Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Just Adrenaline

So, in this entry I get a little bit gushy.  This is not uncharacteristic of me at all, but it's something I've been trying, relatively, to stay away from here.  Be warned.

Yesterday I went on a very spectacular rock climbing trip.

I'm an old hat at rock climbing--which is not the same thing at saying I'm good at it, because I'm really, staunchly, mediocre--so I can differentiate a spectacular climbing day from a not-so-spectacular one.

My completely awesome, competent, confident, intelligent, extroverted and slightly adrenaline-junkie friend (do I seem jealous?), also severely underemployed, has been climbing with me a lot lately.  You may have heard about her in my last entry about climbing and car accidents.  Since, as severely underemployed and getting over the loss of college-inflated self-importance people are not short on time if we are on money, there are ample opportunities for this.  More specifically, we've been getting into *lead* climbing, which, if you've done it, you'll know is a whole 'nother world from normal rock climbing.  More so to people like me than said competent, confident, intelligent yadda yadda friend, who has so far taken it in stride.

Unlike me, who sweats and hyperventilates and shakes hysterically and swears (but haven't teared up yet) my way through it.

Well.  We had found a nice moderate route to lead, and we were both going to do it.  I was in a state that can best be described as morosely immature, because I'd just been rejected for yet again another job in the same sentence that I was reassured that I really had been such an excellent candidate (yet again on the excellent candidate part of the rejection, too).  So even though knowing better (I'm a Challenge By Choice professional, after all, even if only barely employed as such), even though knowing myself, I looked at the route and let her go first.

She did okay.  There was a spot where she slipped, grabbed the rock, and had to breath hard for a few minutes, which is probably on the level of a nervous-break-down for most other people.  She succeeded of course, without falling,  and then it was my turn to climb the thing.  I had to follow her first, to take out the gear she'd put in.

I learned that that was a mistake, because I went from feeling reasonably pumped about doing it lead, to vehemently proclaiming that I would *not* lead it once I'd gotten to the top.  I should have just had her take her own gear down and be do with without realizing what I was getting into.

It wasn't a hard route, but it was slabby face (like, rock face) climbing.  Imagine an almost vertical wall, with minuscule finger holds and little ripples that your feet may or may not stick to.   That fear-factor, that lizard-brain, was kicking into overtime, even though, like I said, I'm a old hat at climbing.  It's the kind of climbing where you can't stop and think, you can't really plan, you just hold on and move by god before you lose the grip and delicate balance that you have.  And deal with the adrenaline.

I'm actually really good at that kind of climbing relative to other kinds, and I find it very satisfying.

But I am a hesitater, and that's why my stomach dropped at the notion of leading the route.  I can handle a lead fall.  Okay, the concept is still scary, but I've taken moderate falls, and I trust the equipment.  Taking a lead fall would probably be damn good for me, because then I wouldn't be afraid of it.  I always feel better after falling and feeling the safety device--the rope--catch me.  A lead fall just involves a longer interval before that happens.

But that feeling.  Of hanging by very little, and of not being able to take time to *think* about it, of just having to act, and like I said, you can't fool your lizard-brain with a silly safety rope.  It's only adrenaline...but I am not an adrenaline junkie.   I have such performance anxiety issues.  I can't take risks, I want to stop and analyze and make sure I'm not *wrong*.  If I'd lead that, there would be no time for right or wrong.  Just action.

I don't want to give up my love of hesistation.

Of course, this can become a metaphor for grander things.  I do hard work in my job search, but I do hesitate before I make phone calls.  I do plan conversations meticulously.  I do hate to look the fool, sound the fool, perform poorly in front of others.  I take actions to avoid having to perform at something...and fail publicly.

Who's afraid of failure?  Who is, consequently, treating this latest rejection with what moping woe-is-me histrionics, considering it a failure even though it really is nothing personal and may in fact just be that they didn't consider their budget well enough?  Who is taking this "failure" as an indication of doom into repeated, future failure, just a little bit?

Who always has to frikkin hesistate before speaking up, sharing, asking questions, taking risks?


And loads of other human beings.

Don't worry, I am going to go back and lead climb that thing soon.  I hope I do fall, because that will be the best lesson.

I did and do really want that job though, not some other one.  I guess that is their loss.

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