Having been described as, “An echo of childhood dreams unrealized… and broccoli,” critics are calling it the fart of the century. I ripped my butt. Tore it off, threw it in the dumpster. No climbing for almost 3 months now.
One moment I’m working on this really fun, dynamic roof problem at the gym: making huge throws, working out crazy beta, getting sideways and upside-down, just enjoying the crap out of myself, and the next moment I am suffering from a debilitating gluteal tear. The crux was a huge right-hand throw from one large pinch to another, and I couldn’t quite get there, so I decide to try pulling myself over to it by adding a dynamic drop-knee to the throw. This is the moment my butt died. I was warmed up, but I guess I’m getting old and all of my soft tissues are becoming disillusioned and bitter, and detaching themselves from my skeleton. One pulled muscle, no big deal, I keep climbing on it like an IDIOT in the grips of UNIMAGINABLE HUBRIS.
A gluteal tear is one of the weirdest injuries I have ever had. When it was at its worst, every body position that existed was agonizing. It was completely debilitating. The pain mostly came when the muscle decided it was stretching too far and would cramp violently. It was stretched too far all of the time, however, because it was torn. We went to urgent care and I was told to ice and rest it. They prescribed muscle relaxers but said, “They don’t really relax your muscles, and no one is sure how they even work [or what they do].” Unfortunately, the butt is basically the middle of the body, so any kind of exercise that involves core stability is impossible.
As I’ve implied, I am still not climbing. This is a huge problem because my entire life has been reorganized with climbing at its center. It is all I think about, dream about, read about while pooping, etc. When I wake up in the night and get caught in the storm of sad thoughts, repeating my favorite boulder problems move by move in my head is how I calm down to get back to sleep. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore when I’m not climbing, and that is unacceptable. Eli has been amazing and supportive throughout, and in return I will randomly freak out and cry because I can’t remember that my life has any meaning outside of climbing. Now is (ok a long time ago was) the time to grow up and deal with injury like a responsible adult. It is almost Thanksgiving and my life is pretty fucking awesome. I live in a rad trailer with my beautiful cupcake of a boyfriend, our dirtbikes, and everything I need. Besides, the RV Project’s Spenser put it perfectly when he said, “Few are the little boys whose dreams of greatness aren’t eventually crushed.” If that isn’t comforting, I don’t know what is.
This morning I read a post from a friend I met on the road who is also injured and dealing with the heartbreak of being unable to climb. I felt sympathy crushing me like too many blankets on a cold night. I commented on his post with some advice and simultaneously had a ridiculous epiphany: TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE. Whilst being upset, it is always the best policy to think about what you would tell a friend in your same situation. Until I literally had a friend to tell it to, this hadn’t occurred to me. Here is a summary of what I realized during my Facebook epiphany and will be taking to heart from now on.
Nothing can take away the pain of being unable to climb. As climbers, we live in the moment, and when the moment sucks, that is a difficult place to be. There are things you can do to make this time useful and remember all the positive things that still happen. The idea isn’t to distract yourself from the moment, it is to find a different way to be satisfied by it. Being creative, doing some kind of art, craft, or even writing an uplifting blog post are ways to satisfy the mind while the body is bored as fuck. It can be as simple as taking Instagram photos of things shaped like dicks. Start a hashtag! #vegetablejunk or whatever your delight. If all else fails, there’s always a drunken haze waiting just around the corner to help the time slip away. Just kidding, don’t do that.