CONQUERING FEAR LEADS TO SEXY WORKOUTS
I wasn’t always afraid of heights; in fact, I used to adore being atop towering skyscrapers or mountain passes, looking out at the world stretched below. But a series of traumatic events occurring in an abusive relationship led me to fear situations and activities that wouldn’t have fazed me ten years ago. Speed, height, open water, and large social gatherings began to cause significant psychological distress. So, a few months back, I signed up for a rock-climbing class, hoping that I could overcome my newfound nerves.
My class began with knot-tying skills and safety checks, but before I knew it, I was belted into a harness, staring up at a 40-foot climb.
Halfway up, I could feel panic setting in, despite knowing that I was safely secured by a strong nylon rope and industry-certified carabiner. I gritted my teeth and climbed higher. I took a couple of breaks when I found good footholds, breathing deeply while looking up rather than down. It wasn’t long before I found my rhythm and felt my muscles coming alive. By “coming alive” I mean “screaming in protest,” but still, these were muscles that hadn’t seen significant use since the summer of 1997, so it was a good pain.
My heart raced as I reached the top of the wall and slapped the colored tape at the edge of the ceiling. By the third climb, I was no longer nervous. In fact, I was bored with the route and looking for a new challenge: a steeper wall. Rappelling back down began to feel like a little reward for the hard work of getting up. The dread evaporated like a mist in the sun. Mission accomplished!
What I didn’t bargain for were the hidden benefits. Rather than being a deterrent, my newly calloused palms and aching shoulders spurred me to return to the gym again and again, eventually signing up for a membership and dragging my fiancé along with me.
Breaking out of our usually homebound existence was easier than expected. Instead of staring dully at the TV dinner, we’re at the gym, plotting our routes up the wall, offering each other tips and encouragement. I have to admit, it’s not just fun to climb with a partner that you are in love with; it’s downright sexy.
Meeting new people at the gym through classes and outings has been a major bonus, as my fiancé runs his own business and has had trouble with networking since moving to Seattle, a famously insular city. A fun form of exercise that challenges and rewards simultaneously wasn’t what I was expecting to find when overcoming my fear of heights, but it sure is a welcome bonus!