Posts Tagged ‘Confidence’

Falling away…

February 27th, 2013 Comments off

And… down to earth again.

This weekend past, I went on a lead climbing course. Indoor rock climbing is usually what is called top rope climbing. When top roping, the rope goes up from the climbers harness to a pulley at the top of the face, then down again to the belayer, who will pull it through a belay device that generates friction. If your belayer is doing their job properly, when the climber comes off the wall, they will fall at worst, up to a meter, depending on rope stretch.

Lead climbing does away with the pulley. In this system the rope goes straight from the climber to the belayer, and the climber clips the rope into a series of carabiners called quickdraws anchored to the wall as they ascend. This means that if the quickdraws are two meters apart, and the climber falls just as they are trying to clip in the rope, they will fall at least four meters, plus whatever slack they had, plus rope stretch. Five or six meters is not uncommon.

This is of course, far more dangerous than top roping. For this reason, climbing gyms often require far more stringent tests before they allow you to lead climbing – hence the course.

Which I failed.

The given cause was that my rope handling was not up to par when ascending. The real reason was that I freaked out. Again. And this time I couldn’t blame the promethazine. I was fine until I hit the overhang, where upon my mammalian hind brain noticed the signals coming in from my inner ear that indicated I was nearly upside down with nothing below me and told my forebrain driven consciousness to go to the back of the line and started dumping adrenalin in my blood stream like a drug smuggler being pursued by the coast guard.

This is not the correct response to hanging on to precarious holds with one hand and trying to clip a rope into carabiner hanging on another rope with the other. In fact, it’s pretty much the worst thing possible. My hands shook so much that I was unable to clip the rope into the carabiner. After the fourth or fifth attempt, with legs cramping, my forearms full of lactic acid, and my hands shaking and sweating so much that I couldn’t even get the rope to touch, let alone clip into the carabiner, I was forced to announce that I was falling – and let go…

Categories: Life Tags: , , ,

365 Days of Australia

January 30th, 2013 Comments off

Today marks my one year anniversary of arriving in Australia. In that time, I have found jobs, made friends, and more. I have tried and dropped various hobbies, rediscovered old ones, organised and let groups go. I cursed the time zone differences, travelled back and forth to New Zealand twice, and have spent more time in Airports than is healthy.

It’s been a busy year. I know that more than a few people wondered what happened to me. I already knew that I was terrible at keeping up with people, worse when they didn’t live in the same city as me, as it turns out, more still when the distance and time zone differences add up.

So was it a good idea? Was uprooting my entire life, and jetting to a city with no job, no place to live, and no support network to fall back on a good idea?


Part of wishes I had done this sooner. Part of me also knows that I didn’t believe in myself enough to do so.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. I’ve forced myself to do things that scare me. To walk into a room of people I don’t know and make friends, to make plans that will probably fail and try anyway, and to actually get into my bed and go to sleep when I know there’s a medium size unidentified Australian spider under it somewhere.

I knew I’d made a breakthrough in my own personal confidence and determination (some would say stubbornness) when I managed to finish a three pitch outdoor climb while suffering from drug-induced* anxiety and vertigo.

I figure if I can do that, I can do anything.

* Promethazine, aka. Phenergan. Ironically, for most people it can be used to treat these ailments, and help with insomnia. In my case, it apparently makes them worse and keeps me up until 3am.