So when I started evaluating my trip to Pennsylvania there were so many things that caused stress and anxiety for me. Those that I talked to, Sabrina, Misty and a few assorted others helped me to focus less on the things that stressed me out, like my former highschool classmates, and more on what I can control.
There was a HUGE list of things that I wanted to do when I went to Pa this time, the longer I thought about it the more things I wanted to add to the list. Trouble is, when I am there, I run out of time because my Mom keeps me scheduled fairly crazily or so it feels. When she asks what I want to do while I am there, I can’t actually say, spend time alone, because they want to be in my face 24/7. It is enough to drive even the most sane person crazy!
Among the things that I wanted to do on this latest trip out east were many things. I didn’t get to do most of them. I wanted to see some friends of mine. Griff lives in NYC and I didn’t get a chance to visit with him. I wanted to hit the Jersey Shore for an afternoon, to push my toes into the sand run on the beach and feel the water on my legs. I wanted to go into Philadelphia and walk around the city, either the part of the city with the Liberty Bell etc or like South Street or through the Museums or perhaps just run up the Phila. Art Museum Steps. I also wanted to go hike through Ringing Rocks Park.
So I took all the things that I wanted to do, and weighed it against the amount of time I actually had, and embarked on crossing things off my list. After my very long day of flying on Wednesday, where I killed many hours walking in the airport I knew Thursday I was going to want to take on a challenge.
Ringing Rocks is located less than 2 miles from my parents house. Looking back many years I think the last time I had been there was when I was in fifth grade. In sixth grade I broke my hip. That was a huge turning point in my life, the doctors basically said, no more gym, no physical activity. Not that I had previously been super-active but I had played soccer and enjoyed that a little bit. I spent so much of my life being told I could not do things, being afraid I was going to break something else. Which after having busted my hip twice was completely understandable.
When I hit 400+ pounds I had already resigned myself to the fact that I would NEVER EVER get to see the boulder field inside Ringing Rocks Park ever again, let alone make it back to the waterfall in the park. Well guess what kiddo, you are fragile, you do have a medical condition that means you have to be careful with what you do, but you are not allowed to sit by and let things pass by anymore! You are not 400 pounds anymore, in fact… You can now fit in an airplane seat, arms down, no seatbelt extension comfortably!
So when I got up Thursday morning I strapped on my Polar Heart Rate Monitor, grabbed my lumbar pack, a bottle of water, got dressed into my workout clothes grabbed a sandwich thin with some Peanut Butter and was ready to go! I headed away from the house up the hill toward the park!
I wanted to go alone to the park, to let my past go, to release some of the crap I had been holding onto for so many years, the fears the doubts about myself, about so many things. Instead my mom tagged along. I think about people who don’t have their moms anymore and decided there were worse things in life. Plus this way I had someone to take a photo of me!
We got to the park and headed down the uneven trail to the boulder field first. I was so proud of myself, with every step I took down the trail I gained a little bit of pride, a little bit of determination, I knew I was strong enough to make it. When I hit the entryway to the boulder field my mom got nervous.
I handed her my camera and started bounding over the first set, the early rocks are easily passable. I continued to push past them, my mom moved behind me, watching me navigate through the rock field asking me if I was sure I was okay, asking me if I was sure this was what I wanted to do. She was so worried that I was going to fall and break my ankle. To be honest I wasn’t worried in the least. It had briefly crossed my mind before I left the house “What if I break a bone out there” to which I told myself “then it’s broken. You’ll deal with it.” I don’t want to live in a world full of what ifs. They hold you back, keep you scared! I twisted my body around, used my hands and knees and climbed out into the boulder field. I felt the rocks under my fingers as I touched the rocks. I steadied myself between some rocks as there is no “ground” to step on, its rocks on rocks on rocks and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in. I had really done this! I wasn’t living in the shadows, I was stepping out of my former self and letting go!
I left the boulder field and headed straight down the other trail to the waterfall! The trail got more uneven, more rocks in the path, more tree roots holes weathered into the path. I watched my steps carefully, I was on a high but I knew one false step could end my adventure. I passed the “flat faced rock” that had been freshly tagged with new graffiti, my mom was upset by this. It is one of the few things I remember from the park as a kid, that rock was ALWAYS tagged. As I got closer to the falls I could hear the water. It’s not a huge waterfall, but anyone who has heard the sound knows the sound. We first went to get a view of the falls, I took a moment to climb out and peek down to see what it’s looking like now-days. Then onto the unbeaten trail that lets you get onto the upper part of the falls! Lots of poison ivy up that way, most people don’t go up that way, you have to actually work to get on to the top of the falls. I worked my way up then down the terrain and onto the falls! I let out a bellowing WOOHOO!!! and fist bumped the air!
Looking at that photo I can tell you I am just freakin beaming, I also look TINY! Okay, maybe not tiny but tiny compared to how I look in jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe the #PriorFatPack girls are right I do need to ditch those T-shirts!
I really did feel like something left me when I cleared the falls, and with each step I took towards the exit of the park (aside from needing my inhaler thanks to the lovely spring allergies) it felt as though I was breaking off chunks of my past and my conceptions of who I was and what I could do and leaving them behind. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no misconceptions I know I still have a TON of baggage leftover from all of the pain that was brought on from my childhood and adolescence. A good portion of which my mom kept poking at while I was there. Which I very much do not appreciate. Baby steps shall be the key to success. I accepted the challenge to make it to the waterfall and I did it! I never thought I would see it again in my lifetime for so many reasons but I did it!
Never give up! Never surrender!