#18 Fast, Fierce & Feminine!

130km, 5g, no steering, no brakes! Cassie Elise Hawrysh

At first, I wasn’t really sure what attracted me to Skeleton.  Later I realized that as a female I am constantly thinking about everything.  I'm always having nine thousand conversations in my head. When I slid I could only focus on one thing. It’s being in the flow. I was captivated; I wanted to feel that as much as I could. When you do it right and you’re going faster and faster it can be like a drug. It’s like nothing else.

Fake it till you make it is real.  I say yes to a lot of things and then figure out how to do it along the way.  I do it all the time in my day to day life and that’s exactly what skeleton was.  I said yes, started it and figured out how to do it along the way.  I try not to panic too much when feel under qualified.  After a while, you realize you do know what you’re doing and you look around and realize that you belong. 

As women, we do a lot of self-talk about I don’t like this or I don’t like that about ourselves.  Male athletes are like that, too.  Everyone is so worried about how they look.  These conversations we have with ourselves are the most powerful.  It’s power we don’t acknowledge.  You got to realize that whatever it is you just said to yourself that you’re saying those things to yourself all day long.  I pay close attention to the things I say to myself, as well as what other women were saying about themselves.  

As a female athlete image is big.   It’s a topic we’re always forced to think about.  I’ve seen my body change a lot, not just from growing older but different sports have demanded my body look differently too.   What continues to happen is that when you look a certain way and get positive reinforcement you begin to believe you have to look keep that certain look.  I’m in my 30’s but have in my head that look from my early 20’s.  As an athlete, you have pictures and videos everywhere and it’s always how do I look.  Those questions go through your head instead of thinking about more important thinks like what did I say.

Giving and taking compliments is huge.  Being able to say nice things to each other and when someone says something nice to be able to say thank you.  A great way to love people is to say hey you really look great today.  And, if someone says something nice to you being able to take it and be good with that.  It’s really hard, I think that comes from believing we have to be humble.

What’s feminine to me is owning my emotions as my power. I remember in team sports when I was younger it was always, oh she’s too emotional.  I detested hearing that.  I eventually came to terms with my emotional state being my actual power.  My emotions were what made me so great. When I was younger my emotions were probably more unbridled.  I didn’t always know how to let other people know why I cared so much.  I’m very passionate in my relationships, but I'm a better communicator and owning that feminine part of me.  Being proud of it.  

Some male and female athletes have to get themselves really really angry before they can compete. That’s not me.  With my emotional swings being so high and so low I can’t operate like that.  My best performances come when I’m just happy and I’m just laughing and joking around.  I don’t take myself too seriously so it's being in that space before a competition that’s my energy and my power.  

I really didn’t want to beat any athlete unless they’re at their best.  If I win a race I don’t want it to be because somebody fell at the start or had a bad run.  It happens to all of us but I don’t want that to be the reason I win.  

In a team sport, I enjoyed being able to play with other people’s emotions.  In Skeleton we’re all wearing helmets so nobody trash talks one another.  I miss that.  Skeleton is really a brain-based sport so understanding emotions can be very powerful.  For me, it was all about learning what I could do with emotions and what I shouldn’t do with them.  

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Listen to the entire interview with Cassie Elise Hawrysh on our Podcast page.

Chris Kennedy