The Lonely Mountain
People write pretty pieces about hiking and mountain trails. This is not one of those entries, enough of those exist already I am sure, and it doesn't equate to the truth of an experience. You can see the pretty images. What is missing is the pain, the grit, and the journey.
We live in a world of shallow quickly digested fast food imagery portraying a stylized misinformation about life, and it seems sometimes that's all people care about.
I can't be one of those people. This is a story of what the mountain taught me, lessons in pain, emptiness, shame, and loneliness. Ultimately it reiterated to me that almost noone cares about your story but you.
It wasn't my idea to go up a mountain late in the afternoon when the light was fading, but I agreed to it. I worried I would regret that decision and at many points up the bastard hill I did. I am out of shape, which is to say I am overweight and the climb was a struggle. I felt ashamed of myself struggling, puffing and panting as though a mirror was held up to my failures with my body. It lets the nasty voice in my head have free reign screeching "Seeeeee? See what a failure you are..." I move out of the way for a family climbing with seeming ease, they don't even have proper footwear on. My shame heightens watching them disappear in moments as I continue, struggling.
I was fairly resolved until a nerve in my leg seemed to snap, or trap, whichever... it hurt like a motherfucker. Every step made me grit my teeth and it meant I could barely talk. I watched the expression of burden and disappointment as my other half said we can turn back.
Problem is, there is a little mountain energy in me, and I refuse to give up. I struggle, step, by agonizing step, feet screeching at the stones beneath, pulling my injured leg over raising ground, trying my best not to hate the whole damn thing because it hurts, it hurts on every level.
It shows me how fat and unhealthy I am. It shows me how I disappoint and i'm not one of those healthy hiker bunnies in the supply shops that laugh and joke about their next adventure. It makes me feel small, and helpless, and vulnerable.
I beat it anyway. And I am curiously emotional. I want to cry my whole damn guts out by the time I summit and touch the Cairn. The views are pretty phenomenal but by this point I have lost most of my voice. The descent was hell. It was getting dark and I felt vulnerable, the jolt of each step left my long injured back joining in on the pain scale. There were some horses in a field after the descent though, which was lovely. There were moments of happiness, and ultimately, amongst affirmations of 'proud of you' I did, momentarily, feel proud of myself too.
Until I was written out of the recap. It dawned on me then how alone we truly are in our struggles. The mountain did not beat me, but ultimately, nobody cared. It was my story so tell it, I guess, was the best I could take from any of it.
I have written before how in the end... the only one that cares about our ascent is ourselves.
It is a lesson I hate more than any other, because it hurts. It hurts like a nerve jutting into your leg as you ascend.
And you summit anyway.
Many blessings starlet