Let me take you back to many some odd years ago in the life and times of @chubbygirlclimbing …back then not as chubby. During this period, I lived in Reno, Nevada (I moved around quite a bit in my youth) and one of my best friends, Morgan, from Texas happened to move to a little town outside Carson City, not far from me! Fate! Kismet! We had weekend long sleepovers that usually resulted in us performing some mild incantations with a Ouija board or “light as a feather, stiff as a board” type nonsense (pretty common fare for girl slumber parties, I’ve learned).
One such weekend I was staying at her place. Morgan’s dad is a photographer and decided to take us with him to Dinosaur Rock. He would take some scenic shots and we would run off some energy. I’m sure we were boisterous and annoying when we were together. I’m pretty sure we still are.
Now let me tell you, we are lucky we didn’t die that day. Not because anything particularly insane happened, but because we were bounding and tottering from rock to rock like nobody’s business. Alex Honnold himself would probably retch at our extreme lack of awareness for our lives and safety. We knew no fear, we only carried an innate sense of adventure and exploration.
Years and years later, I started rock climbing at a gym, obviously. But unlike my younger days, I now have a… ahem…healthy fear of heights and tumbling to my death. I’ve mentioned this before, and I still love to climb despite this fear… but it’s always present. More often than not it is the cause of me not being able to finish a route that’s within my abilities.
I get more nervous on auto belays ever since I had once seen a girl who thought she was clipped in fall and break her ankle (she was NOT CLIPPED IN). I check the carabiner constantly now. CONSTANTLY. Which is probably more dangerous when you think about it.
Younger Jen on Dinosaur Rock didn’t have any rope or carabiner or autobelay! Little Jen and Morgan, YOLO-ing before that was even a term, God save us all.
So, when I say climbing is for children, I don’t mean literally. Well, ok…I do mean it literally, also. Have you seen how good those kids are? Pisses me right off. But my point is that’s not what I MAINLY mean.
What I’m really driving at, is that to succeed in a sport like this (or hell, to succeed in life on the daily), we have to tap into our younger, braver selves. Young Jen wasn’t full of self-doubt, she KNEW she could climb those walls. If older Jen could just shed her irrational fears, maybe she could see how strong she is.* Whether that’s through meditation or just good ol’ repetition, I’m not sure. I’ll let y’all know when I do.
*Ok, that isn’t to say a healthy dose of fear is all bad. I mean, THAT GIRL WASN’T CLIPPED IN.