Getting back into climbing is like getting back into anything, I suppose. You decide you’re going to do it and you throw yourself back into it. You lower your standards for your performance and you cut yourself some slack and you just try. Or at least that’s what I do.
A new bouldering gym opened near my house and it’s changed my Seattle life for the better. Climbing is a sport that has challenged me to get over myself and truly just try. I had gone climbing several times in the last several years, but I really started putting consistent effort into it a couple weeks after my diagnosis in March of 2010. I threw myself into a class and I threw myself into a community of people and I threw myself into a “dangerous” sport to counteract the “dangerous” diagnosis I had just received. (Hey. We all grieve in different ways.) It was then that I was honored to start writing for asweetlife.org and it was through these foggy, groggy chunks of time that I was able to start processing what it meant to live with diabetes.
Climbing became a big part of my life and even a metaphor for navigating my path with Type I. I respect the sport a great deal, just as I do people who climb, and people who happen to prick their fingers before climbing. I’ve made good friends over juice boxes and I’ve gotten to know the gym staff by asking–every single time upon entering the gym–if my bag of emergency supplies is behind the front desk. It’s amazing to me the ways that climbing and blogging and diabetes have overlapped and interwoven to create a life of earnest reflection for me.
And, in honor of those first climbing days, those first writing days, those first finger-pricking days, I present you with a little piece of history:
A documentary we made for my grandma, who had no concept of rock climbing.
And a few shots of what this new gym has allowed me to contemplate:
The holds are brand new, but the reaching is familiar. The floors are clean, but my shoes are nice and chalky. The front desk staff members are different in name, but love juice boxes all the same. (Seriously, what is it about juice boxes that gets twenty-somethings all excited?) Thank you, Grandma, for asking me to explain the climbing thing. Now, if I could just explain this diabetes thing…