14. an unnatural

“This is impossible.” I thought as I stepped up to a climbing wall for the first time.

That unworkable wall, in hindsight, was an un-challenging ladder. The excess of holds that littered it should have made it ridiculous not to make it to the top.

I didn’t make it to the top.

I was not curious about climbing. I went to the introductory climbing class because my newly married husband had started gym climbing.  When he went, his wedding ring stayed on the bathroom counter.  That made me curious.

It turns out finger rings and manicures don’t survive crimps and pockets.  A climber’s hands are a mess of callouses and muscular swelling digits that sacrifice their jewelry.

By the end of my first day, I made it to the top of the easiest climb in the gym. That was cool and kind of addictive.

I’m a complete unnatural. It’s a scary, strength-centric, body-aware sport that demands practical focus and technique with no room for daydreaming. Every time I climb, I’m forced into a new agony or disappointment.  It’s just not me.

Then again, I’m not natural at much.  Writing, painting, parenting, teaching, spousing, skiing, running have all required their discomfort.  I’ve only gotten better because I keep showing up.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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