Nothing was beautiful, and everything hurt.

Flower SPRewind to 6 months ago. Arguably, I was in one of the best fitness shapes of my life.

I was running strong. Climbing stronger. I was post holing through snow for miles upon miles. Trudging up steep cliffs. Leading climbs by way of moonlight. Then running through the empty spaces of the desert basking in the same starlight. My running totaled 15-20 hour weeks. I ran after climbing and before climbing. I ran in the cold. The snow. The dark. Dusk. Dawn. Fog. Rain. I even ran in mud. I felt invincible.

I was pouring the mess of my father’s death into every other shoe but my own.
Work shoes.
Running shoes.
Climbing shoes.
Snow shoes.
The news of my father’s passing couldn’t touch me. I would not let it. It was already enough that I needed to be the support for my mother with no support of my own. I did not need to “talk it out” when I could pound the trail for hours with just the sound of my breath and my dog.

Akeyla 1 SP

And then 6 months ago I spent 7 hours climbing beautiful cracks in the desert. Everyone descended the cliff and popped open beers. Me? I ran back to camp. What I thought would be a meager 5 mile cool down run to top of my wonderful day turned into an 8 mile limp of excruciating pain. The pain came out of nowhere and refused to be consoled. I still had 3 miles to go.

What did I do wrong? Why was I in so much pain? And what the hell body? Why the sudden onset of misery? I hated myself in that moment; 3 miles worth of moments. I did not know what the pain was but I could tell it was not going to be fixed overnight.

So I gave myself a week. Surely it would be fixed by then. Right?

Wrong. The “hate-myself-moments” of life lasted for months. I couldn’t run. It hurt to walk. It pained me to climb. So why do anything at all? I let my soul slip into a depression that spiraled out of control.

Ten Sleep Road 1 SP

6 months later – I finally ran for the first time last week. I think the two stress fractures encompassing the arch of my right foot have finally healed. The run was amazing. Meditative even. I told myself if it hurt .5 miles down the trail, I would turn around. It didn’t. I promised myself if there was any pain at any point, I would stop. I told myself I would only run a maximum of 3 miles and absolutely *not* push myself. I didn’t. I ran 4.5. I limited myself to 9 miles in one week if I was pain free. I am at 16.

So why does all this matter? Well, because maybe I still haven’t learned my lesson yet. Or rather, I’m still in the process of learning one of the most important lessons I might ever learn. Everything I wrote about above is physical. None of it was mental. It is quite obvious I obliterated any balance between mental and physical capacities. My thinking: “So the tough shit that you need to deal with in the upstairs department is too hard right now? Screw it. I can push the physical side of life and that can take over and heal everything.”

But that’s not the case is it? A body is just a physical manifestation of the spirit and of the soul. If either of those components is sick, the body will reciprocate. Learning patience and the acceptance of my body has been a rough trial in teaching myself how to be gentle. Patience. Acceptance. Feeling. How do I heal my mind, my thoughts, and my soul so that everything is beautiful, and nothing hurts?

© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/

You Can’t Rush Your Healing – Trevor Hall

“Everybody’s got that chapter of dark and darker days. Saturn seems to be returning and his essence can’t be tamed. So we like to fight it, try and plan a secret attack. But the more you push it, the more it’s pushing you back. You can’t rush your healing. Darkness has its teachings. The love is never leaving. You can’t rush your healing. Your healing.
Time is such a wonderful gift. You’re not running out; you’re really running in. Confusion clouds the heart but it also points the way. Quiet down the mind, the more the song will play. You can’t rush your healing. Darkness has its teachings. The love is never leaving. You can’t rush your healing. Your healing.”


2 responses to “énouement

  1. Shay,
    Though I’ve long outlived the adage that a light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, the fatalist in me has words to share before the end of my finite journey. In the end, the greatest gift we can give to each other is our time, and words are our time. While you share yours so freely, I am no poet, nor writer, nor climber, nor beautiful, nor much of a man. I am a shattered mirror that reflects only pieces of the light of this world, and never enough of it. If I knew that tomorrow we would part ways, I would say this:

    Much like the Creek is made up of thousands of grains of sand, you too are made up of thousands of grains of sand. Climber, photographer, writer, crier, runner, bruiser, vegetarian, blue eyes, driving east, always right, rolling cigarettes, I turn everything into an offwidth climb, and thousands of other things that I do not know, nor can grasp.

    Two jagged grains of sand, while part of the composition, do not define the shape of an entire cliff shaped by years of forces compressing, strengthening, and shaping into a stronger Shay. I can never promise you that everything will always be beautiful and nothing will ever hurt. I can promise you that will heal.

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