Whatever You Do, Don't Look Down

On October 16th, I celebrated my 24th birthday! #MambaYear Thank you for all of the love and birthday wishes!

I spent a lot of time not only celebrating but reflecting on the year I’ve had. It’s true when they say so much can change in a year!

My 23rd birthday came with a lot of stress while trying to maneuver through being a recent college graduate, relationships/friendships and a job that was trying on my mental health. My word for 23 and 2017 was discipline.

This year, I found my word after an adventurous birthday surprise thanks to my parents.

Yesterday, I took on a challenge that I never thought I would face: rock climbing.

My parents took me to The Gravity Vault in Hoboken and I felt a mix of excitement and uncertainty once I knew what we’d be doing. I’m not afraid of heights but like I said before, this wasn’t something I was waiting to check off of my bucket list

I watched the other people who were climbing. One woman was making her way around a wall without assistance! I watched as she climbed, clipped herself in, climbed and clipped again and so on and so forth. It was inspiring yet nerve-racking.

Luckily as novices, we would have help. Our guide started us on an easy wall. After climbing and reaching the top, my adrenaline was pumping! I was ready to take on whatever wall was thrown at me. That was until my body started to get tired.

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On the 6th and final wall I almost broke. I was stuck. Trapped in one area hanging over 45 feet from the ground trying to think of ways to strategically move through the wall.

On average a climber’s heart rate goes about 132 beats/minute. Mine felt like it doubled.

I tried again and again to get past that one part of the wall and nothing seemed to work. I was fatigued. My legs were shaking, my palms were sweating like crazy and seemed to slip on every rock. I reached for the bag of chalk attached to my hip to help my grip and then proceeded to wipe the sweat out of my eye with chalky hands.

Great. Now I’m half blind, eyes tearing from chalk and I’m still stuck in the same spot.

My mind was racing. I came too far to give up now. I pushed my body to points that I didn’t even think it could reach. I slowed my breathing and after what felt like 20 minutes, I launched myself upward, reaching and gripping onto rocks for dear life. Once I had the momentum I couldn’t be stopped. Panting and full of energy, I reached the top. Once I got back down to solid land I laid out and let out a laugh of relief.

I did it. I felt such a surge of satisfaction that my fatigue seemed to disappear.

Rock climbing taught me a very important lesson.

If you really, really want something you need to go for it. No matter what challenges you face. No matter how tired you get. No matter how many times your mind and your body tells you to stop, you must keep going. Sometimes the first path you choose won’t work. Sometimes the second and third options are a bust. Regroup and push through. The end result is worth it!

So what’s my word?

Resilience.

Everything negative - pressure, challenges - is all an opportunity for me to rise.
— Kobe Bryant

Bulls Jacket By: Nineiseven