I’m done.

Throwing down the map and the walking poles, I screamed: “I’m done, F**k this sh*t, I don’t want to do this anymore! I’m done.” And I was.

I went to sit on a small boulder and I just cried. Big, loud sobs. I was done.

For me to have shouting and swearing outbursts is rare (nowadays, I was a very moody teenager…), more so for me to cry uncontrollably. I honestly can not remember the last time something affected me so deeply to cause that reaction, but today did.

It wasn’t something major, just a solid belief in myself that I can not do something that I have been training for since 2016 – hillwalking navigational skills – and the thought that no one else believed I could.

It’s a ridiculous notion, as I’ve navigated myself and groups off mountains in difficult conditions before – so I know I can do it, but why can’t I believe myself? Why the added pressure?

It’s simple really, the Summer Mountain Leader training conditions are constricting, more so on time constricted walkers like me. I don’t want to go out on the hills thinking I need to be out for five hours plus using navigational skills away from the marked paths and ascend a substantial peak etc. just to add numbers to a log book and tick those boxes.

I honestly just want to go out without any of this in the back of my mind. I feel that when you add a condition to an adventure you take away the enjoyment of exploration! I love to explore and just choose a path to follow, scramble up some interesting looking rocks, go and have a look at some sheepfolds (don’t ask, they’re one of my favourite things), say hi to the cows, moo at the sheep and paddle in some streams…

However, these conditions are necessary for a substantial log book an assessor can view. The award is also necessary to be able to take young people out on the hills… so you take the bad to get the good. It’s meant to be a self-reflecting, emotional journey that adds in your development… well, I wasn’t feeling that today.

I do need to trust in myself more.

We recapped on rope work and I was able to find an anchor, rope myself up, rope up the climber and bring them up and down steep ground safely. I was able to abseil down using not one, but three, different abseil techniques. I was able to identify some more wildflowers than previously.

And I was able to walk off the hill without a map and navigate my way back to the original path using the ground as a guide…

Now all I have to do is believe in myself. That’s harder than navigation, that’s for sure.

Update after four days of reflecting on this: I’m not done. I can’t be done and I don’t want to be done. Going to pull up my ‘big girl panties’ and get this sorted!

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Just Joanne

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