The author, Gracyn Overstreet is a lady-boss, writer, climber, stellar cook, and amazing, awe-inspiring individual. This piece marks her writing debut.
The words, “the mind is a dangerous place” is the start to a friend of mines favorite saying. We all get a little caught up in our head spaces at times. Every once in a while I find my self climbing at least a grade easier then usual, but struggling through every move. It’s easy to shrink back inside ourselves. To wonder why we can’t link our moves, or sometimes even just get off the ground. It’s easy to ride on down the tracks of the self-judgment train. Our perspective shifts inward and we start to feel bad for ourselves, frustrated with our apparent innate lack of ability, and the worst, we start to compare ourselves at length with those around us. We put ourselves at the center of our little universe bubble and start questioning things like: why should I even climb if I’m so bad? How am I being shown up by the ten year old across the gym? We like to take it all the way to the big picture: Why is everyone so much better then me? I must suck at life, right? Wrong. We isolate ourselves into that mental space where we want to simultaneously be justified in our self-loathing, and also pulled out of it.
On days like this I try to get back in touch with the places and the people surrounding me. It’s not always pretty, and doesn’t magically make me climb harder or better. But, I am finding that I can have an amazing day climbing because I appreciate the people I’m with, or because it’s February and the sun is out and it’s actually warm. On those days when it’s not working out, I’m learning to put my climbing performance second. Climbing is a process and we are only human: patience is implied. Want to climb harder, better? Awesome; but these things take time and our bodies don’t simply respond to our wants, no matter how enthusiastic or hateful towards them we are. And maybe not sleeping last night, or missing breakfast, or being under stress all week, isn’t helping either. When we get stuck in that place inside ourselves its good to try to reach out. Pull away from all our negative thoughts and try to get back to the reality of the present moment. The way my friend puts it, “The mind is a dangerous place, if you go there take a friend.” Or even better, “just don’t go there.” Because even days that I’m not climbing well, are still days spent climbing.