Saturday, October 21, 2006

What doesn't kill you might be Styley: an update

Remember this? Well it took me two weeks, but in the end I got up my courage to go climbing again. The person I tried to kill last time had said that she would still be okay to climb with me again, but I thought I'd wait and see if she contacted me rather than calling her to suggest it, because I wanted to leave her the option to not get in touch if she had just been being polite.

So she didn't call me, which was hardly unexpected, but I decided I would go to the Thursday evening women's climbing night again anyway and kind of lurk in the corner. And if someone offered to partner me and they were okay with the fact that I screwed up last time, I would climb; otherwise I would go home again.

All day Thursday I felt jittery and nervous and wasn't able to concentrate on work. I didn't really connect it with the climbing plans at first, until I caught myself considering not going after all, and instantly felt better. So because I am a masochist I decided I had to at least give it one more try. I almost changed my mind again twice more (including once at the entrance to the gym), but I made it in the end.

I also spent the afternoon reading up on the internet about possible mistakes people make when belaying and how to avoid them. I still wasn't entirely sure what I had done wrong last time, but I picked up a couple of suggestions for making my technique even safer, so that helped a bit.

When I got to the gym, there were only three other people there. My climbing partner from the other week wasn't, which didn't surprise me. One of the other three didn't have anyone with her, and she came up to me and asked if I had a partner coming.
"Um, maybe," I said. "I kind of had a vague arrangement to climb with Sarah, but I didn't check if she was coming tonight. And she might not want to climb with me anymore anyway, because last time we were here---"
"Oh my god! That was you?! Duuude."
"You heard about that, huh?"
"EVERYONE heard about that."

So that of course made me instantly feel so much better (insert ironic tone of voice here).

But weirdly it turned out that this new person was even keener to partner me after that. Maybe it's the same sort of weirdness that causes total strangers to propose marriage to serial killers in jail. Or perhaps she was an adrenaline junkie and keen on the extra risk. Whatever the reason, though, I had a climbing partner.

Later in the evening Sarah did turn up and the three of us took turns climbing and belaying. Although Sarah was friendly, I noticed she was careful to make sure it was the other woman belaying for her rather than me, but that was cool. Then yet another person turned up without a partner, and she paired off with Sarah while I stayed with my new-found adrenaline junkie friend.

The result of the evening was that I feel much more confident about climbing again, and I have people to climb with in future who don't seem to care that I might be a danger to their lives :)

They even all organised us to go together to a different gym on Sunday where there are lots more beginners' walls and supervision and so on, so that I and the other new person can spend the day getting really comfortable with belaying and climbing. Everyone (except maybe Sarah) seems to have turned this into a story about our gym not being good with training and supervising beginning climbers and about our gear not being as safe as people make it out to be, which might not really be the truth of the situation, but it's a polite fiction that allows me to climb with them without feeling all freaky.

Hooray for nice people who don't hate me! Hooray for me not killing or maiming anyone! And hooray for being able to think about climbing again without having to go and sit with a blanket over my head until I've calmed down.


Jana said...

What a great boost to your confidence! I hope it'll erase some of the horrible memory of what happened last time, and I'm glad it turned out well.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Oh good, I'm so glad. Good for you for making yourself go back.

Twirly said...

I'm glad you went back! Climbing rocks (he!) and I don't want you to miss out on the fun.

turtlebella said...

I think you are very brave! I'm glad you went back and had a good time. And I think the other gym sounds like a great idea, boost your confidence more and maybe even have a really good time!