I’ve been watching a lot of climbing features again — mostly documentaries highlighting the harrowing stories of climbers from all over the world and the timeless metaphor for life that rock climbing continues to be. After a viscerally painful and disorienting year, I find myself coming out the other end with just as much relief as I have reluctance and fragility. As if I had recently taken a header off a high cliff, got my heart tangled in my ropes on the way down, and slammed into the dirt.
Then the comforting (horrifying?) realization that I survived the fall. After emotionally patting myself down, I find injuries. Serious ones, but miraculously none that would technically stop me from breathing. That’s the relief. Then I turn around and look back up at the wall. The thing I fell off of, the thing that almost killed me, the thing that sent me all the way, screaming back. to. the. bottom. There’s the reluctance. Fear might be a better word for it.
I search for meaning in old journal entries:
“Climbing is inherently optimistic to me. You are ascending, making progress, forging a path upward. It is a puzzle in which you literally pull yourself through on your own strength.”
I know deep down those words are still true, even though life now is a bit more… complicated. At the moment, I can’t promise to fully embody the sentiment, but I still choose to focus on the “cans” rather than the “can’ts.” I can make the effort. I can begin making (several, probably failed) attempts at living and writing and feeling and growing. I may never even reach the top — who cares?
But maybe, for now at least, the effort is good enough. Maybe it’s time to get back on the wall.
It’s been over 3 years since I last wrote something for this website/project/blog/emotional scratchpad/therapeutic voidspace. It feels… a bit heavy with guilt. As if you’ve reconnected with a good friend that you’ve neglected. Or perhaps like reaching out to a past love that you’ve abandoned.
As I’ve grown older I’ve realized just how painful memories can be. Simple acknowledgment. One intrusive thought, one sentimental fiber, or maybe just a single word will accentuate the things that are behind you with a violent clarity you never wanted to relive. Sometimes the most painful things aren’t even specific, it’s enough that they’re just that… behind you.
It feels like shining a bright spotlight into a shadowy basement. It stings, seeing (feeling) things that were left untouched, one at a time, exactly where you left them. You hardly recognize certain things without the familiar warm glow of the old antique lamp. Instead, the light you’re stuck with is harsh and sterile. Objective. Maybe this is what it feels like to get reacquainted with a neglected part of yourself.
Regardless, remembering hurts. I suppose it still amounts to more than convincing yourself there is nothing to remember at all.
And basements are fucking cool. They’re where all the weirdest furniture lives. They’re “underground” but not like, in a pretentious way. They keep you safe from tornados and undesirable family members. I think everyone should visit their basements more and remember to remember, whether it’s to learn, love, or let go. Take an L. All three have a positive outcome.