GreenMonkie wisdom 2 small

“Climbing”

It’s not just a sport that I have been practicing for over a year. Two and a half years ago, my life changed completely. Divorced after 12 years, with two boys under the age of 7. I wanted to go do something I could do on my days alone, what I would find exciting and scary, a distraction, something new and I thought of climbing.

Never done it, no one I knew did it and I went. The first four weeks I did not go higher than the first eight meters. Not ever. No way.

I was heavy, uncertain, but something got a hold on me. After the first lesson I bought all my own climbing gear and I kept on going every week.

Still no one to climb regular with, so I asked climbers with more experience, if I could go climbing with them. I found it scary. New people, the large open climbing hall, everyone seemed to look at me, to think I was weird, no good, I was so insecure. But I was hooked. Hooked!

I grew slowly. With weeks of frustration, days of progress, moments of fear, sometimes with tears, sometimes with anger, but I stayed. Climbing changed me. Physically and mentally. I saw the progress, sometimes very small, sometimes larger, but the line, the growth was clear. And I loved it so much: the puzzle solving, the falling and yet continuing, being afraid but in a safe environment, people who helped, who were better, an example.

New friendships, contacts, they let me see them and what they already could do. And I learned from them and I learned to see myself through the climbing.

I am lighter, much lighter. Yes physically, but also mentally. Stronger , more resilient. More proud. Driven. Also still afraid. Frustration. Angry at a moment of fear. A route with a difficult crux. A step which I dare not take. A hold that is ‘too small’. No, my mind tells me I am small, not good enough…: ” You can’ t do this”. ” This reach is too far for you. ” Never mind! No way! “. I was and I am my own worst enemy and critic. Climbing thought me that.

I want things to change. They have: yes I freeze or fold sometimes. I try more often to push my limits even though I am fearful. I have to. Because the progress is there, and more and more every day. It is not about the degree or difficulty . Those are just the bonus. Yes, 6a is rad. But how did I get there? By being afraid in a 4. Not trusting my feet. Not reading a route all that well. Scared of pushing my limits.

That is what climbing is: find your limit and go beyond it. Cross that line. Together and alone. Your very own fight, my fight, which you share with your climbing-partner. Watching. Asking. Learning. And on with your own process.

I love climbing. And now I even love myself more.

Veronique Post
Rotterdam,
Netherlands

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