Saturday, March 21, 2009

Climbing the Walls

I've started a running list of things I want to write about. I can't believe how much I've missed this. Most of the list contains what will- I hope- be cathartic posts for me about my infertility, my divorce and how the two coincide. I could start now. I mean, my divorce hearing is on Monday. Perhaps some background on how I got here is well deserved. But I just don't have it in me today to draw from that deep dungeon within myself where I've shoved all of the grief and sadness and loss and tried to lock it away. Well, it's not really that deep anymore, or that secure. The grief, sadness, and loss have banded together to engineer an escape and with houdini-esque skill have managed to start eeking out of their confines. It's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. It might be better to write it out before that happens. But, like I said, I just don't have it in me today... it will just have to wait for another day.

Today I feel more like writing about one of the ingredients I DO happen to have in my pantry. Hobbies I enjoy. I've always enjoyed reading, but beyond that I've never really had hobbies. X and I enjoyed cooking together, but that's about it. There were always things I wanted to do, but for reasons I don't feel like getting into now (um, but they pretty much start with "X") never did. So after he left last year, I went for it. The first thing I did was sign up for a martial arts class. This was amazing on several levels. The first and foremost being that I, while almost impossible to shut up once you know me, am painfully shy and reserved in new situations. The fact that I signed up for a class knowing absolutely no one was a pretty impressive feat. The second piece of amazingness is that I, in my entire previous 33 years from that moment, had never willingly participated in any athletic activity just because I wanted to. I mean, occasionally in the past I'd have a couple of months where I'd go to the gym, or take up running for a month, or try step aerobics... but that was always to lose some extra poundage- it was never for fun. The point is, I was (am) not athletic by nature.

So, I started taking martial arts. Then, I found out a group from work met once a week to play tennis- which I also always wanted to learn- so I started doing that. And, because I was sucking wind during some of the martial arts training, I also took up running again- and stuck with it this time. I think that aside from doing what I wanted to do for the first time in a long time, this surge into athletic activities also gave me a sense of control over the only thing I felt I still had control over- my body. Which is incredibly ironic since I spent 7 years feeling like I had absolutely no control over my body at all, what with all of the drugs and exams and not being pregnant or not staying pregnant. But now I did have control over at least that, while everything else in my life seemed to crumble around me. So, I threw myself into the activities with gusto and had a great time. And, hey, it has other fringe benefits... I'm now looking pretty fit and since I am single again, I do have to consider what I look like naked. Oh, and um... I guess a healthier heart and stronger bones and... um... I'm sure there are other health benefits that are good, too. (But mostly I'm digging the naked thing. I'm pretty vain.)

Some of these activities slacked off over the winter. Tennis took a hiatus around November and is just starting to get ramped up if it ever stops raining. Running I tried to stick with through the winter, but I just refuse to run if it's actually freezing out.... or raining. I'm just not that dedicated to it, but Spring is trying to break through and running will pick up again. But, pretty much only martial arts has been consistent through the past few months. I'm not sure if that just wasn't enough and a need to do more had something to do with my newest obsession, or if it was just the serendipitous conversation with someone who mentioned he was going rock climbing, or if it was a combination of both, but I thought it looked like a lot of fun so I decided to try it and now I am addicted to it.

I'm currently climbing at an indoor climbing gym. I definitely want to try outside climbing once the weather begins to cooperate. But for the moment it's indoors- which is just dandy for me while I figure out what I'm doing. I've found- just like virtually everything that requires any skill at all- good climbers make it look easy. They are so graceful and fluid and they look weightless. I, on the other hand, am awkward and ungainly and look like I'm lumbering up the wall with a backpack full of lead shot. But in spite of the fact that I climb like a monkey with a mom and dad that are also its aunt and uncle, it's incredibly fun.

I think what I like so much is that it is so completely engaging. You work every muscle in your body at once, and unlike doing mindless reps on machines at the gym, you're brain is working, too, as you try to figure out the puzzle of how you are going to get up the wall on the particular route you are on. And I'm not sure what it is about the climbing community, but everyone is so helpful... I suppose because they enjoy it so much that they want to share that enjoyment- so they're happy to offer tips and wait patiently as I slowly make my way up the wall trying to figure out what I'm doing. I've only been doing it a short while, but already I'm getting stronger and am getting slightly better at applying some actual technique to my climbing which makes it a bit more muscularly efficient. I spent a few hours climbing today and for the first time do not feel like my arms might fall off, which is pretty exciting. I'm hoping to look like a monkey with parents who are first cousins rather than siblings soon.

So, like all the activities I've attempted in the past year, I'm really glad I tried it. Climbing is definitely going to be a lasting hobby. It's too fun to give up. Plus, tank top season is coming up and my arms are going to look like Trinity's in The M@trix.

(Um, I mentioned the vanity thing, didn't I?)


Zee said...

Yay you! I'm filled with admiration for your bravery, esecially with the rock climbing. That and the putting yourself out there with new people. (I'm shy and awkward with new people too, although a blabbermouth when you get to know me.) And I totally get the whole body thing. Since it's become clear that I'm probably never going to get my body to bear a child, I've also begun trying to get in shape, or just do things that make me feel good about my body. It's cool that you're doing all those good things for yourself. When things fall apart, it helps so much to find (or rediscover) things that get you started on putting yourself back together.

Queenie. . . said...

Go you! You really sound like you are on the right track with your life. I've always wanted to try climbing, and you might have just inspired me. I want those kind of arms, too!

Good luck tomorrow at your hearing. I hope that when you walk out the courthouse door, all you feel is peace.