For several years I was a competitive gymnast and diver. When I think back about what I was doing back then, I think it is crazy that I was able to go for it. Those sports can be scary. But it is the confidence you slowly build, day after day, that makes the difference. When I started diving, I was; scared of water, a bad swimmer and a bit afraid of height. I remember the look my coach gave me on my first day, when she saw me wearing my goggles and my nose plug… A few years after, I was diving my best on the towers (5/7.5/10 meters). If someone had forced me to dive from the 10 meters on my first day, I probably would have quit. You just get more and more comfortable with practice. Your comfort zone expands because you know your own abilities. I feel like it is the same with climbing.
Fear and Comfort Zone - Mélissa Lacasse
My boyfriend and I are very different climbers. I am really into sport/bouldering/competitions climbing as he loves trad/alpine/ice climbing. We have been trying to find a middle ground to satisfy both of our desires. So we do a bit of everything. I actually enjoy climbing other styles. I like to place gear, but I am still a beginner and this is what we both forget sometimes. We often skip some learning/confidence building time and it has been challenging for me. Fear helps him get focus; he nourishes himself from that feeling. On the other end, fear gets in my way, it is holding me back. I am not a super brave climber, but I am not so scared either. I have always pushed myself when there were obstacles, but I have been realizing there is a line I won’t cross in climbing. I won’t do anything that might be fatal if I screw up. I am clumsy and I want to be able to trip over without dying. But sometimes I find it hard to know if it just the confidence I need to build or if it is rational to think the way I do.
In January 2011, we went to Patagonia only to find out I don’t feel good jumping over crevasses, getting ice/rock on my head and waiting 4 weeks to get 2 days of good weather. I got terrified by the wind blowing so hard that you fall on the ground like if you had been playing football. "No, it is not for me", I thought. Sounds so simple right? I realized it feels so hard to admit you fear something so much that you don’t want to do it. I still struggle admitting that I won’t do certain things in climbing. I mentioned Patagonia but it can be as simple as a badly protected route or bad anchors. Part of me wants to take the challenge and tame this inner voice that screams to get the hell out of these situations and the other side keeps wondering if I could ever get comfortable. Is it the ego? Is it the survival instinct? I don’t really know where all these mixed feelings are coming from, but I am trying to figure it out.