“Self-sabotage is the smartest thing you can do if you’re sabotaging a self that is not really you.” ~ Armand DiMele
Recently my husband, Steven, nicknamed our Kiddo “Giggles” because there is so much smiling and laughing and love in our family.
We knew from some trainings that Kiddo’s self-sabotage was due to shame and a false belief that “them” was unworthy of love and belonging. With time and consistency, Steve and I have continued to teach our child how to give and receive love openly, yet little did we know it was also a work-on for ourselves . . .
There we were, just my husband and me, on a late Tuesday morning, hooking up our trailer to our truck and heading up the mountain to do a little snowmobiling. In tow were our two new used sleds that Steve had picked up a few days before. In fact, this photo was taken just as we fired them up to head off the grid.
I was a little hesitant to go, mainly because I had been sick in bed with walking pneumonia for a week and I was just getting back into routine.
After traveling up the mountain for a couple of miles though, I started to find my groove.
Other than having to pull over to put on a warmer face mask, things were looking good — the snowy road narrowed and the sleds throttled on, and I turned back every few minutes to be sure my husband was still on his own sled behind.
Twenty or so minutes later our sleds crossed our main bridge that connects to the driveway of our bungalow home. A short time later we were dismounting our snowmobiles and waist deep in loose powder that hadn’t been packed down before.
Steve and I were so grateful we had just a few steps to crawl before we made it to the house. So much snow had fallen since we had been there last fall – – more than we ever remember seeing since we moved to the mountains in 2006.
After checking the roof and seeing the house was still okay, we both got back on our sleds to head back out the same way we came in. A few feet from the main road I began to cross the bridge and started losing speed. My tracks sank deep into the loose powder and I was rolled off the sled into the snow.
“I’m sorry,” Steve yelled from behind as I hit my kill switch. “I should have told you to go faster up the hill.” I shrugged it off and waited for him to crawl through the hip high snow toward me to help. After a few minutes of unsuccessful coaching, Steve had me walk back to his sled so he could do his best to rock mine out.
Clumsily I fought my way through the cold powder and toward his sled which was about 20 feet below. Every step was up to my waist so I was grateful when I could finally reach the handle bars to hoist myself up. But as I sat down, my arm hit the power button and I turned the sled off.
“Ahhh,” Steve yelled. “What did you do that for?” I tried explaining it was an accident, but he wasn’t having it. He was already cold and tired from wrestling with my sled.
Frustrated, he struggled through the snow. A few minutes later he was finally pulling himself up beside me so he could yank on his sled’s starter cord. But as he pulled, the cable snapped.
Fear and panic quickly shot through him as he looked down at his hand and saw just a plastic handle and broken cord dangling there.
I was so shocked I laughed. “Really?” I said. “Is this a cosmic joke?” But Steve found nothing funny about it. In fact, when I looked into his eyes, I could see he was doing all he could not to cry.
Panic then took over. “Can you fix it?” I said.
Steve sadly shook his head. “I don’t have the tools.” And even though we were less than a mile to our bungalow, the snow was too loose and too deep for us to walk.
“All we can do now is to try to ride your sled out of here,” Steve explained. And so for over an hour, we pushed and we pulled on my snowmobile, and, sadly, I chose to also guilt my husband for not remembering to bring a shovel.
Finally we got my sled to budge, and no sooner than we started to rejoice, the belt began to burn up and my sled clonked out. Yep. No joke. It was fried.
Steve and I were beside ourselves. We had no way to repair it, no tools. We cussed and we cursed and we yelled at the sleds, at each other and at ourselves, but that didn’t change the fact that we would have to walk down that mountain if we had any chance at getting out of there alive.
No cell service for at least seven miles. No skiis, no snow shoes, and the winter gear we were wearing was all we had.
Our first thought was to head to a neighbors just 2 miles up the road. Less than 1/16 mile in though we realized the snow was not compact enough to walk. If we attempted to keep moving we would be buried for sure.
“Are you bleeding?” I yelled to Steve who was just a few feet ahead. I could see red globules in the snow. “Yes,” he called back. “I’m getting dehydrated so my nose is bleeding. It’s probably the elevation. I have a couple of water bottles in my backpack. Just wait there.”
A few minutes later he joined my side. We shared a water and began our trek, grateful that even though the snow was deep, it was packed down just enough from our sleds that we could begin walking out on foot.
Fifty minutes later I was cold sweating and my legs were cramped. We had only made it a mile and from our calculations we had at least six more miles to go before our cells would pick up a signal. “We need to move faster,” Steve said, “Kiddo will be back home in less than 3 hours and at this rate it will take us five hours to make it to the truck.”
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t walk any faster. My body was slowing shutting down.
“Keep going,” Steve urged. He could see I was losing momentum and was doing his best to urge me on.
An hour later, even his leg muscles were shot. It was like walking on jelly. “You need to go on without me,” I said. “You are our only hope of getting out of here alive.”
Steve began to shake his head. “I am so sorry,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I should have never taken us up here. I should have never bought those sleds.”
“Please,” I begged. “You need to keep going.” And he knew I was right.
For the next few minutes he held my gaze as he walked on up ahead.
Just before losing sight of him, I shouted. “I love you and always will.”
Rather than answer, he trudged on ahead. (later he told me he couldn’t say it back because it would have made it too real.)
Then just like that he was gone. It was now just me, my thoughts, and the mountain. The same mountain that I have escaped to every summer. The same mountain that has held me during my hardest hours. The same mountain that midwifed my four books as I brought them into creation.
Would I die on this same mountain today?
As I walked, I began to think about all the things my husband and I have endured. From our motorcycle trip to Alaska to finally writing my first novel based on that experience so many years ago. The addictions, the darkness, and the drama.
Life as we knew it was still a struggle. Why did we still bicker and fight? Why couldn’t I allow myself to love him as deeply as I knew I could?
The more I walked, the more I understood. We were finally at a point in our marriage where life is good. Two homes, two dogs, financial stability, and a child who really needs us, yet the more real it had become, the more I had pushed the joy away.
All truth be told, I was afraid. Releasing that book meant having to accept my past…from my drama and rage to Steve’s addiction to drugs, to admitting our marriage was filled with darkness for so many years.
Just thinking about it caused me to cough. And the more I coughed, the more my lungs began filling with fluid. After awhile I became too weak to move, and so I removed my backpack and used it to prop myself back in the cold snow, knowing full well my chances of freezing to death were increasing, but a part of me didn’t care.
I closed my eyes against the setting sun and began to face my own mortality. Was I ready to die?
“Get up,” I heard. It was the voice of God-source. “If you don’t keep moving, you will freeze to death.”
As I managed to pull myself up, I caught a glimpse of my husband’s footprints in the snow. These prints became my lifeline for awhile.
An hour or so later I was very weak. I could hardly feel my feet and my gloved fingertips were wet and starting to freeze.
“He just got a cell signal,” I was told. It was God-Source speaking to me again.
I was grateful to know Steve had made it closer to the truck. From what I could tell I still had over three miles to walk before I would catch up to him.
As I began wheezing and coughing up phlegm, I began to wonder who would raise my child if I was gone? Steve and I had just been informed the adoption was approved and that it is just a matter of paperwork now. Yet would I make it off that mountain to see that day come?
I removed my backpack (my shoulders were in so much pain), and fell back into the snow.
“Get up,” I heard a minute or so later. This time God-Source’s voice was really loud. “You MUST keep moving or you WILL freeze to death.”
I somehow managed to pull myself up, glancing several times at the disappearing sun knowing from my cell phone clock that I had less than an hour of daylight left.
After several more minutes I saw that I had a “1X” bar on my phone. It gave me hope. I tried dialing 911 again and again but the cell signal wasn’t strong enough to hold.
Despite this, I got a second wind. I managed to walk another 1/2 mile even with my coughing and liquid filled lungs. My cell had a stronger signal and so I attempted to send a text. “Is Kiddo safe?” I wrote to Steve, but the bars were too weak for it to send.
Ahhhh! I felt defeated. I fell back in the snow hoping and praying help would come, but at that moment it wasn’t meant to be.
I had no choice but to lie there or pull myself up. “Get up,” God urged me, and so I did.
My legs were heavy and my lungs were weak. The sun was now set and the freezing temps and shadows had moved in. I was so cold I could see my breath and my mind was starting to become delirious. I began sway walking, barely making ground, yet I moved just enough to get a 3G on my cell.
Yes! My text went through and before I knew it Steve was texting back. Kiddo was safe and help was on the way.
I managed to hike 6.5 miles that day. Steve hiked just shy of 8 and still has blisters on his feet. Our lives will never be the same.
After help came, I was reunited with my husband. The first thing he did was pull me into his arms and say, “I don’t ever want to fight with you again. Life is too short and I love you so much.”
I now hug him tighter, love him longer, and cherish what we have. Though, yes we did have times in our life that caused me to question my worth and I held back in loving him as deeply as I knew I could because I still feared being hurt, that part of me died on that mountain that day, along with the me that fears what others think and the me that kept holding back, and the me who wondered if she would ever be “good enough” as a wife or as a mother. I now know better because I am better.
Yes, self sabotage can be good when it allows the old you to die so a new you can fully rebirth. Our experience this week has made me a stronger woman who knows why she is here . . . not only to be a great mother to my child and a wonderful wife to my husband, but also to live my life’s purpose and to bring more love, unity, and miracles into this world! God is good!