The warmth of the sagebrush and Wyoming sun welcomed me back home, and as I breathed in the summer air I felt a new wakefulness. It felt good to be back home.
Over the last few weeks, I have experienced generosity of the human spirit on a level I could not fathom until this point in my life. I could keep going over the list of reasons why everything sucked; I could keep telling myself the same stories and believing that everything I thought was truth.
I could also say thank you to the universe for watching over me in a time when I really needed a friend. I could follow Pancho Gomez’s advice: Keep climbing, brush your teeth before bed at night, reach out to people you love for support and friendship, and build healthy habits. I could start simple, and keep practicing gratitude every day for even the smallest of things, the things I lived without for four weeks.
We could all do a lot of those things…
In Africa, I had carried with me on the wall certain words spoken to me before I left, a heavy weight to carry. They were only reinforced when we made it to the ground. My climbing lifestyle was fluid and it didn’t make sense, at this point, even to me. The person I have been was in question before I left, and I questioned her even harder upon my return. I took my dog and my belongings and shoved them into the car. The rest of my things were in a storage unit—running away seemed easier.
I have been trying to decide what it is I am actually running away from, if I am running away at all, or am I just constantly searching? What is the difference?
What made it worse was that I was starting to believe all of the stories I kept telling myself. Pancho said that we need stories to tell ourselves to make sense of the world, but have to recognize that they aren’t necessarily true: “Just because that’s your default right now doesn’t mean it’s the objective truth.”
In an attempt to be profoundly honest about my own weaknesses (emotional as well as physical) meant a confrontation. A heartfelt “I’m truly sorry” said with intention can mean the world and make a huge difference, and it was time I started saying it to myself.
After a breakup, a lost wallet, and a broken radiator, I do know that these are not world-changing events and bad things only happen in threes. But they are events in a timeline, my timeline, that I’m stitching different fabrics together to help create—and whatever it is, it’s going to be beautiful and mine.
It’s hot back in Colorado, where I’ll spend most of my days this July and August. Longing for a cooling breeze, I know that the next few summer months will require patience and a lot of self-love. Still unsure as to where to start, I do know that nature heals and my heart is still embedded in climbing and its people—the ones who know that all it takes is the decision to pursue a road, whatever road that may be.
This is just like my first climb back. You go through it, step by step by starting with the first one—put one part together, and then the next, and then the next. Figuring out the problem is only one part, but losing or letting it go is an entirely different one. Holding onto it for too long, we let ourselves by defined by it. Today, I challenge myself to rewrite the story I have been telling myself for so long, the story of who I have been and who I am becoming. I know that while it can be written and rewritten, it is never final. You can only go down certain roads once, but you never return the same person—I don’t think I’d want to, anyway.