Walls we Climb

Staring at the screen before me, endlessly morphing faces and changing voices, it kept me there, transfixed into a deep lul, neither growing nor regressing, a perfect channel filled with nothing in an empty package. I was still, my spirit was still, filled with static, calm without peace. A notification popped up on my phone as if it were to interrupt this stillness. A coworker of mine was invited to go rock climbing with some acquaintances, and he did not want to be among too unfamiliar a company, so he extended the invitation to me. I became an unwitting participant. Staring at the 15-foot wall, I decided to go forward, scaling a more difficult route, and I began by placing my feet on the proper holds, both hands where they were meant to be. One step at a time, reaching for what's just barely in my reach. Placing my right foot on the hold that was between my knees. Grabbing that U-shaped rock by stretching my body to its limit. Bringing myself up, until the final rocks of the route are at my hand. Looking down, bracing myself for the fall, and letting go. A fall, cushioned, a surreal feeling washed over me, in spite of my tired body, my mind was more than ready to tackle the next route. Hours later my body could barely move, even forming a closed fist was difficult, and when forced, painful. This pain couldn't even bother me, and as I left the bouldering wall, and went home I decided to do something more with my time. I had come to the realization, a simple one, yet one that rarely presents itself, the viability of failure. I didn't succeed every time I tackled a new route, sometimes falling midway, sometimes right at the beginning. I could feel myself becoming discouraged at times, but that feeling was supplemented with determination. The determination to eventually conquer that wall, and move on to the next one. I had come to realize that in my own life, I had come to forgo those difficult walls, the hard problems that life gives you. I grew discouraged by the initial failings, while at the same time envying those who had seemed to naturally excel. Only by falling again and again, and seeing others fall with me, did I realize there was not a single person who was the best from the beginning, we all learn from our falls more than our rises. The line that divides the competent from the incompetent is if we rise back up after we fall. I remember the first time I tried to play the piano, and considering I was only at the tender age of 7, you can only imagine the beautiful melodies I produced, which is to say, none. I stopped playing after the first time I touched the keys, yet years later, I decided it was an appropriate time to start playing again. I had no nuance, no accents, nothing to speak of, I fell over and over, stumbling upon the keys, yet it was when I struggled past my failings that I began to truly learn. That's when we learn, when we accept our failures and move past them, to gleam lessons from our falls and use them to climb just a little bit higher than before, one step at a time, one outstretched hand at a time, and one note at a time. Failures cannot define us, it is what we do with them that becomes us.

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