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Reflections and Growth

Devastated. It is such a dramatic word; but I can’t think of a better word to describe how I feel right now.

I just got the worst result compared to expectations of my climbing career, at a time when I am supposed to be exceeding my achievements of the past.

How can I go into a comp feeling so strong, confident, and psyched, and come away… devastated?  How can I look at all of my training over the past 18 months and justify all the time, energy, money, and sacrifices, when my result was so far from acceptable it’s laughable.

I can’t sleep because when I close my eyes, the competition is dancing behind my eyelids.  Exhausted from crying, and the sudden release of all the adrenalin from the lead up and preparation, my whole being begs for sleep; but no matter how close I get while distracting myself through books or movies, as soon as I close the book or stop the movie, the comp comes dancing back.  And when I do drift off, I wake in the night to more scenes of climbing. Reliving the problems in my head, visualizing different beta that could have worked, remembering the devastation of finding out that I didn’t make semi-finals.

And then I think of others.  I don’t feel the pressure of all the people behind me leading into a competition. I only feel their support.  It’s amazing feeling like you have an army of people lifting you up. And I was feeling good going in – confident, positive, psyched – what more can you ask for?  But on the other side, now, I can’t help but feel that I’ve let them down. That perhaps their belief in me will waver, that I’ve disappointed them. Because I disappointed myself.

And I don’t really know what went wrong.  Things weren’t perfect in the lead up to competing – either in the days beforehand, or the hours, or the minutes – but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. And although I was pissed off about some of the things related to the comp organization, it was stuff that was out of my control and I let it go. I feel like I did a great job throughout the round of letting go of the shit that came before, and each problem was a fresh start.  But in the end it didn’t matter. What I brought… what I did… wasn’t good enough.

I’m still not ready to speak about this yet. It’s too raw – possibly the worst ‘defeat’ of my competition career – and I think I need to give myself some extra space.  Uncharacteristically, I don’t think I can attend semis. Usually I would want to be there, give back by judging or scrubbing, or just cheering. I love supporting others and it’s important to me to help them celebrate their successes and to raise them to the next level – even if I can’t be there with them.  But today I just can’t. I can’t face the conversation, the pity (what is surely compassion, but I feel as pity); I can’t bring myself to interact with the community that has shown me nothing but support and love and caring, because I am in too much pain.

First world problems. But we take what we are given.  And my life right now is devoted to achieving in competitions.  And I didn’t do that. I am mentally and physically stronger that I ever have been before.  I thought I was more resilient too. I guess that remains to be seen. The only thing I can do is try to separate my performance from my self-worth, my result from the big picture of my journey.  But I am not there yet…