Climbing Rocks and Saving My Soul

This is me bouldering on a V3 at Gravity Vault Middletown. This was a huge step for me physically, but it is surpassed by the emotional freedom I get from climbing up that wall.  Photo Credit: Larry Morris

This is me bouldering on a V3 at Gravity Vault Middletown. This was a huge step for me physically, but it is surpassed by the emotional freedom I get from climbing up that wall.

Photo Credit: Larry Morris

 

  On January 1st, my friend Kim and I decided we wanted to try out rock climbing. It was something I always wanted to do, so when she asked I jumped at the opportunity. The closest gym is not so close, but we drove the 35 minutes and took the intro class about safety and how to belay each other. From the first second I got on the wall I was hooked. There was something about the combined physical and mental challenge that was intoxicating. It wasn't just pushing myself to do endless reps of crazy exercises mindlessly. It was like putting a puzzle together while using every muscle in my body.

    I continued to go once and week and about a month into my new found hobby, I was getting stuck with my progress. I just couldn't reach certain holds. It had nothing to do with the fact that I am only 5' 5 the wing span of a T. Rex. I just wasn't going for it, something was holding me back. Interestingly enough, this was the same time I was dealing with my latest bout of autoimmunity flare ups. It's funny how the universe hands you exactly what you need, when you need it. At the same time I was discussing and discovering how my personal demons were wreaking havoc on my health, I was realizing that it was fear holding me back on the wall.

    Then all of the sudden, one day when I was holding on for dear life trying to grab the last hold of a V.0 (the easiest level of bouldering, for those of you who don't know) and I heard my friend Kim yell “just take the leap of faith, go for it!!” I thought she was crazy but then I thought “what's the worst that can happen I'll fall?”. And at that point I realized falling wasn't that scary. So I went for it. I stood up and I took that leap of faith and…. I fell!! I missed the hold and fell onto a nice soft cushy mat, had a great laugh got up and tried again. And you know what? I got it the next time.

    I realized that night I needed to stop being afraid of everything, because honestly what is the worst that is going to happen, I fall? Oh well, I'll get back up. And most importantly, I have this nice cushy mat of friends and family to catch me. I just need to let them. Through the years of battling against myself, I pushed so many people away because I was afraid of them. I was afraid if they saw me for the scared, broken girl I was they wouldn't love me anymore. But just as I have found the courage to reach for new holds on the rock wall, I realized none of that is true. First, I am not broken I am just a person who has had her own life experience, that really isn't unlike many others. Second, the safety mat of people will love me no matter what, because that's what true love is. And third, letting go of fear takes a lot of guts, but it is so satisfying.

    So what I am saying is be fearless. Take the leap of faith for whatever it is you are trying to grab a hold of. You don't need to rock climb, but find a way to overcome what's holding you back. Sometimes I still get scared, most of the time I fall, and I by no means am a rock star on the wall or in life. But I can say I love my new found freedom, and I will keep facing my fears, because letting them go allows me to fly.

 

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