All through out my climbing career people have asked me what made me start climbing and why do I do it. I’m sure you’re reading this now thinking the same thing. The half assed answer I normally give people is “well I came to the gym once and really feel in love with the sport”. Well that answer isn’t wrong but it’s also not true. The real reason is a bit longer of a story that I haven’t really told until now. The reason I never shared with people was so dark and I didn’t want to re-live the past. I wasn’t okay with the past because of how harsh it was. I was scared by it. It wasn’t until recently that I have come to terms with the past and am somewhat okay with sharing it with others. Maybe some people will learn from my story.
It all started about three years ago. I was dating a guy named Jeff and we had nothing to do on a Friday night. A friend of mine invited us to go to the local rock gym with her and her boyfriend and we agreed to go. It was our first time being there and we had a blast. Since that day I continued to go either with friends or alone. One night I was there with a friend and I had just came off a wall. Tired, I threw myself on the ground and I thought to myself “wow, I really love this place and everything about climbing”. That’s when it became more than a hobby to me, it became a passion.
About a year later Jeff had bought a house for us and I moved in. I continued to climb at the gym and he even came with me every now and again. We even got belay certified. However, there was a slight problem, climbing with him wasn’t a lot of fun. Since I moved in with him he became a completely different person. He became controlling, possessive, emotionally and physically abusive. He picked and chose when I could go to bed, come home and even eat (which only made me binge eat when I wasn’t with him). He was insecure and in the gym he was a sore loser. If he or I wasn’t climbing harder than the person next to us he would throw a hissy fit and drag me out of the gym with him. I would then get screamed at because I wasn’t climbing like them and I was weak. I’m a very laid back, down to earth person and to me that wasn’t cool. You don’t do that in the gym, it’s not a competition with other people, it’s all about conquering yourself, not others and people took notice of his poor behavior. He was 29 years old and the time but acted like he was 12.
I told Jeff that if he was going to continue to act like that than I didn’t want him to climb with me anymore. He had a chance to fix his attitude and he chose not to. The emotional and physical abuse didn’t end and I still don’t want to go too much into detail with it. I was a vegetarian for 12 years at the time and he had gone as far as telling me that if I didn’t start eating meat he would leave me. So like an idiot I started eating meat even though I didn’t want to. At first eating meat made me sick but I had to deal with it. I guess that shows how dedicated I could be. It was only a matter of time until I feel into a deep depression and started to lose myself and every thing that I was. I was in a dark place I didn’t think I could ever get out of. I wasn’t aloud to hang out with other people and have fun. There were a few friends I could see but not too many. The only place I could go without being accused of cheating was the rock gym because he somewhat understood my passion.
Going to the rock gym was the only place I could go that he was okay with. Climbing at the gym pulled me from the dark place and made me happy. It was the happiest I had been in a while when I was there. I would forget all about the negativity in my life and it was just me, the wall and some of the great people who were there. I was accused of cheating a few times but I just ignored it. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a cheater. I would never hurt someone the way I was hurt in the past and I wouldn’t wish that emotional torture on anyone. Apparently he was too insecure to get that. I lived with Jeff for about 7 months until July of 2015. We had got into a heated argument because he wouldn’t come out to dinner with some of our friends (he was invited and said he would go a week before). He told me he didn’t want me to go either and his reason was that he wanted to stay in and play video games. I told him I was going regardless. As I was walking out the door he called me a “fat fucking bitch”. I will never forget that. Never in my life has anyone said anything so rude to me and it was coming from the person I “loved”. I cried all that night when I was out because I just couldn’t believe it. If you care about someone you don’t say that. He obviously didn’t care he was just obsessive and that’s when I knew I had to leave. My mother and I had talked about it for months before but that was the last straw.
I moved back home but when I moved back home I realized that I was broken. I had been abused, belittled and made to feel as if I didn’t matter for over a year and it took it’s toll on me. I wasn’t me anymore, I was an empty shell of myself with low self esteem. I weighed around 120 pounds before I moved in with Jeff and I had weighed close to 140 when I left him. That wasn’t okay. Climbing was all I had left and I knew it was going to take time and a lot of work to feel like myself again. That summer after we broke up was when I started taking climbing seriously and getting into a lot of outdoor climbing and bouldering. I started eating healthy again and realized how depression made me binge eat when Jeff wasn’t around to tell me not too. It was a abad idea but depression makes you do crazy things. I lost the 20 pounds that I gained ( I have to thank Herablife for that one) and spent more time in the gym. Even with a broken thumb I watched my climbing grades grow. Climbing helped me find myself when I didn’t think I ever would and made me happy again. I regained my self esteem and am finally very happy with myself. I even recently earned a sponsorship with Onsight Gear which made me ecstatic. Climbing was there for me when no one else and saved me from the darkest place. I have grown extremely fond of the sport and what it has done for me and that is why I climb and will continue to climb. A year ago I would never have thought that I would accomplish what I have. I climb because I want to show people that anything is possible as long as you are happy and will powered. I have had zero training from anybody and am completely self dependent. You just need to trust in yourself.
Since last July I haven’t dated anyone since. I really wanted to focus on bettering myself and making myself happy again. I literally took me almost a year but I think I have succeeded. You can’t make someone happy unless you are totally happy with yourself first. I would say I’m ready to date again but it’s tough finding someone I click with. Since everything I have been through I also want to take things slow and keep my guard up but I am willing to take it down. I’m really shy and usually don’t approach guys, I wait for them to approach me so it may be while but I’m also not going to search. When the time is ready then I guess I’ll know but in the mean time, climb on!