The first thing you will notice is their impeccable timing.
A drift of one limb after another in exquisite motion.
A dichotomy of strength and fluidity that your mind almost can’t fathom; Floating, and yet joined to a wall askew.
Today, I am under the tutelage of these great women climbers, but by far, my favorite part is watching them navigate their route. They are locals in my new city of Roseburg who are giving me an opportunity to challenge my body and mind in new directions.
I’m an obstacle course racer who prides herself on her upper body strength, and her growing mental tenacity with physical feats. But the agility, athleticism and power necessary to succeed in bouldering are a whole different game.
It gets me thinking how true the saying is about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes: We are tempted to judge others not knowing where they come from and who they are. And we’re reminded often not to do so.
But today, I’m judging myself.
“I am ridiculously clunky. Inept. Weak. Bungling at every reach.”
“How come her body looks like this, and mine looks like that?”
“She makes it looks so easy, and I can barely hang on.”
“Why do I feel like I weigh a thousand pounds, and she looks light as a feather?”
It’s easy to compare ourselves with others, and expect to be at their level.
I have met so many women who won’t show up in the gym because they think they should look or feel like someone else. But I am convinced, however, that most of the judgment they feel is their own.
We forget our circumstances are 100% unique. No one knows where we came from or who we are. No one knows our personal triumphs and struggles and the path we took to get there. No one knows who or what got in the way of helping us be our best selves on this day, today.
At this gym, with these people, I’m pretty confident no one expected me to be more than what I was demonstrating.
I’m pretty confident that their interest in helping me was not because they thought I was hopeless.
I’m pretty confident that our sister-bonding will come as a result of each of us celebrating our triumphs.
I’m pretty confident that our personal growth will only improve by allowing one another to be who we are and no one else.
We have so many marvelous lessons ahead of us to make us stronger and more amazing than we ever thought we could have seen in ourselves, and especially so in community.