Today, I went rock climbing. It wasn’t actual real rock climbing. 1) I reside in Florida and there are no mountains. 2) I would most likely die attempting to do that.
I decided to go on a whim. One of my co-workers invited me to do indoor rock climbing, and I am always up for something new. As I say, “I will try anything once, and if I like it, I will try it again.”
When I woke up, I didn’t want to go. At all. I wanted to tell my friend I was feeling sick and then sleep a little bit longer. I also got nervous thinking there would be many of co-workers there since my work friend is quite the social butterfly; I didn’t want to embarrass myself since I am not athletically inclined, to say the least.
What made me decide to go forward with it was the thought that I am a courageous, open-minded person, and somewhere along my life, I stopped being that way. Also, I didn’t want to be lame, and once again, be the girl who doesn’t go to anything.
I got there, and I was already feeling nervous. I hadn’t done it before, and tackling the learning curve is usually the most difficult for me. It may be one of the reasons I prefer my bed over any other location. The group began to learn how to rock climb. The truth of the matter was, the lesson was more on how to be safe rock climbing than actually rock climbing. Knowing how to be safe while rock climbing was the hardest part about all of it. As I am being shown how to strap myself in, I could not follow it. I really struggled. Maybe because I was blanking out because after I was shown two times and did not understand, I got embarrassed and shut down. Besides, aren’t other people there to do it for me?
After I learned how to strap in, I learned how to belay. Belaying is the most intense exercise I have had in a while. Belaying is spotting your partner by pulling the rope, so they can go up and pulling down so they can come back down. There are methods to pull as well that I didn’t even realize would matter. There is manual belays and automatic belays. This location for rock climbing happened to only have manual belay. I am glad it did because that was where I felt in my body how physically exerting rock climbing is. The first artificial rock wall I climbed on was suggested by my spotter, who happened to be the one who invited me there. He got me away from the instructor, which made me apprenhensive since she seemed the most concerned over my rock climbing abilities. The wall did not look easy from sight nor was it easy once I got up there. Even though, I had a harness on, I was petrified. I did not feel like climbing from one rock too high for one leg and grabbing onto a peg with my arm. I made it all the way to the top on the first wall, but it was not without shaking and struggling most of the way through. I was surprised that once I got the guts and went for one peg at a time, I was pretty good. My body has proven to be limber and coordinated for rock climbing. Even getting down was difficult since there is a correct way to come down off the wall. The correct way is to put your legs straight out while grabbing onto the rope. From there, you proceed to climb down. The cool, advanced way is to not use the wall at all and just fly down like a superhero.
I belayed more than I climbed. I enjoyed that more because it was more challenging. You have to keep your eye on your partner, following the belay steps perfectly, so they do not fall or injure themselves. Belaying also involves spirit for the climber and advising them on what peg to go to in order to get up to the top the best way. I didn’t do that as a belayer. I barely knew what pegs to go to on my climb.
My spotter was very supportive and cheered me on. He really wanted me to get to the top. The last wall I climbed looked easy, but it was not. The pegs were scattered, hard to grab, and vertical—there was no incline at all. The wall was also one of the tallest there. I am scared while I am on there, so I don’t trust myself or the harness. I was more wishing to not fall off the peg I was hanging on than get to the top. The fact that I did rock climbing, is a great feat for me. I was shaking uncontrollably and could not see straight. I have been skydiving, but even that, was not as scary since the fear in jumping in skydiving is over once you jump out of the plane. You don’t have to think about it. Rock climbing involves strategic thinking. There needs to be a plan for what direction is going to be followed and what pegs to grab before you start. I didn’t do that either.
I enjoyed myself. The group that was there were really nice and friendly. I got to speak with people from different walks of life such as the woman from Colombia, the man from Brazil, the man from Saudi Arabia. They all had unique experiences and thoughts to share. Some of them had rock climbed often, others may have not rock climbed before yet they played other sports and athletic activities. I don’t run into that frequently. The people I talk to go clubbing downtown, to bars, and work. It was a nice reprieve from the ordinary.
The rock climbing portrays a significant experience for me. I was a courageous young girl who was open minded and craved all kinds of new experiences. I was fearless. For the past few years, I stopped being that person. I instead desire to be home or take on experiences that don’t put me in a state of uncomfortability; we all want to be comfortable. Now, I want to change my life. I want to develop as a person and move onto the next stage of my life. Rock climbing was the boost I needed to go back to that courageous girl I used be and live an adventurous life. That doesn’t mean I will be living my adventurous life on any rocks—artificial or not. I am done rock climbing for the time being.