What hiking was for Cheryl Strayed, skiing became for Steph: a crucible in which to crack open her life and get to the very center of herself. But she would have to break herself down—first physically, then emotionally—before she could start to rebuild. And it was through this journey that she came to understand how to be a woman, how to love, and how to live authentically.
Electrifying, heartfelt, and full of humor, UNBOUND is Steph’s story—an odyssey of courage and self-discovery that, like Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, will inspire readers to remove their own restraining devices and pursue the life they are meant to lead.
Excerpted from Unbound by Steph Jagger. Copyright 2017. Reprinted by permission of Harper Wave, and imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Physically, I was the most exhausted I’d ever been, but on this run, the huge swath of it moves like an ocean underneath you, so you just keep going. It doesn’t matter if you’re exhausted. You don’t need energy in that situation, you just need to believe, with all of your heart, that the entire Universe is conspiring for your success. Once you’re pointed down a mountain, gravity takes over. All that’s required at that time is trust. Trust, and faith in the fact that you’ll keep descending, and that somehow, someway, the Universe is going to keep you balanced on top of it all.
So there I was, trying to ski, trying to make my way through the ashes as both goddess and warrior, reminding myself that nothing about this was mutually exclusive, black or white, him or her. This was about the colors somehow coming together, not unlike the coat of a tiger. I could be both, I could be one, I could be all.
I had designed this trip as the ultimate expression of my power, a massive blue ribbon that would inarguably prove I was strong enough, and man enough, and good enough. I thought I’d had to break myself down and turn myself into something or someone else completely. But that was all wrong. This whole thing was actually a search-and-rescue mission. I’d come to find the woman I’d buried. And she’d been there all along. In that moment, I felt like I was watching two sides of a zipper coming together, every tooth sliding into its perfect place, sealing something closed. I felt whole and warm.
This revelation was followed by the voice. It whispered to me, soft and smooth.
Imagine what’s possible now.