Solcana blog

IT’S THE CLIMB

By: Lauren Anderson

For the past few days, I keep catching myself humming an old Miley Cyrus song from 2009.

I know! I’m as surprised as you are. Cause honestly, I didn’t even know that I had those lyrics rattling around in my head. I’ve never bought an album. But some stars are just ubiquitous I s’pose.

I won’t keep you guessing either–there’s no big song reveal. It’s “The Climb”. You probably know it too. Cause duh. Like any good pop star worth her salt, you’re either omnipresent or you’re out.

The chorus croons out like this:

“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle, Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the CLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMB.”

I’ll be walking to my car in the parking lot, or packing my backpack for work, and I’ll find myself singing it. And then laughing at myself. I mean, of all things! This song on top of the Santana /Rob Thomas smash hit collab “Smooth” that’s also been stuck in my head for– I kid you not—almost 3 weeks now! (“Give me your heart, make it real or else forget about it!”)

I mean, it’s enough to drive any music lover to distraction.

So what’s up? Why the Santana? And now why Miley too?! The only thing that I can find they have in common is that “Smooth” was released in 1999, and “The Climb” was released in 2009, and now it’s 2019. Okaaaay. So they all end in a ‘9’. Except years ending in nine mean absolutely nothing to me!

Now if I wake up tomorrow with Prince’s 1989 hit song “Batdance” stuck in my head, then we might be on to something. But for now I think it remains a mystery.

But perhaps it brings up a point I hadn’t considered.

We juuuuust switched over into 2019. We’re about a month in, and I’m feeling more restless than I have in quite a while. I guess you can say I’m in a real transitional stage in my life right now.

First it’s the normal stuff. We’re about to close the current show while we’re concurrently writing and about to open the next one. This is a natural transition in my biz, that I’ve done for most of my adult life. But it’s still a busy time with lots of moving parts.

And with more writing comes more deadlines, which can be a tricky wicket. Sometimes it’s easy and the words just flow. Other times it takes me four hours to write one page. Yet the agony of the process is worth the ecstasy in the product. So I solider on. (P.S. I actually love it, I’m just being dramatic.)

Meanwhile, I got a new door on my apartment, which is taking longer to get used to than I thought. Yeah, I know it’s just a door but Hey! It’s new and it’s weird.

And finally– I’m embarrassed to admit that I too, tried to Marie Kondo my abode to match my new door. I’ll let you know how it goes. But for now I am ankle-deep in clothes that don’t spark joy, and piles of regret.

The stuff of life I suppose. I apologize dear reader, for subjecting you to that mundane list. I think I was trying to talk about the little things ’cause it’s easier to hem and haw about the day-to-day than it is to tackle the THE BIG STUFF right?

Cause there’s some BIG STUFF.

Here goes: I have been doing EDMR therapy for the past few weeks and it’s changing everything about my life in the best way–including my thoughts about my past, the way I feel in the present, and the approach I’ll use for my future. It’s a total mind re-boot.

I feel like the scarecrow getting his head stuffed with healthy new straw, so I can finally get my doctorate in Thinkology.

“With a pat pat here and a pat pat there and a couple of brand new straws,
That’s how we keep you young and fair in the merry old land of Oz!…
And it ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side—It’s the CLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMB.”

DAMMIT MILEY!!! *shakes fist to sky

It’s as fascinating as it is exhausting, and every time I leave my therapists office I feel like I’ve had a major catharsis. I’ll be a sobbing snotty mess, but simultaneously feel great. It’s ridiculous and marvelous and strenuous. (Basically all the “ous” -es.)

It’s like I’m shifting my paradigm entirely. Because this is not your ordinary reframe.

This is Plate Tectonics baby.

(That’s a metaphor my friend Heather Meyer uses a lot and it’s so fitting!  Earth shift!)

And honestly I’ve never felt better, even though right now I temporarily feel much much worse–at the same time!  It’s spinning me like a record. Like a Miley freakin Cyrus record.

For those of you that don’t know what EDMR is, I’ll give you the quick and dirty run-down.

EMDR stands for: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s this popular form of psychotherapy used with patients who have experienced trauma. Or for people that are stuck in one pattern of thought that they cannot move on from. It’s very effective on a wide swath of people, and there’s a ton of research about how it has provided tremendous help for war veterans, survivors of sexual assault etc.

Basically it works like this: The person being treated is asked to recall distressing images while generating one type of bilateral sensory input. Which is a fancypants way of saying– getting your brain to repeatedly switch from side to side. Right left, Back and forth, you get it.

Some therapists have you tap hands or move your eyes (which is I think how it got it’s name), but at my place we use a machine that vibrates. I put a “pod” in each palm and then I go into a memory, and the rest is quite literally, history.

I’ve been talking to everyone I know about this, because I’ve found it so life changing, and everyone that’s done it has said it worked for them. Exciting! They also go on to say that it was one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to do. And boy howdy do I get that.

I’ve never cried so much in my life. Even after the therapy session I keep crying. I’ve been crying everyday, multiple times. Sometimes it will strike out of the blue.

Not because I’m sad or out-of-control. But because I finally feel released of a burden.

See what I mean? CATHARSIS.

One person I talked with who wasn’t working at the time of their EMDR, was shocked to hear I had to go straight from my therapy session to perform a comedy show for hundreds of people.

In hindsight, I don’t know how I did that either. I guess the “show must go on” is really inside of me, regardless of what paradigm I’m shifting to.

So why bring all this up with you now?

Well, it’s got me thinking about over-all wellness again. And how I’ve been kind of frustrated at how sleepy and distracted I’ve been lately because of the EMDR. And how many workouts I have opted out of due to fatigue and dehydration from crying. (That’s a joke of course, but I wonder…)

I’ve been getting mad at myself about it too!

Even though my therapist told me I might be extra tired and have intense dreams. She actually said, “Your mind is doing a lot of very difficult work, and it will help if you can be gentle with yourself while we’re doing this.”

My mindset effects everything! Including my workouts. Or even my ability TO work out. And I think that particular brand of mental exhaustion is easy to overlook, because it’s not like I just ran a marathon or bailed some hay.

It all took place in my mind, and it’s easy to take for granted the work that resides in the brain cause you can’t see it. Often you can’t even feel it.

Which is bonkers if you think about it! Cause I could argue that my health has been more affected by a toxic memory that I’ve had on repeat in my head for over 20 years, than I when I broke my arm!

The arm took 6 months to heal. Everyone could see it. There was a cast, there was dialogue, there were steps to take. You could watch the literal bones being fused back together over time in the X-rays.

But that toxic memory rattled quietly in my brain, unseen and unheard. Shaping and changing everything that would come after it. Causing me to adapt patterns and strategies to survive that would prove to hurt me in the future.

And the scariest part is I didn’t recognize the memory as particularly harmful until very recently. It’s like I didn’t even know what I didn’t even know.

It’s as if I broke my arm and no one, myself included, could tell that my arm was broken. And I guess, if left to it’s own devices, an arm has two options: to fuse back incorrectly, or fall off.

Either way that arm isn’t much use, is it?

And yet how often do we suffer with these ideas and memories that could potentially render us as useless as an arm that fell off?

It’s a lot to think about. But I can’t think anymore. I’m spent, and I’m healing. I need out of my head and back into my body. Even though I’m fatigued, I still want to move.

I need a break. In my routine, in my mindset, from the piles of laundry on the floor to be sorted, and the pages of scripts I have to re-write.

So when my friend Alexis asked if I wanted to go bouldering with her at an indoor rock climbing facility… I was like, “F*ck yes. Let’s do it.”

Alexis and I– Dominating.

 

I’ve never Bouldered a day in my life. I’ve never even considered that “Bouldering” was a thing that you could do. Especially indoors.

In fact, if you would’ve asked me what “Bouldering” was a few weeks ago, I would’ve laughed and made some joke about dipping genitalia into something. But now I know better.

Bouldering is the fancypants way of describing basically rock climbing without a harness. There are thick mats and I don’t think you go up as high– but it felt like you just free climb up a mountain and see how far you can go.

There’s strategy and effort, and of course strength and agility! Plus some mental acrobatics! After only a few climbs I was sweating and tired, but in a good way. I was nervous at first, but I had lots of support. And there was a few things I observed about myself.

First, I would have never said Yes to this a few years ago. I would’ve rejected the idea because I thought it wasn’t for me. But Solcana must’ve done a little EMDR on me over the years as well, and convinced me that I’m an athlete, because I walked into that place excited and confident and ready to take up space.

When it was time, I jumped onto the wall without hesitation and gave it a try. Alexis laughed and was like, “Man you just go for it!” And I took it as a HUGE compliment. I knew my limits, and I respected my body. As if I could hear it speak to me. I laughed when I failed, and kept going.

Second, my body looked different from some of the other bodies in that place. Again, if this was a few years ago, that fact would’ve knocked me into my head and convinced me that I don’t belong there. But Solcana taught me that I belong. That my body belongs. That strength and health comes in a lot of shapes and sizes and genders and colors.

And third… if Solcana has taught me anything it’s the joy of functional fitness! Not only was I getting a good sweat on, I was also learning a new skill that I can use later. Like every workout at the gym. In fact, I had a point of pride while I was at the bouldering place, and I saw a person warm up with some squats and I thought, “get your butt back further!” to myself. Because of Solcana, I know what proper form looks like!

I got jazzed at the idea of becoming so good at bouldering I could take it to the actual boulder!

WHO AM I?!?!

Haha! I’m a totally different person remember? EMDR is picking up where Solcana started, and together they are shaping me into the best 2019 version of me I can be. Cause Fitness just like mental health should be functional. And fitness means strength and health in all corners. Mind, body and soul.

Now I’m the girl that cried cathartic tears this morning from releasing pain from my past. I’m also the woman that made her co-workers laugh later that same afternoon when I read my sketches out loud in the writer’s room. And later that night I’m the athlete that decided to “shake it up” with a new friend and climb some boulders for fun.

And any guesses to what was going through my head when I reached the top of my first run?

Nope. It was Santana.

But on my walk out to the car, you can bet what I was humming—finally, FINALLY for the first time in days that inexplicable 2009 classic Miley song stuck in my head– made sense.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle, Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose 

Ain’t about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the CLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMB.”

 

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