14 Feb 2017

Hand Over Hand

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Hand, foot. Hand, hand, foot. Slide. Grab, hold. Pull. Foot. Foot. Breathe…

I’ve started rock climbing. I’m not very good, but I’m passionate. And, after plunking down a monthly membership fee this week, I’m committed.

Reach, grab. Push. Pull.

I like rock climbing because it’s hard. It occupies that perfect spot in the Venn diagram of things that are both inside and outside of my comfort zone. It’s hard, but I can do it. And every time I go, I feel some progress. I tend to like hobbies that are also metaphors.

Start. Gear up, clip in. Make a plan. Let’s go.

I’m single on Valentine’s Day. Not the first time. But this one stings a little more. The end feels so… recent. And there are questions. “I thought it ended a while ago?” Yes and no. It’s complicated. It’s always complicated when people are involved. This time feels real, though. This time I said goodbye. I had to. The details aren’t mine to tell. It’s not my story. It’s the story of another heart’s struggle. So I’ll keep it to myself, except in hushed conversations with trusted friends.

Reach, hold. Pause. Breathe. Push. Lift.

Looking back over the last few months is bizarre. I was so deep in the fog, I didn’t realize how dense it was, how off track I had gotten. Memories of the recent past are dizzying. Disorienting.

Don’t look down. Doesn’t help. Keep going.

This isn’t how this one was supposed to end. It was all so good, so full of promise. I tried. So hard. I showed up with my whole heart. I gave a lot. Maybe more than I should have. I hung in as long as I could. I kept trying to help, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to let go. I had to.

Fuck. Slip, fall. Dammit. Thought I was doing so well. Ride the ropes back down. Disappointed.

I surf the waves of anger and sadness. Anger, sadness, anger, sadness. Back and forth. And then, over the weekend… a moment of peace. It caught me off guard. The quiet in my head felt so unfamiliar. It’s a tangible feeling of moving on, moving forward. The first moment of distance between where I was and where I am now. A little breathing room.

Top out! Elation and smiles between heavy gasps. I did it. First time! Progress. It’s only a beginner’s route. But still…

I’m slowly emerging from my self-imposed solitude. Getting back out there, spending time with friends. Talking to new people. Flirting? Not yet. I’ll get there. Let’s start with a few mocktails and see how it goes.

Time to try a new route. Clip in. Hold steady. Trust. Begin again. Begin again.

It feels odd to make plans, to look out ahead of the immediate. Just over the horizon, there are trips and ideas and projects. It feels strange to move forward while I’m still so raw. But I have to. All around me, there new friends and old friends and people I love. Encouraging me. Reminding me.

Almost to the top, but not quite. I can see what I’m supposed to do. But I’m tired. I can’t today. Just not there yet. Release. Let go. Ride down, supported. I know I’ll get it next time.

It’s okay. I’ll be back.

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