|This is how I should look and feel |
when I'm climbing... (D. Herscovitch)
It's hard to keep the psych going sometimes. It's hard for me not to be completely committed to everything I do and climbing is no exception. I can't quell the will to get better, I can't stop wanting to push harder, and sometime, that's enough to prevent me from having fun.
It's been difficult to walk into the gym and just say, "today, I'm not going to worry about finishing problems or doing anything super hard, and just have fun." It's part of why I hesitated to compete, but also part of why bouldering comps are among my favorite climbing days. It's just who I am, but that intensity can burn me out.
It's even harder to keep the psych going when you're fighting powerful emotions. Climbing is, and likely always will be, terrifying to me. Even thinking about thinking about climbing a multi-pitch route is enough to get my heart racing, and not in a good way, in a run-and-hide sort of way. But a lot of people are afraid of climbing, right? And that's part of what keeps me going back for more. Climbing is a way to step out of the protective bubble that is everyday life and to get in touch with a side of myself I don't often see. Sometimes, though, my desire to fight the fear just isn't there. The thing I've learned lately is that it's not necessarily about fighting the fear, or making it go away; it's about accepting its presence and not letting it affect you. I've accepted the fear, but sometimes, that acceptance is a deterrent.
So, what am I doing about it?
I'm giving myself permission to take a break. I wrote a post about identity that was inspired by others' thoughts on what it means to be a climber. One of my conclusions was that it really didn't matter. It's not what we do that defines who we are. That said, it's still hard to hear people identify me as a climber when I haven't touched rock or plastic in weeks. I'm pushing all of that aside, recognizing I'm just not enjoying it as much as I want to be able to, and giving myself permission to take a break. When I go back to the gym or hit the crag again, I want to feel that sense of connection with what I'm doing, the beauty of the movement of climbing, and the love for the sport I haven't been able to channel lately.
I'm recognizing that things change, people change, and it's okay to accept the ebb and flow of our passions. I'll never stop loving climbing, but that doesn't mean I have to love it all the time. Part of being someone who thirsts for perfection is that it can be easy to get burned out. By allowing space for things like Crossfit in my life and spending less time obsessing about how I'm not climbing, I'm generally feeling better about, well, everything. Life is about balance; I only have a bit of time each day to spare for physical activity, I need to make that time count and feel good about it.
I'm still reveling in the accomplishments of the climbers around me, and looking forward to getting back into it when I'm ready. The last gym sesh I had was at Elite Climbing with some of my favorite ladies from Go Vertical. It's a group - more of a community - of amazing women who get together to boulder at least one night a week. There was so much positive energy in the group, it was amazing. That's what I really miss - watching my friends excel and having them there to support me. It's also been great reading about things like the Chicks Climbing clinics and seeing some familiar local faces in the clinic reports. I'm feeding off of the energy and passion of the climbing friends I have who are out there doing great things.
|Now this? This I definitely miss! Yay ice! |
So, my climbing gym membership resumes in October, and I think I'm just about ready for it.
Have you gone through ups and downs with climbing, or another sport you're passionate about? Any tips for getting through one of the "down" periods? Leave a comment!