A while ago, I tried archery and wall-climbing for the first time.
Archery wasn't bad at all for a first timer like me. The moment I shot the arrow, it narrowly missed the bull's eye and for a whole ten seconds, my mouth was agape in shock and pleasant surprise (if ever there is such a thing?), and my colleagues were wildly screaming and cheering from the sides. Though the succeeding attempts were quite nasty, the adrenaline pumping through my veins gave me a good feeling, and it was great enough to make me forget how difficult it was to hold a bow and successfully launch an arrow. Yes, archery was that demanding.
But no matter how demanding archery was, wall-climbing proved to be more of a burden and a challenge.
I first asked the person in-charge if I was really okay to do wall-climbing. He just grunted "yes" and went on fixing the necessary straps on me. That wasn't quite the reassuring answer I was looking for, and so I tried to focus on the "if everyone can do it, why can't I?" mentality that had helped me survive whenever I embark on a new task.
It turned out that I was going to need more than just an overused mentality.
I did well in my first few meters, all the more aware of the pressure on my arms and the shaking of my legs. Honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was "Damn! I'm HEAVY!". I cursed myself inwardly and tried to hold on to the measly pieces of rocks that served as the grips on the wall. It came to a point that I was suddenly thinking of transforming myself into some kind of lizard in order to be stuck to the wall.
"Dammit I'm gonna exercise after this ordeal!" I shouted in rage, to the amusement of my colleagues watching me from below. I climbed up a few more meters, until I came to a point where I realized I could not go an inch up higher.
Sensing my limit, my colleagues were shouting from the bottom of the wall, sentiments like "Grab that one to your left!" or "Hoist yourself up! Go!", but I realized that such cheers would be useless for my hefty body. I could hear their screams, their advices, but cold sweat was already running down my back and moistening my palms. I could feel my hands trembling as they held on for dear life, my legs struggling to keep myself glued to the wall, and my common sense already running away from me.
At the final moment, my ears turned deaf and for a moment, I lost myself and actually shouted a nonsensical thing. "Mou dame! (I can't do it anymore!)" I cried out, and then there was silence as I let myself go. I descended in silence, still trembling and somehow angry at myself that I was only able to make half of the journey that I was supposed to climb. It was only at that moment that I realized that my willpower had not failed me, but my ability had.
I had to admit that fear played a very big role in that experience. I was not afraid of heights at that time - in fact it was the least of my concerns as I was somehow forced to face the wall. Also, my fear is not related to letting go - I was fully aware that I had a very good support and I was not going to fall on my head anyway. My fear, it turned out, had something to do with the fear of betraying everyone's expectations, most especially the fear of betraying my very own.
I have a lot of expectations for myself - being able to graduate with a Master's degree (in Applied Linguistics, no less), study Japanese and go to Japan eventually, write a lot of great essays and successfully publish them, being able to study additional degrees/courses in a well-respected and notably-reputed university abroad, and hopefully get myself married and have a great family (of course I would have such dreams!) But all these dreams have sadly crumbled beyond the weight of fear - that very fear that results when you're thinking about the future and worry that you don't have enough time to fulfill all of your plans. I am afraid that with all the dreams I have, I would end up totally ignoring them simply because I know I don't have enough capacity to fulfill them.
Like for example, me and my old ambition to become an essayist. Truth be told, I cannot remember how many times I had promised myself to write and become a better writer, but my fear of being criticized has always held me back for as long as I can remember. The moment someone opens their mouth to say something about something I wrote, I would always cover my ears and say "Stop it! I get it! I am not perfect, okay?" It's very much a reflex action, a self-defense mechanism, something that I won't deny I always do whenever someone comes up with a critique, be it good or bad. I've always had this notion in me that whatever they would be saying would only hurt, and the stinging pain that comes from that would indicate that I have indeed betrayed everyone's expectations of me as a writer.
It would have to take a very long time for me to condition my mind on accepting constructive criticism, but then again it has always been my nature to belittle myself for every little thing I do. It would take a long time for me to grow out of it.
Which is precisely why I am surprised I made this decision to get back into writing essays. Doing something that triggers something that I cannot handle is quite an atrocious task, if not a suicide mission. I do not know if I will grow out of this endeavor, nor do I know if I will be able to handle all the dirt that comes with it. But in this case, I would like to have tried something that I really have a passion for, rather than desert it permanently and berating myself for not being able to do it.
Of course, some would say such words as you are totally being ambitious and you cannot wish for something that is beyond your capacity to fulfill. Of course such words would be true. But then again, wouldn't having those wishes and dreams and trying to fulfill them make you you?
Right now, I'll be trying as much as possible to quell my fears of having my first dream busted (the master's degree one, that is). But I think I need to address one other fear immediately - the fear that I will have to come to work tomorrow with sore muscles! >_<
聞いている歌: Tegomass - Mahou no Melody