This is a layout I made last summer for Computer Tricks for Scrapbooking 3, raving about wanting to really tackle my fear of heights. This winter I decided that since I had reached the point where I could walk along a cliff or hang around at the top of the rock wall in the gym, I was ready to take a mountaineering class. Hah.
Last weekend our class went to Spire Rock, an outside rock climbing wall about an hour south of Seattle, and it became painfully obvious that I wasn’t ready after all. As it turns out, climbing on smooth, worn, mossy rock outside while wearing stiff mountaineering boots is 374 (approximately) times as terrifying as climbing inside with rock shoes that will stick to anything and huge, luxurious hand holds. When it was time to try rappelling, I couldn’t even take the first step off the “cliff”. I just had this vision in my head that my foot would slip and I would bang into the wall.
I spent all week trying to prepare (both mentally and physically) for our next outing to Spire. The first thing I did when we got there was get up on that rock, set up my rappel, take the first step…and then slip and bang straight into the rock. I rappelled down (rappelling itself is fun; it’s just that nothing in my mind or body wants to take that first step) and got right back on the horse…and slipped again, really banging into the rock again (my knee is still swollen, magnificently multi-colored and painful as all hell when I bend it, whine whine whine).
The rock was ridiculously slick from being marinated in a couple of days of rain, so people kept slipping and sliding and flipping over all day, but it was over for me. I can’t join the class for the climbs if I am that uncomfortable on rock. Lame.
I’m trying very hard not to dwell on the fact that I failed at something yet again, and that it is ok that I’m scared of heights. It’s not something that absolutely needs to be fixed, and there is a lifetime of non-sphincter tightening hiking to be had in Washington. But as much as the heights bother me, I think what really screwed things up for me this time was trying to learn this stuff in a large group of people where I felt like I could never measure up. And that’s really not good.
Number one lesson learned from the class – I have the self-esteem of a (really really insecure) gnat. And I don’t know where to even begin to fix it.