The people you find at the climbing gym and how this relates to the people you find when you have a chronic illness.

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Han 4 years ago, playing on a V0 for fun

The climbing gym is a lot like an actual gym. But with better music and a more social atmosphere. Nethertheless it can get quite intimidating climbing the lower grades when there’s burley men or women climbing grades above your max. (Mine is a V4 right now) Hilariously these are the people who are often the kindest. They may cheer you on when you’re attempting a difficult move or provide useful advice. Not in a nagging, one up on you way but because they recognise that everyone starts somewhere and collaboration is sometimes helpful.

There are then two types of people who are at around the same level as you. There’s the people you meet when your both working on the same problem. There’s a specific problem that I’ve been working on for two weeks and sent today during my lets send the most antistyle V1s in this gym sesh today. I got 4 of the 5 that I hadn’t yet sent. But hadn’t even attempted the 5th before today and I wasn’t feeling well and I got V3 to make up for it. So fair.

Anyway this STEEP problem I sent today. Nice holds and everything. I’ve had quite a few nice conversations whilst working on it. It seems no matter the height the crux is the same for everyone. An awkward across up, steep af move. It’s not hard. When you know how. But how is different for everyone. This is something I like about bouldering. I tend to boulder on my own – unless I go to a group coaching session or the women’s group at my wall as I find this a better way to get into the right headspace than if climbing with my closest friend or younger brothers.

I do like striking random conversations with people I’ve never met before. Especially when they’re nice people at your level and trying to do the same thing. It’s quite motivating and other people’s betas are always helpful if your just stuck.

It’s certainly one of the pro’s of climbing in a busy gym.

Then there’s the people who are at around your level and have already sent the problem your trying and just give unsolicited advice and not just one piece. One piece fine. Thanks. I’ll try your beta suggestion or think more about using that specific technique. I have no issue with one piece of unsolicited advice and will take it with open arms. I find it helpful even though often this hasn’t been the beta that worked it’s been nice to try new things.

My issue is those people who are not coaches and take it on themselves to try and coach you as if they have one up on you. No bbz. Focus on your own game. Of course, I’ll take your advice. I’ll think about it. I may even try your beta for that part of the problem and see what happens. But if it doesn’t work, I want the freedom to be able to stick to my own instincts without being insulted for it. These types of people don’t help when you already can get anxious about people watching you. I know it affects my game sometimes! We are all different people. We all have different bodies and different circumstances. Maybe my eventual beta for this final V1 (when I get it, if I get it) won’t be the most technical or the most graceful. And yes technique is so so so important and why I sent my first V4s in four years because I certainly can’t fall back on strength. It’s also why I sent that STEEP AF V1 I did today.

But and there is a big but. Asides from different bodies = different betas. You don’t need to use all the techniques in every single problem nor make an effort to do so. It’s about having a toolbox and unlocking what you need when you need.

I liken these people who give this sort of never ending one up on you kind of advice at the gym to people on social media or in life with/without chronic illness trying to give never ending advice about your chronic illness.

Those “have you tried yoga types.” or “My friend had ME and she had GET and got better.” I’m sure anyone reading this who has a chronic illness can come up with many others.

I think sometimes asides from a genuine desire to help advice like this be it in climbing or in health some people give advice like this due to an insecurity the person has and it makes sense. Coming from a very insecure person I get it. But it’s not cool and it can be really harmful (less so in climbing other than injury wise and getting more anxious and overwhelmed wise.) but in chronic illness life this sort of advice can be incredibly harmful. Both physically and mentally. It can leave you feeling deflated like your not trying enough to get better. At worst it can lead you to do something that causes a permanent deterioration.

AND THAT IS NOT COOL.

If you see yourself giving this type of advice, then please think before you speak. I get that you may think your helping or doing a good deed or are insecure or whatever but just think before you speak.

4 thoughts on “The people you find at the climbing gym and how this relates to the people you find when you have a chronic illness.

  1. Gaynor & Jonathan January 1, 2020 / 6:56 pm

    Nice post, you make some very good points about when it is good / right to share beta.

    • Spooonielivingfree January 1, 2020 / 7:09 pm

      Thankyou! I’m definitely the sort of person who likes to figure things out myself. It’s more satisfying that way. But I do welcome the odd suggestion here and there.

  2. limitlessmare January 1, 2020 / 7:11 pm

    Very true. I don’t think people understand how hurtful their advice can be. “Fake it till you make it” has to be my favorite. Second is “visualize yourself well”………….

    • Spooonielivingfree January 1, 2020 / 9:33 pm

      Yeah. Absolutely. It’s not intentional malice it’s just not understanding, which I get but absolutely something should be more aware of.

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