“God, why was I being such a baby?!”
“That move was so big and scary!”
“I should have flashed* that
“Don’t let me ‘take’* so much next time”
My climbing partner just nods in compliance as I untie because he knows, no matter what he says it won’t change the way I felt about that climb or my abilities.
Then suddenly the entire scene shatters like someone just dropped a rock onto a frozen pond.
“Well, you looked like a total badass to me.”
A girl right next to me wearing rental shoes while belaying her partner not only witnessed my lead* but also my little tantrum.
I’m embarrassed, and it’s not the first time this has happened.
This complete stranger snapped me out of my tunnel vision of “always climb hard and push yourself as much as possible” and back to where I was supposed to be. Here. It was my last day climbing in Boulder with my friends and I’m over here tearing myself up like a piece of junk mail.
I’m not sure where it stems from but the standards I place on myself for my mental toughness and athletic pursuits are unrealistically high. Secretly, I wish I was as tough as a Navy Seal, unstoppable, unfazed, super buff….wait what?
I like to see how far I can push myself; I like to get close to the edge, put myself way out there to see if I’ll show up.
I’ve recently turned down nights in hotels offered by friends and family when I was tired and sick of sleeping in the car because it meant I was weak. That I wasn’t badass, hardcore, or tough.
I know I’m not alone. I know most of us place unreachable standards on ourselves, and quite frankly, that’s how we get better. BUT we need to remember that we are human, we break down, we cry, and we don’t always have to be “Navy Seal tough”.
Below is a video that I stumbled upon only hours after my little tantrum back in the gym. I have since watched it multiple times, as a reminder to be nice to myself and give myself some slack every now and then. No matter how many times I yell “TAKE!!!” to my climbing partners.
****Climbing Terms Explained for my non climbers (my family):
Flash: to finish a route without falling, first time, without any beta.
Beta: the “how to” for a route. Directions and which moves at certain points.
“Take”: A command to your belayer to pull up slack, this way you can hang on the rope to take a break. Typically used when physically exhausted or having a butt squeezer.
Lead Climbing or Leading: When a climber is bringing the rope up with them and clipping into safety as they climb.