Why We Pursue Performance
I write almost every morning. Usually, it's first thing with a cup of coffee, after 10 minutes of yoga, a run or after training at the gym. I have always felt relief from writing, a boost of creativity, a sense of peace. It doesn't matter what I am writing, just that I am. When we travel, I journal, when I am home, I just ramble.
I hesitate to share any of these on the blog or social media, but I am trying to make a point of being more authentic. Sometimes, I try to write about something of value for the blog, an article, or a wellness handout. Most of the time though, it ends up like this...
We lay back on the crash pad, tucked smugly between a small boulder and our crackling fire. Sounds of cooking came from the campsites around us but we were already done. We were done for the day for that matter, completely content with the happenings from the day. Our arms were sore, fingers were raw, cores exhausted from both laughter and strain. We had each had a couple of drinks on top of our full bellied dinners. We had nothing to do but to lay back and look at the stars, telling tales of orion and the seven sisters. Climbing does this to us, it always has.
He said it well, “you know that point when you just don’t give a fuck about going barefoot anymore… I like that point.”
But he means more than that... it’s an unspoken agreement between the two of us that is simple to wrap up in the feeling of being naked. It’s more than just the calluses on our feet helping us tolerate the roughness of the dessert sand and stone.
It’s the layer of dirt on our skin and grime in your poars that coats your hair to the texture of rough straw. It’s the leftover black marks from our dirty rope on our hands and the pink tint of sunburn on our shoulders and checks. It’s the feeling of sleep in the corners of your eyes that may actually come from dirt, but you’re not sure because you don’t have a mirror to look at them. It’s about hitting the point where you strip down to your bare backside right by the tent even though you have neighbors but you don’t care who sees. When you drink coffee out of last week’s wine cup and Tuesday morning’s oatmeal bowl because it’s the only mug you have. When you are satisfied from the simplest pleasures of water, and rice, and of course, cheap beer.
The rock had brought me up and down, through terror, resistance tears and into a place of complete joy. That’s what it is. A threshold crossing. You don’t experience it as a weekend warrior. A weekend is not enough. That’s why we leave for months to get lost in the sand and sun.
The irony is that we feel broken, we hurt, our fingertips burn from the small abbrassions of the rock, our toes are still aching from the hot rubber pushing into our skin, my hips and neck hurt from sleeping on the earth, we smell something terrible and it’s coming from our clothes and our skin, my hair is so firm that pulls hard on my scalp, we’re dehydrated, sun burnt, freezing in the mornings and burning by midday. But the ach of sore muscles brings us peace and the torn skin on our hands gives us satisfaction.
We are funny creatures, humans, aren’t we?
But for these moments of staring at the stars, being human doesn’t even matter. We are where we should be, under the revolving sky, in clean air, sleeping among the poisonous snacks, song birds and sun. We are simply animals and it feels like home.