I haven’t written much in the last few months. Several times, I’ve sat down and hovered my hands over my keyboard trying to write. But you know that feeling when a word is on the tip of your tongue and no matter how hard you think about it, it just won’t come to you? I’m finally ready to say all the things that have gone unsaid.
After my season of working in the mountains came to a close, I felt really lost. I had wrapped so much of my sense of identity up in what I was doing that when it stopped, I didn’t feel like I had much left to offer.
It’s also worth mentioning that I was working constantly between a busy restaurant gig and guiding jobs, so I hardly had a moment to stop and process. Back at home in Bellingham, I often worked late at the restaurant and began the following day early — like 4 a.m. early — to get down to Seattle to pick up clients for guiding jobs. For the majority of the summer, I slept the best on a thin Thermarest when I was out in the field. It was a lot, but I loved it!
If you know me, if you’ve read anything that I’ve written before or exclusively what it says in the address bar: You know that I’m passionate about climbing. Duh. I’m also prone to exhibiting high levels of stoke, because yeah, climbing. I love it.
As far as I can tell, Newton’s 3rd law about equal and opposite reactions to applies to everything. Including emotions. For as stoked as I’ve been, I’ve also been equally unstoked (destoked? Not stoked.) I think it’s really important to talk about that, because social media portrayals are so ubiquitous but limited in truth. I am not my social media. That’s what I want you to think about me; but that is not all of me.
It has been a hard couple of months. But I’m finally coming around and realizing that I’m not pitiful because I’m not projecting 5.12 anymore.
Whew, it feels great to finally say that.
Like any other living breathing human out there, I get anxious sometimes. A lot of my anxiety is the product of a stupidly huge ego that I try really hard to keep in check.
Ego. What a funny little — or big — thing. Sometimes I feel silly for having a blog dedicated exclusively to personal pursuits in climbing, because ultimately, who cares? I guess I just think a lot, write a little and hope it comes in handy for some reader someday.
My ego motivates me to try a hard route. My ego beats me up on the inside when I fail.
My ego scoffs at a moderate route. My ego doesn’t want to recognize that the best climbers climb EVERYTHING and that the grade doesn’t matter. It’s the climbing that matters. It’s the people you go with that matter.
My ego wants to be the best climber. My ego doesn’t like to recognize that the best climb 18,000 times more than I do and that’s a dumb reason to climb.
My ego wants to show off my goofy side on social media. My ego tells me to take a post down that doesn’t garner enough likes or comments.
My ego wants to be friends with everyone and anyone that climbs. But my ego tells me to focus on relationships that benefit my personal progress and development. My ego forgets that relationships take work and effort; especially the ones that don’t fall within my immediate focus on climbing.
My ego feels smug when people tell me about how I’m constantly “getting after it.” But my ego tells me that it’s never enough.
Enough of that bullshit! I’m sure you have your own echo chamber of egotistical garbage to scroll through on a daily basis. I do not wish to contribute to it.
My feeling is that social media profiles are an almost perfect manifestation or representation of all of the ego problems I just listed.
I think that a glossy social media profile is not a report card or reflection of success in life. It’s a measure of how much time you’re willing to dedicate to showing yourself off.
In pulling back a little, scaling down on exclusively scaling rocks, I’ve come to realize that I am not a complete person if I’m only a climber. I am a friend, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a writer, a thinker, a doer, a drawer, a baker — a person full of LIFE! I have ideas and aspirations; and while climbing is a beautiful medium for challenge, achievement and accomplishment, it can’t be everything. I don’t feel whole when it is.
Yes, I am still very much a climber. Yes, I love what I’m doing. But no, climbing isn’t everything. It’s what I love but there must be balance.
That’s what I needed to say.