Always one more time.
The red wall.
But I knew I could do it.
I’ve climbed this particular wall at the bouldering gym several times before. It’s a tough, nerve-wracking one to scale, that’s for damn sure, but definitely within my capabilities.
I began my climb. I felt strong and focused. Reached up. Felt my right hand hook in snugly.
I bent my knees. Prepared to make my next move. Took a big breath and then…
The fall happened so fast that I barely had time to blink. I found myself curling sideways on the ground, cursing and crying, with several men huddled above me.
It wasn’t until nearly an hour later — watching the ER doctor inject a massive amount of numbing medication into my leg so that he could manually jerk my displaced bone back into alignment — that I fully grasped what was happening.
“I broke my leg.”
Once the realization set in, my mind began thundering with self-criticism.
“So stupid.” “How could you do this?” “Such an idiot.” “You’ve disappointed everybody.” “You’re weak.” “Foolish.” “What were you thinking?” “You should have just stayed home tonight.” “Dumb-ass.” “You’ve ruined everything.” “Everyone’s going to think you are so incredibly reckless and dumb.” “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Cutting, cruel, ruthless words. Infinitely more painful than the broken bone.
Back at home, I finally allowed myself to unravel completely. Sobbing hysterically, I told my boyfriend how angry I was at myself. How disappointed and ashamed.
He knew exactly what to say.
“Babe, you broke your leg while trying to conquer your fears. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s fucking bad ass.”
Then he added:
“You’re going to heal. You’re going to learn from this experience. You’re going to get stronger than ever. This is just a temporary set back. Just a test.”
He kissed me and for the first time since the accident, I felt — just for the briefest moment — like maybe I wasn’t a complete idiot. Like maybe I was brave. Like maybe I was, as he so eloquently put it, a “bad ass.”
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ―Maya Angelou
As I lay here tonight, with my leg elevated and encircled with three ice packs, I am realizing that real courage isn’t just trying once and then backing away after a single defeat.
In life, love, fitness, and business, real courage means trusting in yourself and trying “one more time and always one more time.”
Even after humiliation and pain.
Even after your fortieth rejection slip.
Even after the crunch of broken bone.
Even after the critics online (and the critics inside your mind) have been ruthlessly unkind.
Up again. On your feet. To the wall. In the fight. Stronger, wiser, more determined than ever. Ready to deliver.
Always one more time.