pressing upwards

i'm back at the wall, notching my fingers into textured plastic bolted onto painted wood. the rough edges scrape my knuckles; a bandaid barely keeps a recent abrasion from complaining.

it feels rough, at first, taking effort to contain my frustration when i struggle with grades that i floated across the week before. progress is not predictably linear. it's about finding what's worth working on in the moment.

i'm in love with slabs. i'm in love with the tenuous balance, the delicate footwork, trusting that things that normally feel like utter trash will support my weight better because gravity is slightly in my favor. i'm in love with catching my breath when i look down at my toes and realize that if i slip, i'm hitting every god damned nubbin on my way down before i smash into the mats.

but, today, i worked on overhangs. nothing makes me feel weak and pathetic the way overhangs do. it's an endless series of pullups, really, where i don't have the ability to rely on my high steps and gastons that help me make up for being short and weak. it's. just. pulling. the falls are always clean. the moves are always longer than they look at first. the falls are always clean, except when i throw for a high hold and have to quick-tuck my arms so i don't snap them under me when i come off.

i always expect to fall. i always expect to miss a hold. i always expect to sweat through a tense grip.

once, i hit the mat and stayed there for a moment, because the way i landed put my gaze in the perfect position to stare at the move i missed and contemplate my life choices. 'that was exciting,' the route-setter said when he walked by and heard my body smash into the canvas.

i like that feeling, because it's an unambiguous failure to complete the task, and i know how to get up and try again.

28 September 2018 22:23

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