I'm not the world's best anything. I have a big mouth and a quick temper. I'm too short and I have T-Rex arms. But I love climbing. I love doing something that makes me push hard to achieve things I never thought I could do. Literally just being on the wall was a huge step for me. It took me opening my mind to new and scary experiences to even walk up to that wall the first time. I love it because it's really just me and that rock in the end. The rock doesn't judge.
I've been bullied for being proud of my personal achievements. I’ve been harassed for loving something that has helped me cope with and survive a divorce, a pregnancy, the death of my mom and just everyday life. It's time to stop the shaming and bullying. The climbing & outdoor community is better than that. We build each other up and create a real community: the community that I raise my daughter in. But there's always got to be the turd in the punch bowl, so let's do a refresher on bullying.
It's extremely easy to use hurtful words without realizing the consequences of our actions. It's extremely difficult to know what kind of a climber (or person) someone is based off of pictures or first glances. You have no idea who that person is, or what it took for them to be there. Instead of rolling your eyes at the gym when you see someone struggling on an "easy" climb, maybe offer some words of encouragement or guidance. Instead of criticizing someone for something you don't find impressive, take a deep look inside and spend that time working on yourself. Don't break down other’s achievements to build up a false sense of superiority.
I'm excited for everyone to climb. If people aren't taught and given the chance to have the experience, how do you find climbing partners? We all put on those shoes for the first time and try not to lose it. We all get up there the first time and feel the freedom and know that we are hooked. Let's make it possible for everyone to know that freedom. Let's make the crag, and the world, a nicer and more inclusive place.
And lastly, as my mom used to always say, if you don't have anything nice to say, shut your fucking mouth.