Pushing Towards the Edge

For those who know me, I’ve always pushed myself to see how far I could go before tipping over the (metaphorical) edge. Some may call this ambition, some may call it reckless; to be honest, it’s a bit of both. At the moment, this attitude manifests itself most readily in my rock climbing. It is one of those things I love about the sport; that you can push yourself both mentally and physically towards that next hold on that damned project route or hopping onto a route a grade above your usual level with no expectations but to see how far you can get. That thirst, that high of tip toeing that line, pushing the line is addictive. However, if this attitude remains unchecked, tumbling off that edge is only half a toe away and the consequences of falling can be pretty bad. Most recently, it seems that I’ve taken that extra half a toe and fallen off that cliff. Part of it comes with my competitive nature with others but most of it comes from the need to prove something to myself, that perhaps I am just as good, as worthy as the next person. A few weeks ago, at the end of my BC climbing trip, we decided to spend a day climbing at Lake Louise. I had just started lead climbing (for those who don’t climb, it’s when you bring draws with you, clip at existing bolts along the route and bring the rope up to that point) and had actually just failed the lead test at my climbing gym in Edmonton. However, I had done a couple routes outside and they had gone decently well; I was terrified every time but always managed to push pass that fear. It was an interesting mindset to be in..to be absolutely afraid but zened out at the same time, to have that determination break through but oddly enough, not disturb that ‘zen haze’. Anyways, I digress. I had just sent a 5.10a at Skaha on top rope without any falls and takes, cleanly led a gnarly 5.9 that my other mates bailed on…I was feeling pretty driven to keep pushing the grade. I hopped onto a 5.10a for lead; already the beginning was daunting with 10-15 feet of rock face between the first bolt and ground. As I began climbing, I was absolutely terrified; my belay partner told me that I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t want to..but I had to..something just drove me forward. It went relatively well until I got to the crux part of the route; I was about a meter from my last draw and didn’t know where to go …so after hanging out for a while at that spot, I said, fuck it and went for it blindly. I missed the hold and took the fall, but for some reason, I swung out and ended up smacking my head and couple other body parts against the rock. Yet, when I hung from the rope, dazed, I still considered continuing..even though I was worried about my head. It wasn’t my head that stopped me from continuing though, it was the fact that I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot. Later, my climbing mate said that I possessed immense courage and ambition but lacked the experience to mitigate the risks. He’s right. Pushing forward and driving those boundaries has led me to experience amazing things. But at those moments when I fall over the edge, I’ve had to accept the responsibility and subsequently, the consequences that accompanied my actions. Taking an injury while climbing is one consequence that is relatively obvious. However, this ‘edge’ attitude manifests itself in all aspects of my life, including my personal life. For those who know me, I’m flirtatious individual. I like to push to see if I can get a reaction from the opposing side sometimes. Rarely is it anymore than sheer fun for both the other person and I but …there have been those moments where I’ve been called out on it, questioned as to I was seriously about following through with my lofty, suggestive comments. Sometimes, I want to see how far I can hold off on certain things. But this fall, is the worst. I hate failure. For me, I always want to believe that there’s a solution to the problem(s) at hand and that with enough work and effort, the solution can be found and implemented. But I’m learning that some things aren’t meant to be fixed or perhaps, meant to be. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I hate backing down. In my last relationship, I worked so hard to try and make it work..but it wasn’t working. The foundation wasn’t there for us to build on even though we genuinely loved each other. With my climbing mate, our friendship has hit weird spots, some lows and some highs; it’s been a roller coaster.  As much as I want us to be friends, even at arm’s length, it doesn’t seem possible for him to invest in it. Yet I continued to hang around, wondering whether or not I could break past that shell of his. However, I have to question my motives: whether or not I truly care for the friendship or because I hate failing. When it comes to relationships, I have a hard time discerning between the two.
Is it really failure that matters? You and I have both heard that no, it isn’t. It’s whether or not you can pick your shit up, learn from said failure and move on.

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