Constrictions of Fear

Up until a few days ago, I began to forget my reasons behind Dancing with the Dirt. It wasn’t until a high school friend reached out to me for advice did I remember the bigger picture of my journey: self-exploration, internal to external, by means of travelling alone (specifically building self-efficacy and learning to accept myself and my shortcomings).

Dedicated to the dreamers, the non-traditional way of living, and to liberating oneself from the constrictions of fear. Feel with your emotions, create human connection, and live life in all of its entirety.

My hope for Dancing with the Dirt is that by sharing my journey with the world it can spark the ambitions that were thought to be too grand for life, to encourage the dreams of the inner child to be heard, and to inspire individuals to grow into the person they strive to be while accepting who they are in the moment.

Courage and El Capitan
Courage and El Capitan

Recently, while climbing, I have been battling fear and anxiety. A 5.8 route named Bishop’s Terrace had me on the verge of an anxiety attack and it wasn’t because the route was hard. The rational part of my mind knew that I was physically capable of doing the climb yet, fear and anxiety were literally crippling my abilities. I was climbing for the first time with a new climbing partner, Junior, and when I was about a third of the way up the route I came across an offwidth, a crack in the rock that is wider than the hands and often requires sticking limbs in to hold yourself up. I was following with a rope filled backpack and began to panic. My heart rate escalated but I tried to calm myself down with deep breaths. I focused on my breathing as I pulled on gear to help inch my way up the crack. My voice trembled as I yelled up to my partner that I wanted to bail. Never before did I think those words would come out of my mouth but there they were. I was not in the head space to be climbing. I fought back tears and did my best to suppress the panic I felt rising in me. Junior was amazingly encouraging and patient but the poor guy just wanted to climb on his day off and instead was dragging me up the wall. Finally I was secured at the first belay station and it was agreed that Junior would climb up to the bolts so that he could set up the rappel. Shame pulsed through my veins, not imposed by others but by myself. I knew I could do the climb but fear had its grips around me. I hung there belaying Junior and from below I hear, “Wooo! Amanda!” The encouraging voice of Yuval. He had no idea I was battling fear and anxiety but his familiar voice gave rise to a small voice inside me that would not allow me to bail. I yelled up to Junior that I’d climb the rest of the route and I did.

I keep asking myself why my own will power wasn’t enough to keep me climbing through the anxiety and my only thought is that my fear of not meeting the expectations of others, Yuval in this case, outweighed disappointing myself. This expectation I felt I had to meet was created in my own mind. Yuval and I both knew I could do the climb but he wasn’t going to judge me for bailing. The question is “How am I going to liberate myself from the constrictions of fear when no one else is around?” or perhaps the better question is “Why am I placing unnecessary pressure on myself to prove my worth to others?”

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