To see the accompanying nail art click here.
Today I rock-climbed. No, let me re-phrase that. Today I rock-climbed well.
I climbed three 5.10s. Specifically, a 5.10a, a 5.10b, and a 5.10c. I climbed all three climbs from top to bottom without falling. I “sent” the climbs.
I knew sending the climbs was not important. I was just happy to be on the wall. I was not going to lie: I felt pleased. I was proud of myself. I had the strength, agility, and mobility to climb quickly and efficiently.
I climbed on and off for the last couple of weeks. There was a length of time when I could not climb at all because of the flare.
Before, every time I had a flare I lost my strength. I had to work my way back up the difficulty level of climbs. I was ecstatic when I realized I had not lost all my strength. Okay, so my fingers cramped up more than usual and I forced myself to stretch farther with my legs and shove my arms above my head but I was able to do it.
And sure, I am paying for it now. I am unable to climb the stairs properly, my elbows and shoulders lock, and my fingers cramp as I type. It is so worth it though.
When I was a junior in high school, I suffered through a bad bout of depression. I barely scraped by that year academically and emotionally.
Looking back, that year was a blur but there was one thing I will never forget.
My climbing coach pulled me aside one day and said to me, “Monica, I don’t think I have seen you smile at all this year. I miss your smile, it brightens my day. I think it brightens most people’s day.”
Today, for the first time in weeks, I genuinely smiled and laughed.
I know the difference between a forced and real smile. When I smile, for real, I feel it in my entire face. My cheeks get red, my eyes crinkle and light up. I show my teeth. My laugh lines go deep. I feel happy.
When I force that same smile it feels fake. People see right through me. They know it is a show.
I hope that because of this one smile everything will look up. This one smile is the crack I needed to find in the tunnel wall. The wall is weak around the crack.
I think I can push out now.
Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.
I just found your blog and I think it is awesome. I have arthritis too and right now I’m in a lot of pain because of herniated disc. I just wanted to thank-you for sharing your story. Can’t wait to read the rest of your entries …
Thank you so much for your comment! I am very sorry you are in pain. It can be so much more crippling (both mentally and physically) than one would expect. Is the herniated disc due to the arthritis or injury? Is the condition exacerbated by the arthritis?