I have always been a competitive sort of girl, I treated life like a game, exalting at every well placed roll and sulking in a corner if things went against me.
Every aspect in my life was affected, I had to be first I had to be ahead of everyone else, even if always being in front meant I kept everyone else behind me. But I didn’t care I couldn’t lose, falling back was admitting defeat, letting go of my place was pantomime to changing the very foundation of what I had built myself on. I couldn’t let go.
But thankfully I didn’t have a choice in letting go, instead I got pushed off my pedestal. It was the oldest story in the world, a broken heart. Oh I whined about it, I acted like I was the only one in the World who had gotten their pride bruised and been sent to the back of the line. I was a bad loser, instead of accepting defeat with grace I demanded the rules be changed, in fact I argued that there must be some mistake, I was pretty annoying to be honest.
I went through all the stages, depression, anger, distraction, but it would take over a year before I could see clearly. Which leads me to my story…
“The sun sparkled on the sea several meters below me and white limestone lay firm under my fingers. The scene was nothing short of perfection, late afternoon sun warm on my back, emerald islands dotting the horizon, the crystal water so beautiful I almost ached with it. It was in moments like these that he would sometimes cross my mind. I could almost see him beside me smiling with the thrill of it as we climbed higher together. But I couldn’t climb anymore. I was stuck, I had reached a point where I couldn’t go any further or even go back down.
He wouldn’t hesitate, he would probably have dove down into the water below, but I did hesitate, I could never live up to his memory. I was scared, so scared I could feel my breath coming in more rapidly as my heart pounded in fear. I had known this might happen, it’s one of the conditions of free climbing a sea cliff, you have to be prepared to fall. But I just hadn’t counted on it, I didn’t want to accept that possibility. Every fibre in my body screamed for me to hold on, sweat dripped into my eyes as my muscles started to quiver and finally shake.
Then I was falling, the world went black as I hit the surface hard, and I could hear the sound of water rushing around my body as I sank. It seemed like an eternity before I burst back into the daylight gasping for breath with salt and sun on my face. I thought of how hard it had been to let go, how the thought of falling had filled me with such terror. But the moment I had fallen I had felt somehow at peace and completely and utterly alive. I had stopped fighting what I couldn’t win and accepted defeat. Or had I? Was it defeat? Or a chance to start over. I knew now which route not to take and was better prepared to tackle the cliff again. With renewed determination I swam toward the cliff.”
I would like to say that I made it the second time and stood victorious at the top, but the truth is I failed many more times before I could claim that victory, but the difference was I wasn’t afraid to fall. Cliffs can teach you allot about life.
I can’t say that I’m back at the head of the pack, but that’s ok, sometimes it’s nice to fall behind and pick daisies, you get to spend more time with people too. One thing’s for certain I learned alot from losing and it turned out to be worth more than any amount of winning ever was.