Doing things that scare me is part of my overall “personal growth”. The reason for this is two-fold.
- It makes me feel alive
- My initial reaction is to say no to most things (unless it’s a favor and then I am the eternal yes-man and sometimes I hate that) and I don’t want to live my life being afraid.
So I ended 2011 with a vow to do more things that thrilled me, to challenge myself further, to push harder and try more new things. The other thing that happened was Thanksgiving. This year at Thanksgiving the theme was: Tell Lauren and Kamel what’s best for them. It was… great.
One of my parents’ family friends works at REI and is an avid outdoors-y, adventure-y, more-athletic-than-I-will-ever-be-y person. Who rock climbs. And I said
not jokingly that I could never do that, rock climbing wasn’t for me, heights and I don’t get along, no no no… no. He continued to say, yes you can, it’s awesome, sure you can, you’ll love it, anyone can, it’s not so hard, rock climbing is a must.
This annoyed me two-fold.
- I can do other things besides rock climb
- I really am afraid of heights, have tried rock climbing as a young teen and often had to be talked off the wall, and have zero desire to do it.
This is a face of fear. That is also a nametag which means Kamel and I promptly signed up for a month of rock climbing classes. Why? Because that stupid family friend planted a seed. A seed of, “Wow I am afraid of that. Maybe you should give it a go, Lauren. It is kind of bad ass. Rock climbing gyms are like giant playgrounds for grownups. What if you also get amazing arms out of the deal? C’mon… you can do it. Think of the thrill. What if it’s not so bad now that you’re more of a grown up?”
Here’s the thing I quickly figured out while waiting for my turn on the rock wall: Saying you’re going to do things that scare you and be all awesome and adventure-ing and stuff is SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE. Cuz guess what? When it comes down to it – you are SCARED. Like actually scared. It’s not like, “Oh, I thought I would be scared doing things-I-am-scared-of, but it turns out I’m not!” No. It’s, “Wow, I am afraid and this feeling kind of sucks balls, but I better buck up and do it anyway because we prepaid for these classes and I don’t want to cry in front of strangers.”
Rock climbing is also really hard. You have to learn all of these knots, and names for things, and call and responses, and there is a TEST you have to take! None of this is sounding appealing is it? I’m not converting any of you am I?
But guess what? I got to climb a wall while Kamel held me on a rope, and even though I I only got about half way up (the shortest climb of any of my classmates), and was really afraid, I didn’t get stuck or have to be talked down, I swung away from the wall hanging only by my harness and I learned how to tie some pretty slick knots.
Plus, ya know, I got to hoist other people up onto the wall, where it was pretty much me and only me keeping them from falling.
Check out how my ass is totally anchoring the other person on the wall right there you guys. That is a mighty fine anchor. Ba-bam.
AND! I got to watch Kamel scramble all the way up to the top of the wall like a freaking monkey. It was impressive. He totally rocked my socks. And I rocked my socks too.
And guess what else? We’re totally hitting the rock gym to take our test and practice our sweet rock-climbing moves on Sunday. And then we have another class on Wednesday that deals with technique and “bouldering.” Stay tuned for updates.