And Then…You Climb…*
*(Originally written in 2012…no time like the present to revisit…especially in light of the gents who conquered El Capitan last week…)
Oh, great….another BLOG?
Yeah, yeah…I’ve been fighting with it myself. The undeniable urge to write, to express, to put something out in the world that might actually be of use or do good for people, then blocked by the undeniable awareness that there are so many blogs in the world, what REALLY hasn’t been said that needs to be heard? And what, specifically do I have to say?
Well, can’t say what I have to say is of vital world importance, but the fact is, I’m on a few missions in my life, and I’m thinking this is one way to go to achieve them:
1) Using social media for the creative powers of good as opposed to just stalking, er, checking in on my friends, getting annoyed by people who get in pointless arguments on Facebook, and looking at animal videos (although I’ll still be doing the latter more than is probably particularly productive).
2) Using my experiences, embarrassing, funny, sad, happy, exhilarating, humiliating, to help other people through their own, whether with advice, insight, or just a good hearty belly laugh that makes someone snort their coffee up their nose.
So…what’s THIS blog about?
Ummm….well, overall? I don’t know. I tend to figure things out as I go in general. But today it’s about…let’s see…
Ohhhh, YES. That’s it. I feel like a puppy who just heard the name she wants to be called and perked her ears up to show approval. This is about CLIMBING.
Okay, so…I love climbing. Really just about anything…fences, trees, rocks, buildings, tall people….you name it. Climbing makes me happy. And even though I am FAR from expert at it, I will say very few things seem to have as many lessons for me than just climbing. Not just the action…but the concept.
But I didn’t always love it. Truth told, I was afraid to climb when I was younger. I was tremendously unathletic…P.E. was the only class I ever remember being in danger of getting anything less than an A in (and fortunately, there WERE A’s for effort in that class or Alma Waterhouse would have been responsible for far too many hours of therapy for one little Indian girl). I remember being a kid watching other kids climb trees and fences and thinking “I wish I could do that, but I’m not strong enough. And if I can’t do it, people will make fun of me” and other sad-to-hear-now, but completely logical-at-the-time thoughts that kept me from even TRYING. And even when I DID try back then…it was almost as if my fear of falling prevented me from actually USING the muscles I did have. One night in high school before graduation I was out with friends and we all had to climb over a fence to get to the pool we were sneaking into. When one of the boys put his hand flat on my ass crack to help me over, I was more mortified about not being able to make it over the fence than the fact that he had boldly gone where no man had gone before. Yup, worried about falling and worried about what people would think. That pretty much summed it up.
And that pretty much summed up my LIFE for a good long time. Whether it was getting straight A’s (“nowhere to go but down”) or performing or just living day to day, I somehow seemed to have this constant buzz in my head telling me whatever good I achieved was both expected of me and therefore not an accomplishment and also something that had nothing to do with my contribution. Add to that that I was constantly afraid of failing…of falling…and what that would look like to the rest of the world, and you have a fantastic recipe for unhappiness. Which was RIDICULOUS given how beautiful my life was even then.
But happily, through the years…and I’m sure more stories about that will be shared over the course of time here…that changed. Or at least, parts of it gradually fell away more and more.
And then, one day, I took a lesson on an indoor rock wall at the gym I worked at and…lo and behold…I was GOOD at it. And it suddenly made so much sense to me. There was no ball involved, or God forbid, no object I was supposed to actually hit a ball WITH…only my own body and the wall. And no rules really besides get to the top and don’t fall. Just climb. However my body wanted to do it. And amazingly, my body, that I had always faulted for so many reasons (too short, too curvy, too weak, too blah blah blah) knew exactly what to do to get itself up the wall. And what’s more was, it felt GOOD. Every step, every pull, every moment balancing on something that seemed impossible to balance on…felt AMAZING. It wasn’t only my body that sensed the progress, it was my mind and my heart and my spirit all clicking in.
Now, looking back, I don’t really think that it was that big a revelation in any one moment when I first learned to climb. (I have had one TRULY revelatory experience climbing, and I’ll be sure to share it as the days go by.) But I do know now that between climbing and dancing, I find more answers to what my spirit, heart, and mind need in a given moment than in any other place. They are, as a dear friend called it, my moving meditation. And here I’d love to keep sharing what I’ve learned and keep learning as I keep climbing and dancing my way through life…and not just successfully. I fully embrace and celebrate the moment in college jazz class when I kicked my leg so hard and so high that I smacked myself square in the nose and knocked myself flat on my back. One of my proudest moments, actually…a true “go big or go home” moment, followed by hysterical laughter and joy.
All right…so we’re off to a start. Maybe a rocky one (oof, even I am not okay with that pun…and I’ll do almost anything for a laugh)…but it’s a start.