…Oh, But My Darling, What If You Fly? | Eclectic Cake: …Oh, But My Darling, What If You Fly?

Monday, 1 June 2015

…Oh, But My Darling, What If You Fly?

Half-way up a boulder on my first outdoor climb, clutching onto tiny pebbles as my only holds, I admitted it.

“I’m scared!”

I’d started to push and pull myself up to the next move but then that all-too-familiar voice snuck in and told me I couldn’t – it was too difficult, I’d not done this before, I’d probably fall. I bailed on the move and slid down the rock to the safety of the ground mat, frustrated. I ended up on the floor anyway but I hadn’t fallen. I hadn’t failed. I’d decided to come down, it was my choice.

What had I achieved, though? Yes, all my limbs were intact, I didn’t get a face full of granite but I don’t know if I can complete that particular bouldering route. By wimping out, not taking a chance, I didn’t get to find out what I’m capable of if I really try. This could have been an occasion where I’d flown.

I will, of course, return to the Peaks and this particular route but I’ll have to sit with my frustration and self-disappointment for weeks. Playing it safe is not that satisfying. And I seem to be experienced in the 'almost' – the wanting to but not quite having the guts to go for something. I've pulled out of flying trapeze tricks, put off registering for big races, not really pushed myself for my true PBs, all just in case I fail.

So to avoid it again, my new favourite word is “yes”. I’ve been practising this weekend…I said “yes” to leaping off the highest jump whilst gorge walking and put aside any fear of falling from heights. I said “yes” to learning to ride a motorbike off-road, despite never riding one before. I said “yes” to a hilly mountain bike ride, even though I’ve struggled with cycling so much in the past.

Each time I was pleased I’d given it a go and each time I emerged, unharmed, with a massive smile on my face. If you never push yourself and try something that scares you, who knows what you might be missing out on.


  1. I need this at the moment. I'm contemplating DNS'ing the triathlon I'm signed up for next week, because I'm scared of the open water swim, and of coming last.

    I'm not saying I'm definitely going to say 'Yes' though!!

    (and I love that picture - I need to go and make my own adventure like that!)

    1. It's hard, isn't it. When it gets scary, we know we have the option to pull out and it's very tempting. But is it worth that possible "if only..." There's absolutely no shame in deciding not to do something but what if you really love it?! Whatever you decide, have fun!

      (And definitely go have a little adventure of your own!)