five days. 

5) Accept That This Takes Time: steady going from here, there's no need to rush things. At this point, there is grace in patience, and no matter how many job applications you fill out, you fill out more the next day, you fill them out until you hear the words, "we'd like to hire you". Know that it is okay to settle while you still search. If you had the balls to do this in the first place, you better know that you have them to help you see this through. You can be stronger than your mistakes and left turns in life. 

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There are days where I wake up fighting everything I have done to the stability of my life, wondering why I decided not to settle for just any job anymore, trying to figure out where that mentality woke up from. There have been a lot of internal arguments of knowing that I have worked the low end jobs and deserve something better by now but also wondering why I deserve that. I thought good karma would have distributed it's wealth by now, but I still have lessons to learn apparently. 

I'm going to try to actually commit myself to this blog (finally) instead of it being just another dumping ground for creative expression. In the meantime, I'll be packing my things and figuring out the next part of the plan. 

Surrendering

I will start by saying that I thought that I had hit the sort of rock bottom that I would hit for my twenties, naivety is beautiful isn't it? 

When January started with having to replace not just one tire, but all four tires on my car, I thought "tough battles right off the bat, okay". Then Zuke, my dog, was attacked in February two days before we were due to move from Utah to Wyoming. One emergency vet visit in Utah, "okay that horror is over". Moving day was met with the warning for dangerous incoming winter conditions and while the Subaru collected literal pounds of ice in it's wheel wells and on the hitch, my lap collected my continuous flow of tears. Accomplishing the scariest drive I have ever had the pleasure of enduring, I then became conditioned over the next week due to having to drive a canyon to work daily. Three days into being moved up to Wyoming, another emergency vet visit is required and Zuke's recovery is pushed back by another two weeks while I am discovering that the job I was offered and relocated for, I was not actually being given/trained for. 

Coming to this realization, I confront and ask for an explanation upon which I am met with, "well, we can have you work into that position". Slightly dumbfounded by how a business can hire someone into a specific position and then not actually put them in it, I lowered my hours to part time in the hopes that I could find a better job elsewhere. Spinning with no sense of direction after having left a dream job in Utah for a dream location in Wyoming, I took a regrettable position out of panic. By the end of February I had quit my first job. By the first shift of my new one, I had quit my second job. On March 8 I was officially unemployed. 

What the fuck was going on. 

The day I quit my only job, no longer embarrassed about crying in public, I sobbed while pumping gas into my car in Jackson Facetiming my father. I couldn't believe that I had graduated college and that here I was. The last two years of my degree, I held jobs that pertained to it, until the Fall of 2017 when I changed pace. I had not even tried to look at jobs in my field because I felt like I had dead-ended there too. I've struggled with needing purpose in my work, in that it's hard to settle for just any job at this point (what is this some kind of first world privilege, christ almighty I suck). 

My point: I first felt myself letting go of the control over parts of this year (already) on the 45 minute long drives that I was doing twice a day to and from work. It was a surrender, a hand over of "I'm not doing this right so help me" type of feeling. It's crippling in that it makes you feel so weak and vulnerable. Strong descriptors but that was the genuine overtone of accepting that maybe this was not my time to be here, that maybe I had rushed this, and that maybe it was time to really, critically analyze myself and what I wanted in life. There's been comfort in having the time to spend on resumes, cover letters, and searching out new jobs simply because I'm obsessed with watching my dog grow and interact; I'm relishing in the time that I have now, knowing that the changes that I want for us will be none other than big. 

Wish us luck. 

"EVAIL": The Wrong Going On

* Warning: the information that you are about to read has sensitive materiel and has been accumulated based off of personal experiences over the past 3 years with Vail Resorts in Park City, Utah; the opinions expressed are backed by both actions/lack of action taken throughout those years * 

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Backstory: I began working for Vail in 2014 as a rental tech, however I technically worked for The Canyons Resort as the transition of both mountains had not yet been implemented. For that summer, I worked as a zip tour guide as well as a summer lift operator that moved into winter operations for the 14/15 winter season. In 2015 I took a job within retail for the company finishing that season with no intent to return to Vail again. However, in 2017 due to a large job demand coming from the company in Park City, I chose to take a human resources position in the hopes of staying with the company long term. 

After speaking on the phone with Emma from Corporate's Employee Investigations Team, I believe that these issues need to be, at least, made public and brought to the attention of the two people who are responsible for this resort, as Corporate chose to focus solely on only the sexual harassment piece of this write up. The phone call was not recorded nor was there intention to do so even after I asked how this conversation would be fully documented; the response that I was given was that she would be taking notes personally while we spoke. By the end of the phone call it was very clear why this had been set up: she wanted to make sure I did not have the grounds to sue the company; when I asked her what was going to be done with this information, she responded by saying "it will be going on file". My response? Publicity. 

So here it is:

Part I: Vail Resorts, The Buyout, and Corporate Flaws  

Lack of consideration for employees in general. Our guests are treated far better than our employees who are working tirelessly to operate the mountain for said guests for a dismal wage. Not only that, our lovely CEO, Rob Katz, loves to dump money into the pockets of the politicians that absolutely don't believe in climate change yet we have set a Zero Emissions Goal for the 2020's. 

Pay: Employees do not receive holiday pay even though we work straight through the holidays with little or no schedule change; we were just able to post a competitive wage for our lift operators for the first time this 17/18 season because they have been underpaid compared to our neighboring resorts. My personal position goes for 15.00/hour starting, outside of Vail Resorts but in Park City, and due to the demand of this one, full time, position with the company, I was unable to take on a second job within the community. 

Meals: Black out meal times for employees – some of us only have the food at our work to eat and being asked to skip a meal due to our guest service does not seem reasonable. Resort food is entirely too expensive as is and either way Vail is making money regardless of who is purchasing. Guests visiting this mountain, or any Vail Resort for that matter, should be aware of the choice they made by coming to a corporate ran ski mountain and that they should expect lines and a higher volume of traffic on a daily basis.

Customer Service: At the Grand Summit Fast Tracks café I was waiting behind two guests for 15 minutes and once they completed their orders and were served and it was finally my time to order, the barista took my order only to have a new guest walk up behind me AFTER the barista had taken my order, upon which the barista said “I am sorry but the guest has priority”. I agree with this attitude but not in this circumstance-that kind of “customer service” is eye opening and it was blatantly demeaning as a human.

Parking: The PC base area lot is filled with ice that the attendants do nothing obvious to make it safe for even the guests. I had one attendant tell me “you may want to park elsewhere as we have had cars slipping throughout the day” on 01/10/2018. You would think that after three years of the official turn over, we would have a parking under control by now like a parking garage or a lot that can actually handle the high volume of guests visiting. Vail also has contracted their employees third party to work for the Parking Department, so any of the folks you see in the PC lot standing in an orange vest do not actually work primarily for Vail Resorts. Lastly, my biggest question is how does one of the parking managers have two DUI’s on record, one resulting in a suspension of his license for a period of time in Summit County, and is still in charge not only of all vehicles on property but also gets to drive company ones? Not afraid to call you out Josh, tenure at a company shouldn't mean running through the ranks unscathed by the same rules. Plus, I'm pretty sure that is a considerable liability for Vail. 

Housing: Vail is robbing it’s employees through Employee Housing by charging an employee a comparable amount of rent to live with a roommate where instead the employee can rent a whole room outside of the Employee Housing agreement for the same price. I have heard this complaint from many employees, many of which who have left employee housing already due to this fact. The retaliation response from the company: that costs covers all that is provided. There is also extremely limited transportation options for employees from the housing area, including options to obtain food from a grocery store on a regular basis, which comes off as a large irresponsibility on Vail’s part in buying a resort in a town that was not equipped to handle it. Beyond that, the employee housing that was set up was birthed just a couple weeks prior to the mountain's opening day and therefore there was little advertisement done; recruiters who traveled to foreign countries this summer did not even have that information to give to prospective J1 or H2B workers. The review for Employee Housing in terms of being successful/not successful is being based on this Winter 17/18 season in which almost no one knew about this housing option. To add, the housing established for employees is not even in Park City, instead it is in a town called Heber City that sits 15-20 minutes away from Park City and has no public transportation available aka no bus system. It's an extremely limiting location for an resort worker who comes here without personal transportation. 

Business Partners: *Business Partners are employees who are technically third party from Vail so as to provide both employees and managers with a place/person to discuss work related issues* When I was employed with Vail Park City as a Zip Tour Guide/Lift Operator for the 14/15 summer into winter season, Simon McFarren dropped his hand down my back all the way to my buttocks in a sexual enough manner that I was made immediately uncomfortable around him permanently. It took until the winter of that year for me to have the guts to go talk to a business partner about it because I myself was raped at the age of sixteen and I did not want to talk to the lift department about it as I knew nothing would get done. After stopping by the HR office one day, Nikki Kendrick sat down and met with me formally but nothing, literally nothing was done about it. There was no follow-through on the issue, zero consideration for the PTSD it triggered. It was the reason why I said I would never take another job with Vail Resorts after that season. Now we work in the same department. In early January 2018, I informed my supervisor of the above incidents and now as the beginning of February has come, I have not received any follow through on even that conversation, after I made it clear that I wanted Nikki Kendrick to explain to me why she never did anything. The lack of follow through made me feel uncomfortable to the point that when harassed at my workplace on 01/30/2018 by a male employee, I chose to go straight to Public Safety with my concerns as I did not feel like I would have been taken seriously enough by my supervisor or a Business Partner. 

Employee Benefits: The number one complaint that comes through the HR office at Park City when it comes to employee benefits: "no more buddy passes, Powder Corps used to give us full comp buddy passes". Our system here with Vail works in a way that you only receive full comp passes if you are Year Round Full Time, 25 years lifetime status, or you are season full time with Vail for +5 years aka you have to work for Vail for over 5 years to earn your privileges. Health insurance? You need to be year round or seasonally full time, but here's the catch, you have to meet the 750 hours of service with the company before you quality for health insurance. 750 hours roughly plays out to be a full winter season, so employees go one whole season without being offered health insurance. Most places cap around 90 days of commitment needed before being offered insurance. 

Child Care Options: Employees who have children are not guaranteed child care, especially during peak times, but are expected to be at work regardless. There are hardly any  usable outside options that have been made available to employees so that they actually do have alternatives. Besides children, there are employees that have living, breathing souls to take care of, such as dogs, but we are not paid enough to use our options so that we can leave them for an 8-10 hour work day. There are multiple employees that I know of personally who have to bring their dog into work with them which actually means that the animal sits in the said employee’s vehicle for the day. “Find someone else to help you, can’t your roommate do it, what about a kennel” are not available options for most; most employees are coming from The Valley for work and most employees barely get a solid enough lunch break to attend to their pets. Then, I have employees coming in to my office blatantly confirming that there are other employees that work for this resort that bring their dogs into their offices/workplaces with them.

HR Department: For everything that the HR department does for the resort, for managers and supervisors, for employees and their dependents and even guests, you would think that we would get a strong pat on the back more often. Instead we get more complaints, more bad attitudes, and more sub-par treatment from the people we work every day alongside. Of every employee that we helped onboard and hire there was only one individual that came back in to thank us for our time and work; that day was in late November after one of our busiest Check-In Sessions for the 17/18 Season. We had to beg other departments to send volunteers for Check-In sessions and only two departments showed consistent support/help: Golf and Ski School. We have well over 10 departments at this resort. 9 out of 10 employees that walk into our offices do not say “please” or “thank you”. 

HR Office at Park City: On a weekly basis we have individuals that have come into the office, located in a basement, claiming that they smell something “gas or chemical or electrical” going on. Our office is also the location of the sprinkler control valve room which has a compressor that turns on at random during business hours and creates such a loud noise that you are not able to communicate for 1-2 minutes. Employees complain that they can “never find the HR office on this side” and half of the people we see are for Ski School who then get frustrated because they are lost in this base area. Employees are constantly saying, “you would think that HR would be more accessible or at least have a window”.  

Maybe I have taken these discussed items too personally however I strongly believe that my concerns and complaints are an accurate depiction as to what it is actually like to work for a resort that under pays its employees and does very little to address their needs. I am in full understanding that a company this large has a harder time tending to the specific needs of its employees and I am sure that everything discussed will be swept back under the rug as I am sure these issues are not to be deemed as worthy enough of discussion. I do know for a fact that I am not the only one who feels this way but I am one of the few that is taking the time to warn you that Vail Resorts needs to change if they want employees to return each season.

To end, I more or less just wanted, in writing, my exact reasons for leaving and so that some of these specific instances can be documented in the hopes that Vail Resorts actually cares in some way, shape, or form.

We may just be another number to the company but we are all still human beings.

Part II - The Community, The Locals, Park City

Where do we begin? Shall we touch on summer that Vail had it's greedy sights set on owning the name "Park City" so that anyone using the town's name, the given name of this beautiful place before Vail ever existed, would have to pay to license it from Vail. I'll always be proud of the folks who took to our hill in town and added a white "TM" next to our big white "PC" letters. Locals are losing their town; sure you can argue that Sundance was always going to populate this location however Utah was never on the radar the way that it is now. Park City was not built to handle the influx that Vail has brought upon the town. Local shops are losing their benefits with each passing year, being forced to either comply or stand completely on their own. 

Vail wants total control, period. They will write in a new rule for the mountain right in front of your face if they do not agree with you or what you are trying to do; if you speak to management you get turned around by someone sitting behind a desk who pushes more paper than snow. 

What happened to the ski culture that we all loved? When did our free time need to become so regulated? When did spending your own hard earned money on a season pass mean that it can be pulled at the drop of a dime for any given reason - or more just because you pissed someone off. You end up watching your back on mountain instead of enjoying your day. My theory: Vail is advertising and appealing to a part of the population in the world that does not ski for any other reason than vacation; guests therefore hold a high expectation for what Vail promises they will experience but show up to a mountain that has horrid snow conditions and overpopulated slopes. Even when the season is strong in snowfall for the resorts, there are no caps for the ski mountains owned by Vail so you are bound to be skiing with thousands of people at any resort location. 

The only positive that Vail brought upon the town this winter was an increase in business locally due to the snow conditions (or lack thereof). This season, Park City's Main Street businesses saw a huge jump in success as more guests who had booked their trip to Park City a year out with the expectation of skiing powder are taking their funds to places that Vail can't make a dime off of. 

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If you have had any sort of experience with Vail Resorts that you want to share, feel free to comment on this post. This company is money driven while making sure no one gets in their way. Stay supporting your local community Park City, our mountain may be owned but the town isn't. 

The Overthinker of Happiness

Scribbled at the top of a page in a notebook is written, "what is happy to you" followed by a collection of responses, in different inks and velocities, some legible and some more of a drawing than letters; it's a sleepy dog laying on the floor next to me, the sounds of a crackling fire, counting the stars with no memory of what number I started on or stopped with; it's watching the life you're raising figure out the world around them, feeling your mind go empty with thought because it's lost in the moment of being instead; it's flipping through maps, looking at old photos, dreaming about the next spot the sleeping bag will get to experience air again. It's knowing that it's right here with me at all times but teaching me that if it was holding my hand I wouldn't understand how uniquely beautiful the feeling can be. 

. . . . . . 

We like to use each other as our collecting buckets to dump our burdens but forget to acknowledge our sincerity in connection to one another. Put down the buckets that do nothing but fill, continue to pick up the ones that keep letting the wind take their sand and lighten their weight. You don't deserve to carry buckets for those who seek only to fill them. 

. . . . . .

I think that good things come to an end because good people stop working towards them; that we search too hard to find a way to forgive others when really we just need to forgive ourselves; that we set high expectations but hold no standards. I think it's time to look deeper inside for happiness rather than in stretched thin surroundings. 

. . . . . .

Be the good you want to find in someone else. 

 

8 Year Anniversary

A warm summer breeze

as you pulled my pants 

down past my knees. 

 

Why was this happening, 

why did he choose me?

 

I could feel the words I was speaking

but I knew that

if I couldn't hear them, 

neither did you. 

 

My hands tried once, 

to convince you otherwise, 

but your strength reminded me, 

that you had already decided. 

 

Shaking with disbelief, 

you left me to what little dignity

I still possessed, 

walking away with a part of me

that was never meant for you. 

 

A warm summer breeze, 

as I pulled my pants, 

back up past my knees. 

 

- june 2010 

Lack of Genuine

There are days, times, specific situations, even people, that have made me aware of how we can be so removed from how we are making others feel. 

So often the thought of self pity strikes, the "why me" questioning to the universe, and thinking that no one is as genuine as they portray. It's easy to get stuck here, in the realm of blaming others' for our current state or mood. I am all too guilty of letting others' actions have a personal affect on my outlook and it can change within minutes. 

From what I have gathered, mainly from being single, is that most of us are not actually interested in a real connection, just temporary ones. We are fixated on what will come next, we put our door stoppers in our back pocket just in case the door we actually want to open, opens. Subconsciously, we like to watch others endure a hurt that we deem to be too good for our own selves. I think that we forget how human the next person is, we just write individuals off as "crazy" or "complacent" when really it boils down to "it was not a good match". 

I speak in terms of plurality because it would be unjust of me to wrongfully say that everyone but myself conveys these types of inconsiderations; I myself am guilty of only participating in an interaction if I know that I am due to benefit in some way. Maybe we do not always know the other persons' story. 

The hardest pill to swallow has been trying to understand when someone who you want, does not want you back. It's the vicious game that so, well, too many, of us play with each other, whether it's out self protection or genuine unawareness. Sometimes the frustration of trying to create a life amongst such individualistic souls is disheartening because you come down to very little meaningful interactions on a consistent basis. 

I have a hard time understanding why we have a favor in dragging out things that could have otherwise seen a shorter existence with less harm done.

Sometimes I think that we love to build others up so that we can quietly watch as they take their fall. 

2017: Recap

The Recap...

January is always the start of a new year but this year's January actually was my fresh start, the first chapter if you will, of a book that needed the last chapter to be burned out. Spending the first week still at home in Italy, the year really started on the ninth when I had flown back to the US to begin my internship in Bellingham, Washington. Due to perfect timing, I had chosen to take an internship out of state and in a location where I was hoping to make my next permanent move to, so that I could really give myself the legitimate chance to start over. I lived in a beautiful home with two outdoor kitties while their parents traveled for three months, I rode an old, old, old mountain bike around town every chance that I could and spent more time being wet than dry; I also met some outstanding BMX riders who had blown my mind with their handwork and dedication to their private trails all the while having less and less of a good time at my internship and making plans to return to Utah. January marked the last of my therapy sessions too although I probably could have seen my therapist in Italy for the rest of my life...phenomenal individual.   I was thankful for how much my family reached out to help me and for the lengths that they went to in making me feel okay again.

February was rough; by the third week in January I had already created a countdown for when I would be leaving Washington and going back to Utah...basically I was miserable. I hardly saw the sun most days, "it's raining" had the potential to mean like five different things, and I was so over having an up-the-back mud splatter lining my back after every ride. Valentine's Day was spent with a box of personal chocolates and a nice pre-roll in the legal state.

March was my month of hope, well okay let's be honest here, March is unquestionably my favorite month simply because it's my birth month, but this year it was the month that would be my last in the Pacific Northwest. Birthday donuts on the fourteenth to ring in twenty-three years of waking up everyday (thankfully). All I could do was pray that each day would go by faster than the previous one. I would begin to organize and pack and throw out things in preparation for Utah because I was beyond ready to get out. The second to last week of March, I finally worked up the courage to ask my supervisor if I could return home two weeks early due to a lack of work provided and my personal state. Luckily, he found very little argument in letting me do so and on April 1st at 4:30 am I locked my bikes to my car and got on the highway headed back to Salt Lake City.

April was a whirlwind of gratitude and disappointment; the morning after I had arrived back in Salt Lake, I took my bike and went straight to the foothills of the valley to spin my tires in chalky, dry, nasty dirty. Living at sea level had ruined my everything but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, with the sun shining so bright, beating down on my face, shoulders and back...I was finally home. I began to really soak up this second chance I was getting in Utah. I even got a powder day on the nineteenth at Park City! I was also prescribed new medication for my anxiety during this month that would require a daily intake. After the first dosing, I was laying in bed by 5:30 that night flat on my side, staring effortlessly at the blank wall, thinking about how badly I wanted to run myself into a brick wall. That was the exact moment that I actually got a hold of my anxiety for once, either the pills would kill me or I was going to fight my way back to normality. Then the friendship that so graciously took me in and let me get back on my feet in Utah turned sour quick due to conflict of interests. It gave me the kick I needed to get moved back up to Park City though and I got a job with a local landscaping crew and moved into my new condo.

Halfway there...May was the beginning of "too hot"; the temperatures just kept climbing with each passing week, my lame shoulder finally  gained proper strength back to the point that it was running better than my uninjured shoulder. I was having a blast working for the landscaping crew (two of my coworkers were professional snowboarders that I didn't know I was working with till two months in) and I was riding my bike every chance I could get. My parents flew out from Italy to come attend my college graduation on Cinco De Mayo from The University of Utah which was the biggest relief of my life (graduating that is...).  It was a month of happy existence, summer drinks and warm temperatures.

June and July get to be placed together because of their high insignificance: June 2017 marked 7 years since my rape. I had to leave my job as a landscaper due to medical insurance coverage and instead took a job as a busser for a supposedly high-end distillery. Underpaid, overworked, and crying on the way home almost every night from work, I was getting into a horrible routine of eating badly and seeing my ex again. The toxicity was building again and I was feeding it the sugar it wanted.

By the time August hit, I was reaching my wits end and began looking and applying to new jobs. The stress was coming from needing a ski pass but not having the funds to pay outright for one but also needing a job that paid well and that included insurance. It was at the end of the month, after so many job applications and call backs and interviews that I finally decided to accept a job with the one company I swore I would never return to: Vail Resorts.

September was hands down the most important month of my life thus far: on September ninth, my eleven-year old family dog was hit by a car outside of our home in Italy hours before I was due to pick up my newly adopted ten-week old puppy. My morning began in hysteria, I thought that I was losing my childhood dog thousands of miles away and it was making me rethink whether or not I needed to be adopting one myself. After a few hours and an ER visit, my dog went home with lots of medication but little internal damage done. It was the luckiest situation that we could have received with how she had been hit. By that afternoon, after the chaos had settled, I got the call that Zuke (who was then Wolfman) was ready to be picked up and within minutes he was in my front seat making his first potty. Two weeks later,  I began my job as a Human Resources Assistant to Park City Mountain with no idea of what to expect other than "two months of training then you'll be running your own office". It was the best training I had ever received in a workplace and after week four, everything clicked. I felt like I had finally found my niche.

October was consumed with work, quitting my second job, potty training a puppy, and losing any personal free-time I thought I would still have. Adopting Zuke placed a heavy guilt trip on my life in the sense that I felt like I couldn't spend any time away from him because it wouldn't be fair to him. Crazy dog mom, I know. For Halloween, Zuke was a Ty Beanie Baby while mom had a healthy amount to celebrate with.

When November rolled around, I was pretty dead set on trying to work that day so that I could avoid the feeling of being away from family on the holidays. This was the first year that I would not be flying home for Christmas nor seeing anyone for Thanksgiving-it was admittedly a little strange. With a half day of work under our belts, we were fed a pretty nice employee thanksgiving meal which more or less made up for the missed home-cooked meal and then I got the text from my mom: "we are coming to you for Christmas".

They say that the things we have to wait the longest for are the best reward, so here's December: I met someone who is changing every prior notion I had about men, about relationships, and about how I deserve to be treated in such a positive way that I'm having to remind myself to calm the hell down for once; my little brother flew in and we got to take a trip down to Southern Utah to see the land that our government is signing away with ease; the remainder of my family arrived just in time for not only the holidays but the best snowstorms we've seen this season so far; the Temple Christmas Lights have become an annual season traditional for myself and this year was Zuki's first year; the Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo were disturbingly awesome (I hate zoos) but the lights were really well done. The best part about this month though has been Zuke's pure, unscripted joy for snow; that little boy's happiness has become my own. He has been the dog that I had always dreamed about: gives free kisses always, has never growled once, and has never started a fight with another soul. The number one thing I hear from strangers is "look how happy your pup is".

I sort of have this thing where I believe that my birthday marks the theme for the year ahead; my twenty-third's was expect disappointment as nothing will go as planned. I was carrying that with me since March 14th, it lingering behind every failed friendship or plan. But as this year comes to a close, I am okay with all that did not go as planned, because ultimately I am in a better place than I was a year ago and that is the most important part of this year. I'll admit that I am still taking the time to forgive the one who hurt me and robbed me of my first dog, that I am still working through the worst parts of my anxiety and how it chooses to manifest itself, and that I am still working on being a better person. This life takes patience but there is an everlasting beauty in that very process and I'm finally giving myself over to it.

Here's to 2018: write a book, upgrade the camera, move or convert the car. 

A Year Ago

Woke this morning to the memories, woke last night to the nightmares.

A year ago, this time frame, I had thrown myself into fourth gear and was racing downhill fast. My anxiety had come full out of its shell but I was still in a world of misunderstood emotions and reactions to know that my genetic biology was taking over.

The memories....

the screaming matches with ex-roommates about their slop of a lifestyle, the nights I spent running to my car and driving as fast as I could to anywhere but there, calling anyone who would pick up and hysterically sobbing; "get out, you need to get out" I know but I can't. The memory of waking up strapped to a gurney, of having just woke up from what felt like days of sleep mentally but that a train had hit me physically.

I was drowning a year ago. My mother was frantically looking for plane tickets to send me back east to family while I came out of yet another therapy appointment; I couldn't grab ahold of my life. When I did spend time back east my mind was still wandering and bruised, I was searching for help but yearning to go home to a home I no longer had for myself.

I remember sitting in a hotel room in Washington State while my mother ran errands on her short stint in the united states to pick up her useless daughter, me, and I laid, crying and trying to hold onto myself as tight as I possibly could-I wanted a fix, I wanted to be fixed but I couldn't take the pills they had prescribed me.  A tug of war that landed me tied up in the rope instead.

Sometimes I am at a loss for whether or not I helped myself in healing by learning and giving into the power of forgiveness; with my usual habit of dropping people and running, I chose to stay and endure and with me being a year out, I sometimes think if I would have been further in my healing if I had pushed on and left the past in the past.

I write to remember, more than anything. I choose to remember because I want to learn.

Woof

The day that I brought home what would be my whole world, I sobbed into the fur of his little body until I felt the detachment happen.

Suddenly, looking down at my new puppy, I was removed, cold, and so incredibly disassociated to the experience. He laid there, breathing his little breaths, and I felt nothing, as tears streamed down my face. I was terrified. What had I just done.....?

Numerous thoughts raced: what if you can't give him the life he deserves, what if he hates you, what if he is unhappy, what if he wishes he got adopted by someone else...I am never having a real, live, human child.

Adopting Züke gave me an anxiety attack on night number one, no actual joke.

Luckily due to the universes' timing, I adopted him in the midst of transitioning jobs aka not working aka shouldn't have dropped the money on a new life. But I did. I wanted a new puppy the day that my ex took my first dog from me. Why on earth was I having a meltdown over something that I thought and yearned for every day. When I was living in Washington, I literally said aloud one time, "life is going to be so much better when I have a dog".

I was right, as I have learned.

As I write this, Züke is laying around my sitting body like a fanny pack, twitching from his dreams. It's moments like these that have made it all so very worth it. I lost sleep the first few weeks due to potty training and his overall cuteness (he lies on his back with his legs in the air) and then came crate training which ripped my soul out and still does even though he likes his crate now.

When I am driving, he will sit shotgun and curl up with his head resting on the console, staring up at me in a way that melts me. He will give in so hard to the perfect ear rub at just the right time and he wakes me up with kisses when my alarm sounds. He is the best little guy that I could have ever asked for in a dog.

I used to think, "I hope knows how much I am sacrificing for him" because I honestly felt like I had just shut the door on my social life, especially after coming from the restaurant industry with a negative taste. Friends would hit me up to do things but I couldn't commit because I couldn't just find a sitter for a dog that barely even knew me yet or I couldn't just bring him to random, new environments and I felt like I had made a choice.

I never felt resentful, just sad sometimes.

I speak about this because it has been amazing, all of the reminders that he has given me, even though it's only been two months. He impresses me every day in a new way and admittedly he still disappoints me on the occasion; for me, for my life, he gives me the same joy and satisfaction as having a child (mom's will argue, that's fine, but I'll never have those kind of kids so....).

This winter, my family will meet him for the first time and sometimes I feel a tinge of sour because I want them to meet my first dog, Shadow, as well. But to show them Züke and to see how I have raised him, I am really excited to share that with people that I love.

Hopefully he stops chewing on my underwear for attention by that time though.......

Forgiveness

I've stripped myself and the exposure burns. 

Forgiveness is unforgiving, 

For what felt like the rebuilding of higher walls, was really my unintentional digging. 

These stones are colder, the light is further; I've created walls so strong, so rooted, that grudges were able to grow and trust became dormant. 

The slip of safety, the battle of truth and perception, it's here waiting for me. 

Walking on the air that is, I'm reminded of the beauty in simplicity, of how fragile each moment is, and how spectacular it feels to accept what has been, to know that it can either continue to be or cease to be. 

I've laid my revenge to rest. The truth exposes our faults just as forgiveness exposes our existence.  My peace lies in the parts you are reminded to value within me. 

My wait has finally seen its end, the worth by which I am measured can no longer find definition by your terms. 

If the exposure wills to burn, may it burn as beautiful as the sun, for this feels more like life than the hatred I summoned...

I'm here, forgiving.