I’ve never considered myself to be the athletic type.
I remember just from like fifth grade, getting my body coordinated to play kickball was a challenge for me. Okay. So I’ve never been that athletic person that it doesn’t come naturally at all. And so when I’m hanging out with some friends who were talking about going rock climbing, I wanted to go. Because I’ve always just been interested in that and intrigued about how it’s done, and they were like, “Yeah, come with us. We’ve taken new people up this mountain many times so that we can get you up and over these peaks. You don’t have to be experienced.” Well, that certainly was encouraging since I was the farthest thing from experienced. I’ve never done anything remotely close to this. And they’re like, nope we got you, let’s go. And these are people I respected. So I’m like, if they’re saying they can do it, I believe them.
So we get there early in the morning, and we start just hiking up a trail, nothing out of the ordinary. And so we’re hiking and a slow gradient up. And then we get to a point, and there’s nothing there except a rock wall straight up. And so I start looking around like, where’s the path up, get up this around this wall. And they were like, “there isn’t this is it.” I was like, “ha.”
I laughed just like that.
I was like, are you kidding me?
I was like, you’re joking.
And they were like, no. And I felt my heart started beating faster, literally. I began to panic a little bit, and my friends were like, “Calm down, you can do this. We’ve gotten many people down this mountain.” I was like, “What about the ropes? We don’t have a rope!”
My friends told me they were going to guide me up the mountain. It was a decision I had to make right then and there.
Was I going to chicken out and wait for them for three hours as they went up and came back down?
Was I going to hike 40 minutes back to the car and sit in the car and wait for four hours?
Or was I going to woman up and do it?
And I was like, oh gosh, all right, I’m going to do it.
I asked them to pass the Gatorade. “I need energy. I need it,” I said as I could feel myself gasping for air. The fact I craved a Gatorade said something because I usually don’t drink those kinds of drinks. I would need all of the energy I could get my hands on if I was going to climb up this mountain. My friend told me to follow the woman in front of me and watch what she was doing. There were four of us; it was two women and a male.
And so it was like, watch her and then her and then you do what she does. “Put your feet where her feet are, hands were her, and you’ll get up the mountain,” my friend said, “and I’ll come up behind you. And if anything goes wrong, I’m here.” I was thinking that if anything goes wrong, we’re both going to die on the rocks. But I got this gist of what he was saying. So we start climbing, watching everything, hand placement, foot placement, hand placement, and going. And I just had to shut off the fear because I knew that if I let fear freeze me and freeze my muscles, I would not make it.
So it was a decision.
Are you going to do it?
Are you not?
Don’t have to it.
You just shut down the fear and focus on the task.
And that’s what I did.
Don’t look down, never look down and just foot placement, hand. So we got up the first wall, and I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Oh, wow, this is amazing.” So we get to another next wall after another hike up. And I wanted to panic one more time, but I told myself, “you’re here now, shut off the panic and do it.” I just had to say to myself, “stop thinking, and do it. Believe what they’re telling you. Believe it.” And so I did that once again and just went up, and we did that like three times. So we get up to the top of this mountain. The view was incredible—360 all around the city, just gorgeous. And then I thought, “we’re going to have to go back down the same way we came up.” But I decided no fear, do it. Because at one moment, I said, if this doesn’t, tell my mom, I was happy. I did this on my own. I love her. My friend told me to stop and said, “we’re not telling your mother anything because you’re going to tell her when you get down the mountain.” These words were very encouraging to me.
And so going down is a lot scarier because you do have to look down a little bit. And so I made it down the mountain, never been happier to touch the ground in my life. I almost kissed it, but I didn’t. But the lesson I learned is sometimes you have to shut up and do it, shut the fear down and say, are you going to be fearful and use all your energy on that fear. Because fear takes so much energy that if I had done that, I literally wouldn’t have had the strength to climb up the mountain because you would have expended so much energy being afraid.
And so I learned that sometimes just shut up and do it.
Put the fear aside, choose which side you’re going to be on.
Are you going to be in fear, or are you just going to go forward with faith?
One of the other. There’s no middle ground in that. Otherwise, you’re going to fall off and maybe fall on some rocks.
So I learned how to shut off the fear and everything that comes with it and do it.
And the reward is fantastic and amazing.