I Try To Believe
“I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Count them, Alice. One, there are drinks that make you shrink. Two, there are foods that make you grow. Three, animals can talk. Four, cats can disappear. Five, there is a place called Underland. Six, I can slay the Jabberwocky.”
This season. It was not the best. No matter what I tried I couldn’t get comfortable enough to climb well. Everything went wrong and stayed wrong and then it was all over. I felt very much like the wrong Alice. Somewhere, since the last season, I had very much stopped believing in six impossible things.
“Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen and four times seven is –oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at this rate.”
Like Alice down the rabbit hole I wasn’t looking at my problems in the right base. I knew I was late but I didn’t know where I should go, who I should see or what size I should be. I had been trying to work it out from my clues but I had lost much of my muchierness.
“Let a figure be conceived to undergo a certain continuous variation, and let some general property concerning it be granted as true, so long as the variation is confined within certain limits; then the same property will belong to all the successive states of the figure”
I may look the same, but like a changing intersecting circle I have moved apart from myself and I’m still trying to intersect at the same places. I don’t want to live in a looking-glass house anymore.
“Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret… All the best people are.”
In 2012 I damaged my neck at work meaning that I lost the use of, and feeling in, my right arm. I was told by several doctors, a surgeon and a physio that I may never climb again and if I did it would never be at the same standard that I had before. I was only a few months from beginning the start of my teaching journey. I couldn’t have written on a board, or even marked a book. Teaching and climbing are everything to me. It felt like the end of the road… but didn’t become the end the road. I kept searching and found the solution that worked. And then a year and a half later, I climbed for Great Britain in a sport I had taken up a few months before. This year didn’t work out as well as the season before. But things have changed since then and we can’t always get what we want. I’ve been busy, I’ve done all this whilst doing my PGCE and first year teaching and all in a subject which feels kind of new to me. I’m a mathematics teacher who competes at a world level; that’s not to be sneezed at even if I feel I could perform better.
While I was away I got taught to ski by a super friend and I made so many new friendships I can’t write off the time as wasted.
“Six impossible things, count them Katy. One, there are career threatening injuries which can be fixed. Two, you can teach and love a subject that wasn’t always your own. Three, like imaginary numbers, you do not have to exist as a fixed point on a line. Four, you can learn things from failure and it means it isn’t really failure at all. Five, THE END only really happens once. Six, I can slay the Jabberwocky.”