Today, I climbed a rope. At the top, I cried.
I have worked for ten months to scale the fifteen feet to the ceiling of Trident CrossFit. Tapping the mark, I was triumphant. Then I looked down. My feet slipped. My hands gripped. My focus was hopelessly devoted to remaining calm: a dire mistake. Had I instead channeled my concentration to re-locking my feet, would I have descended with some grace? It is a question of no practical content; despite Aby’s promise to grant me any comfort I could imagine, he could not rewind time.
When my arms began to shake with exhaustion, my focus cracked and I began to cry. I did not only cry, I wailed. Then, realizing I blubbered in front of a gym of peers, friends, coaches I respected, admired, to whom I never want to show anything but my best, I sobbed.
They had me slide, until I could grab the nearby Rogue rig and shimmy my way to stand on Andy’s shoulders. Initially I ran to escape, but Trident’s given me strength of character as well as body. With some moments by a tree, I confirmed that I was back on solid ground then went back inside to roll out my muscles and face my shame.
My past self would not have returned. When I overheard girls at my high school discussing my eating disorder, I transferred to a public school for a clean slate. When I did not have the strength of character to accompany a good friend to her brother’s funeral because I had a conflicting test, I distanced myself and ended the friendship. When a cute boy made fun of my Tranformer’s Halloween costume, I switched majors. Shame, guilt, embarrassment: drivers of my life since 1999 (oh those formative pre-teen years.)
But when I made myself enter the gym, I received high-fives and hugs. I fought back against the undertow of shame, embarrassment, and guilt that usually pulls me under and sweeps me away. I did pull down my hair and avoid all eye contact. I did cry in the car. But I also did a lot better than I usually do.
I think it was a bit of a Jessica Day moment. Same circumstances. Lots of puppies in lots of cups.