I’m a moderate climber, I’m not bad-ass. I can climb close to as well as any recreational climber, man or woman, but I’ve mostly approached this sport as entertainment. Moderate is challenging for me physically and mentally. I don’t think I can compare to the people I see the gym or at the outdoor crags. I’m kind of a scardy-cat, fear gets the best of me and I certainly don’t train for climbing seriously.
I’m beginning to learn that I love it enough that taking it seriously may be the best I can give myself, husband and kids.
What do I love about climbing? The challenge and adventure. I like not being awesome at something. In fact, I’m so far from awesome I don’t even have to worry about being awesome. I have improved over time. Work and play pay back but awesome is a faraway goal.
I really love that climbing houses wonderful analogies for life. It has been said that the way you approach a climb is undoubtedly the way your will approach life.
I’ve been reflecting on this.
I recently worked on a 10c climb at the climbing gym and it taught me some ugly truths about myself.
Let’s start with this ugly truth. Truthfully, I don’t work hard on climbs. The term in climbing jargon is “to project” as in “I’m projecting a climb”. This particular 10c climb gets the best of me so it is a perfect “project”. It overhangs, which means I have to use my upper body. It angles a bit, which means it pushes me into an exposed and scary state. It is long and that scares me too. I don’t feel in control when I climb it, the wall controls me. Why don’t I project climbs? When you project a climb, you must begin to take the climb seriously. You become committed to getting to the top. I don’t project climbs because I don’t want to make myself vulnerable to failure and fear.
Next ugly truth. I don’t care if I get to the top. Why is this an ugly truth? Well, why am I climbing if I don’t want to get to the top? Isn’t that the goal? I get something back from climbing, don’t I? I think so. I think I like the image of being a climber. I like to think I’m daring and adventurous. I like to think I’m pushing my boundaries but when faced with a climb that pushes back, I balk. I climb because my ego likes it and likes what most people think of me because I climb.
What kind of climbing narcissist am I? When I realized this about myself, I gagged a little.
Oh ugly truths! Let’s summarize them. 1. I don’t like to work. 2. I don’t want to be vulnerable or fearful. 3. I don’t care if I reach my goal. 4. I just care that people think I am a person that does the opposite of those things.
Am I doing this in life too? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. Let that marinate. And I’m not saying that I do that ALL the time, but these are subtle mental distractions that keep me from my goals, the tough ones that take perserverence.
These ugly truths have kept me from getting better at climbing and more in-tuned with something that I really do love and respect as a sport.
So I must somehow work on change. To start, I must project this climb.
I told myself, through my passivity, fear and negativity; Just do it 3 times. That is all. You don’t have to get to the top, get to the scary part and see what you can do. So I did. By the third time, I was tired, thinking halted and I laughed when I failed. Laughter is better than beating yourself up over failure, wondering what people think or not even trying. So logically, I climbed to failure a fourth time. You know, just because.
Laughter and learning are the enemy of these ugly truths.