Saturday, September 1, 2018


Yup.  Life continues.  How crazy a phenonmenon!  To have been so quickly, so easily "lights-out."  I knew, we know, life is precious but to take and HAVE the time to reflect upon this scenario is wild.
I would not have known taking my last breath.

I did not want to end.

I was gaining pride in my body at 36 (finally), foolishly and highly critical of belly fat, fueling my need to exercise.   I was settling into my house, painting, gardening and even researching building a new home--shipping container or straw bale.  I had made sacrifices for my relationships, I had stopped teaching month long EMT courses in Seattle area, shortened climbing trips or planned them with my radical partner, even put some solo or bigger lady expeditions on the back burner.   At the end of last summer season, I was contemplating quitting the climbing ranger position, in part due to the sogginess of my romantic relationship, as well as, my personal/vocational goals.

Life continues to evolve.  Here we are now.

Hindsight is a muther truckin beotch.  I should not have driven to Yosemite, I should-coulda changed many behaviors in the month prior to my accident.  I should have stood-up, spoken up and listened up to myself.  I still feel like an idiot, a selfish- driven- fool, and now an unattractive cripple!  Yea, I am fully aware how lucky I am....but my trauma is my own, as silly as it seems.  Same as whatever you got going on, its all yours as mundane as it may be.  No one can take it away or diminish it.  The questions is, how do we deal with it?  How do we move on?

I don't have the answer to these questions.  I also don't feel like I get a free pass because of my continuous emotional and physical pain....I should still try hard.

Yup.  I am negative.  Yup.  I am in pain.  Yup.  I can't feel when I have to pee or my legs....aside from the constant dissociative nerve pain.  Yup, I can't run in the mountains like I used to.  I can still make a mean banana bread, skunk you in a game of cribbage, engage in a meaningful conversation, support loved ones, enjoy wine and sunsets, paddle board, kayak, and bike across wilderness.  I can do things.  I just hope that I haven't isolated myself from too many people with my negative attitude.  I get so pissy when people ask, "you live alone?" or when they stare or call me inspirational for wheeling on a dirt path.   

We are all dealing with something.  Who I am to judge?  If only I could transpose that thought into my undesirable self-image or my feeling like a failure.   True friendships and relationships, with others and ourselves, go beyond the physical realm.  So easy to say, I knew this before...but clearly wasn't putting valuable time and effort there.  How do we treat ourselves with compassion?  Truly?   


Unknown said...

Brett!!!!!! What a weird deal. Was going swimming picked up this issue of outdoors cause girls were on it and you were in there. Smiling and telling your shit straight out. You are one strong mudder f..... not sure how many dots I need but man wtf. You are amazing!!!! Get us it possible to come up and see you some weekend?? Much positive power to you. Love Dani Meyers

MA said...

I burst into tears reading this. I hope you have a good psychologist -- that's what they are for -- teaching you how to forgive and love yourself and find a path forward when you feel like there isn't one (or one that you're going to enjoy). You're right, everyone has a reason to be unhappy -- some reasons are better than others (and pain and limited movement are right up there!!), but I feel like the hardest thing is finding a way to rise above those reasons. It isn't something that happens all at once, or only one time -- it's a process you have to start and continue every day. And so when people say you're inspirational, it's not because you're wheeling on a dirt path, it's because you're TRYING to rise above, to make lemonade from life lemons, to find the silver lining, and all the other cliches. The struggle is real, it's apparent, and it is extremely inspirational.
The other thing is -- you may have real physical pain and real physical limitations now, but your reaction to it -- negativity, bad self-image -- those are mental. So maybe you won't ever feel like you have to pee, but that doesn't mean you have to feel unattractive! Self image has very little to do with objective truth. If it did, you wouldn't have been stressing over your belly fat and Donald Trump wouldn't have had three wives. From your posts, it sounds like the guy you were dating wasn't right for you anyway, so hopefully the fact that you broke up isn't contributing to your feelings of unattractiveness/inadequacy now. You can do better!

Jewels said...

Are you negative? Or in the tumultuous throes of adjusting to a new reality. Your thoughts and words are lucid, justifiable and good. Keep going....

sibylle said...

Quinn, you are a hero, and I have always admired the things you've done, and still do. Please keep up your hopes - maybe stem cell and experimental treatments will give back some of your legs. Keep trying, don't give up.

Markus said...

Dont blame yourself how you behaved in the past. You can choose every day what kind of person you are. The past doesnt matter. It is the past.

aspendougy said...

Hi Brett: There was a post on SUPERTOPO by a climber who does "adaptive" ascents. He has done a lot of routes on El Cap. He had polio at nine months old, and so doesn't have much leg strength he wrote:

"To answer your adaptive climber question Werner, in my case I contracted Paralytic Polio at nine months, deal with Post Polio Syndrome, wear braces on both legs and wrists, an AFO on my right foot and an ankle brace on the left. I mainly jumar on my ascents, but use climbing skills as well. Adaptive climbing is getting popular in many places in the world. What a wonderful thing this is!

Lurking Fear in 16:43 late July '16
Lurking Fear in 16:43 late July '16
Credit: Kristoffer Wickstrom

"I did my 20th El Cap ascent in '16, and 10 of those were in under a day, one was CTC in under 24 hours. The first of my IAD's was Bad Seed with Brian and Hans Florine, in Sept of '98. I am blessed to have so many really great friends. Brian still inspires me like he did when we climbed Bad Seed, he led those hard aid pitches like Bruce Lee."

I think in a way, it is a lot easier for him, as he has been compromised in the lower extremities since being a baby, and so he never knew anything else. But in your case, you have your entire adult life being fully functional, and then having to go without it.

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