Monday, 5 January 2015

THE STORY OF TWO WORLDS

First things first: I did not climb "The Story of Two Worlds". I could have, but I didn't want to ruin my skin before projecting a nearby 6b+ with a better looking line. Priorities. 
The story is about the two worlds that I've seen in the last months. 
The first one, is a world made of work, papers, books to be studied and the most important exam of my life. I simply could not pass a single day without studying or writing papers for the exam, I felt such a need to get there as perfectly prepared as I humanly could. It's been very very strange because it's been the first time in my life in which I felt such a need for perfect knowlegde. After just working as a teacher for a few years, I was feeling that my brain was struggling a little bit to grasp all the familiar concepts and principles of civil and criminal law, when I needed to use them. Now, I feel that I master those concepts and principles, and I see my brain as a laser sharp razor that would make Occam's one pale in comparison. 
I don't know if I've done enough to pass - not true. I know that I've done more than enough, I don't know how I will be judged. In Italy they are two very different things: how you've done and how you're judged - but I do know that I gave my best, and when on the third day of the written essays everyone, myself included, was almost panicking before a case that was seemingly impossible to solve, after three hours of head-scratching, searching for a norm that could suit this situation, I finally repeated to myself the mantra that I had prepared for the exam, I went to the restrooms ignoring all the comments that everyone was making about how and what to write, washed my face, got back to my desk and wrote head down for the following three hours. Then I copied everything in good calligraphy and gave everything to the examinators. The agony was over. Three days of toil and torture, alone in another town, spending days at the exams and nights in a hotel room studying for the next day, without talking to anyone. 
I got out of the hall - where 1.700 of us were having the exam - took a deep breath and broke down in tears when noone could see me. The last written essay had drained every energy from my mind and body, and I felt betrayed. I knew that these exams could be unpredictable at least, passing from easy ones one year, to absurd ones the year after. Well, I had picked the year after. After two essays that I think I did well, the third one was the one for which I felt more prepared, and it's been the one in which I've struggled the most, in which I could make the littlest display of my legal knowledge. I got out sure that I'm going to fail the exam because of this third essay. I felt betrayed and hated Italy for how it's run and organized. 
Now I only have to wait six months to have the results, then we'll see. 
Be sure that passed these holidays, I'm going back to studying no matter what. A sharp mind is a sharp body. 
The climbing, as you can imagine, took a very little back seat. Luckily for me, I don't need climbing anymore to have fun, I only need training. So, I kept doing frequent, short, intense system sessions on my board, focusing on body tension and crimp strength; and some fingerboarding not to lose the love. I had good results and found out that somehow I retained some of my ridiculous endurance for the project circuit. 
On the board, when I tried some of my projects or old problems, though, I could barely do the moves in isolation... 
During these months of this first world, I also got my knee surgery. It's been far worse than expected. When they got in to cut the broken part of my meniscus, they found out that I also had a badly torn cruciatus ligament, and my knee was full of scar tissue and debris, making it impossible to even see the meniscus. So, they had to clean and grate and scratch lots of stuff out before even starting what they had to do, and this resulted in a much heavier operation than planned. 
This was followed by weeks of sleep deprived nights due to the pain. I also lost 4 kilos, for fucks sake. Two months later, I still have to regain proper muscle mass and sports functionality. Not pleased. 
Then, after that day spent doing the last written essay, I got home and was barely able to speak with humans. My mind was elsewhere, and I could not stop thinking about what I'd been doing in those days. I could not sleep for a few nights, waking up three or four times with obsessive thoughts about what I could have or should have written. I was exhausted and only wanted to cry and pity myself. 
It took me a good ten days and many dinners, gin tonics and lie-ins, to finally see the dawn of the second world. A world in which the desie to climb on rock made its presence strongly felt. I went climbing two days in the same week, and opened two new lines in an area that I've been climbing at for ages... Seeing with new eyes, isn't it? 
Then, I booked an hotel and went to Ticino. Sun, freezing temps, perfect friction. Only my lack of climbing ability (and my terror for knee injuries) hindered me from climbing 8b+ as I was normally expecting with my usual laid back attitude. 
It's been great. I also climbed something, with an achievement that, had it happened a few years ago, would have seen me bragging about it for the whole year, and now is passing almost unnoticed and almost already forgotten. Am I finally free from climbing? Am I finally free from myself? Am I finally free from my ego? 
This second world is about to leave room to the routine of work and study, but I've planned to keep climbing a little bit. The spark is still there and my project as well. 
It's been good to finally let go of some tension, and I fear the first world. 
But as some climbers put themselves in hard and dangerous situations, and then have to deal with it, I put myself in this hard and dangerous (for my ego) situation of becoming a fully certified lawyer, and now I have to deal with it. 
I cannot wait to meet in Court that asshole of a lawyer that was doing surveillance at the exam: that useless presumptuous bastard, always arrogant and lookind down on us; I'll kick his fat ass like he's never been kicked before. 
Motherfucker. 





Monday, 24 November 2014

ENVY

My evolution as a climber and a person, passed through envy. 
For some time in the past - and I'm sure there are many traces of it in this blog - I've been envious. Envious of those who could go climbing, those who could climb the problems that I wanted to climb, those who could reap the rewards of the training they'd been doing. 
It was horrible. 
Let me talk about envy. Envy is a bad beast. To the contrary of what many may think, envy is a judgement. When we envy someone, we judge that person: we think that they don't deserve what they have, and that somehow in doing so they detract something from us, something that should belong to us. 
So, envy is a lot more than we're used to think. 
When I was envying my friends who could climb lots, my thoughts were along these lines, even though I didn't realize it and, had I realized, I would have enever admitted: 
"I'm envious because they can climb the problems that I can't try. They climb them just because they have the time to stick at them. They're not as strong as I am. They're just more lucky in having more time and more opportunities. They don't deserve those climbs, I deserve them because I put in a lot more effort and dedication than they do." I could go on forever. 
The sense of frustration that comes with this kind of thinking need not to be mentioned. 
I don't know how things changed. 
I think that I had to go through a complete chaos to finally emerge on the other side. I had to question not only my climbing, but every aspect of my life, and how every aspect of my life had been affected, for good or bad, by climbing. 
It took me a lot of time to finally bury the hatchet with climbing, and this came with an added bonus: my envy had gone. I can feel it trying to raise its ugly head at times, but it's just the shadow of what it used to be. 
I could say that envy became something different: it became the knowledge that my life is different from my friends' lives, and from anyone else's life. 
Go figure. 
Years and years to come to this conclusion. Ha! 
I exchanged climbing for training, and finally found some kind of peace. Others may have time, I have not. There's nothing to be envious about, that's just how things go. Maybe I also exchanged envy for a little sadness and disappointment, but that's a victory! 
I was thinking about it just yesterday evening, right before starting my warm up. Never seeing the opportunity to actually put all the training efforts to good use, makes training really really hard, mentally. 
You sow, you sow, you sow, and you don't know when or whether you'll reap. 
How do you deal with this? 
It's very easy: you either quit sowing, or you keep sowing. Make your choice. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

I will remember this past month forever. It's been one of the densest, most intense periods of my life. 
I've been studying a lot, writing appellation acts, criminal and civil cases, and attending classes in the weekends. 
I've been pulling on wooden edges and plastic holds. 
I stepped on stage again after more than 15 years, to act and sing in a musical that a friend of mine wrote for our contrada, Istrice, and that sold out two nights in the main theater in town, raising more that 5.000 Euros for charity. 
Finally, I've been - briefly - climbing on rock. One single day, just one day of the nearly three weeks of perfect, clear weather that we've had, but what a day. I climbed some new, easy problems, nearly climbed a project that is around 8a+, and opened a beautiful arete. 
Now I'm here in my bedroom writing this with my left knee wrapped in ice and swollen after I got my meniscus surgery yesterday. 
It seems all over now, while I roll left and right to change position and ease the pain and discomfort: the stage, the public, the pointless training, the perfect rock. The pointless training. The pointless training. The pointless training nearly made me climb 8a+ on Sunday, on the first day on rock after 6 weeks. The fifth day on rock since the beginning of Summer. Is it really pointless? 
It's been great and beautiful. When I was there with my headtorch, rushing another pointless - yes pointless - attempt on the project, I thought: "Right, I'm gonna come back tomorrow evening and finish this." I had forgotten I had to be in hospital... Ahaha! 
I thrashed my hands, that now seem bitten by a dog, and got home. I really really wanted to get this done before this layoff, but it did not happen. I did not make it happen. But I tried with all my will and skin. 
Next time. The path is right. 
Study, train, love and destroy. 

A few pics and videos of this incredible Autumn so far. 
                        Below, the beautiful prow I climbed last Sunday. 

Below, a new PB on paused rep one armers. 
                                          

                                               Below, the Move. 
                                                           http://vimeo.com/109309457

                                   Below, the new PB on the circuit. 
                                                           http://vimeo.com/108706275

                        Below, a sore soul, a sore knee two sore hands.