Let's be blunt I was a fat kid. I was at the very least the biggest girl in my class in elementary school and probably I was the biggest child. Back-to-school shopping was torture. My clothes came from the "Husky" section from my earliest memory and the selection pretty much sucked. Food was a reward, a friend, my comfort and solace. It was everything but a way to fuel my body. It helped me hide from the world.
One day little Kim went to gym class and Mr. B had the climbing ropes down. We had gone up the cargo net several weeks before that and some brave little kiddos had gone to the top of the rope and over then down the back side. Not little Kim, she climbed about halfway up before it got too hard to pull her body up, even with her feet to help. One by one she watched her classmates climb that rope and some even got a helping hand from Mr. B when they couldn't go any higher.
Then it was Kim's turn. She couldn't get off the ground and then her gym teacher, the one who called her his powerhouse every time they played kickball, told her "I'm sorry Kim. I can't help you, you're too big."
I'd like to be clear here. I am not angry that he said that. I'm not looking for sympathy. I am setting the stage for why what happened on Thursday, January 28, 2016 was so HUGE for me.
There were many others after Mr. B who made me feel bad, who told me in word and deed that I was not worth their time, energy or respect. That's the past though, living there, dwelling on the hurts physical and emotional won't change a thing. The wounds have scarred over and the truth is that my past needed to be exactly what it was to lead me to where I am now. To be where I am now I would go through it all again without question.
Let's speed this up and get to last night. For well over a year I have wanted to climb the rope at Pride Fitness Performance. Once a cowbell was installed that you could ring when you climbed the rope it was an obsession for me. I HAD to get up that rope. I. Had. To.
The deal was if I couldn't get up the rope before the end of January I would be facing 2000 meters on the rower (aka The Gold Star Machine). January 28 was the last buddy training session before the end January. It was do or die time and I knew it every second of the day. I was nauseated and scared. Walking into Pride yesterday afternoon was the hardest damn thing I've ever done. I really thought about not going, for about 5 minutes before I realized that ALL my coaches want and expect from me is my very best effort. If I didn't make it, but I did my best I would face the rower, but neither of them would be disappointed in me. Disappointed for me maybe, they both know how much I wanted to climb that rope, but not upset with me.
Yes, yes, yes: it is VERY important to me that I do not disappoint my coaches. I don't expect I am EVER going to get over that. I'm still a people pleaser. Fist bumps and high fives make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and I know I've done well. I am what I am.
My turn came way too soon. I chalked up and stood at the rope. Then I started. No problem getting on the first knot. Then I reached as high as I could and drew my knees up for that second knot. I sat on it for a few seconds gathering my thoughts and reminding myself that I could hang onto the rope long enough to get my feet on that second knot, I'd done it the week before after all. Without too much struggle I got to the second knot, then it was time for the third knot. Again I got my knees up on it and sat on it while I judged the distance to see if I might be able to reach the bell from there. Not quite so it was time to put my upper body strength to work.
I reached up and drew my knees up again. I didn't get my feet to the third knot, but I hung there thinking. I was pretty sure I could stretch enough to hit the cowbell. I pondered it, tried to get the third knot again, missed and rested. Then I decided. I was as high as I was getting at the moment and I could stretch enough. I reached up and whacked that bell. I'm not sure who was more surprised: my coach or me. Probably me.
I even managed to come down in a controlled manner. When I got down I got a high five from my buddy and a fist bump from my coach. He had the biggest smile and he told me he was proud of me. Damn him, I wasn't even too teary when I came down until he said that. Then it was blinking hard, biting the inside of my cheek so I didn't turn into a mess. I don't cry in front of people often, especially when there is an excellent chance I will become a blubbering mess if I let my control slip.
I climbed the rope a second time so there would be video proof that I made it. There were moments during the second climb that I was sure I wasn't ringing the cowbell again. I'm stubborn though and I wanted video proof.
I did it twice: it wasn't a fluke that I climbed the rope. I really was able to do it. The fat little girl I was might not have had the strength, or she didn't think she did, but 45 year old me who has sweated, trained, cried and bled did it.
I won't lie, it wasn't easy to get to last night. I wanted to quit, scream, punch the wall and walk away, but I didn't. When the going got tough I made a decision to see it through, to work as hard as I could. I was going to succeed. If I want to be a beast I have to work for it. I have to do what's hard and what I am not good at and I have to bring every ounce of stubbornness and determination I possess to bear every time. I need to dig deeper than ever and give my coaches what they ask of me when they ask for it, not just when I want to. I have the potential to be a beast, I believe I have the heart too.
I finished buddy training with a 1000 meter row and bent over plate rows and a hip bridge/crunch circuit for 5 rounds. Then I sat in the welcome area for a little bit. I was able to tell my other coach that I climbed the rope two times and get a high five from him. He looked pretty damn proud too. I finally went to my car and got in. I started the car and then the tears came. I was so happy, so proud of myself. I was utterly overwhelmed. I had to sit there for a few minutes and cry before I could drive. A part of me wanted to go seek comfort, but my coaches were teaching class by then and they give me enough of themselves and their time. Plus, I could not have explained what I was feeling to either of them, I didn't understand it myself. So I did what I do: I fought on my own.
I did it. I proved that hard work and perseverance do pay off. Maybe not on the time line I want, but it will happen. I've been told the knot-less rope is next. *GULP*
The video of my second rope climb is on the Pride Fitness Performance Facebook page and also on my page if you are interested in seeing it.
Thanks for reading!