I f***ed up!!! I missed two days in a row. Friday, I was so tired, I was in bed by nine, I just couldn’t. And once I’d missed a day, Saturday was all too easy to ignore. Luckily, my weekly climb date came around today, otherwise I think that’d have been it for my 30 days.
I can’t bring myself to start again, so I hope you don’t mind, I’m just picking up where I left off. I know, I really should be back to day one, but I’m pretty sure that would be the fastest way of putting an end to the whole thing.
I tried to give up chocolate for Lent once, and my cousin helpfully got married in the middle. I very rarely see my extended family, so I hardly know them, and as I’m shy to the point of rudeness anyway, the whole wedding thing was a bit of an ordeal. Lucky for me an older cousin took me under her wing at the reception, and sat with me through the meal. Turns out she had also given up chocolate for Lent, and there was a pretty spectacular chocolate dessert on. She told me that with these things, you try your best, and if you slip up, it’s ok, that’s not the end, you just get back on the horse and keep trying. She died earlier this year, and to be honest, I never knew her very well, but she was an exceptionally kind lady. I think I’ll take her advice one more time with this.
Also, I should mention that another year I did actually manage to give up chocolate successfully. Not relevant, but a matter of pride.
Anyway, climbing. My friend invited her husband along, which I was nervous about (I can’t impress on you enough how awful I am with people). Guess he was nervous as well because he brought three friends with him, all ‘proper’ climbers. I lost the power of speech pretty early on.
As much as I hated being around new folks, I am really glad they came. They really helped my friend and I, both with technical tips and with moral support. I literally couldn’t speak to them so they must have thought I was incredibly rude, but they still helped me with routes, and one girl even stood below me and supported me as I climbed.
I also had a bit of an emotional moment hanging off the side of the Boulder (remember the Boulder? if you don’t it’s this thing.)
One of the reasons I’d wanted to get into climbing was because I’d heard what a friendly sport it was. People say everyone is really supportive of one another, and everyone gets involved with what’s going on. We hadn’t really experienced that so far. Yes, my friend’s friends were helpful, but they were there with us. Normally everyone else at the centre just ignores us.
Today I was climbing up a route that everyone else had already managed. My friend’s husband told me to have a go, and I said that I felt embarrassed because everyone else had done it and I wouldn’t be able to. I guess someone overheard. I was halfway up and stuck, and one of the friends (who had taken on the group leader role as soon as we’d arrived) was calling out what she probably thought was helpful and motivational advice such as ‘go on, just do it, just go for it’. I couldn’t do any of those things. I was panicking because I felt on show, I felt that she would judge me when I couldn’t do it, I didn’t know how to get down anyway and the longer I was holding on there, the sooner I wouldn’t be able to hold on any more and I’d fall. Then a stranger stepped up, spoke over the top of her and talked me step by step through the rest of the route. He broke it right down for me – put your right foot on that hold, bring your weight over to the left, reach up with your left hand, and so on. I never even saw him as I was obviously facing the wall, and when I topped out and looked down from the top. he was gone. He was just passing by, saw someone struggling, lent a hand and carried on his way. I was so grateful I nearly cried. But that’s sort of what I had been hoping climbing would be about all along.
I did feel bad at missing two days, so I thought I’d do yoga as well as climbing, but the session I chose was all about pranayama, which I now know means breathing exercises. Not much in the way of physical exercise, but surprisingly both calming and invigorating at the same time. And as I’ve mentioned before, the thing I feel I’m getting most from yoga is practice at just doing the thing I’m doing and not dealing with the before or after. It’s so hard, and with breathing especially, I find it difficult to keep my mind in one place, but it’s easier every time. This time I got an SMS halfway through, and I was able to leave my phone without reading it until the end of the session. That’s progress for me at least.
So I think that’s me back on the horse…no more falls, I hope.