Over the years and decades of my life I have tried to find peace in many places, as a child living with almost daily molestation I would be the first at the lacrosse club and the last to leave I would be the first at the judo club the last to leave because when I was home I was either being molested recovering from it just having happened or hiding and hoping just maybe today would be the day it ended.
When I became working age I went to work then I went out after work, I worked three jobs at once and then would go to a night club until dawn. Or I worked one place as a chef another as a barperson and another as security because of my martial arts skills.
When I was in my twenties I hid in a bottle or on a comedy stage or on the road during the day playing a costume character here doing comedy or cheffing on TV I had no peace, I could find no peace so I filled my life my days and my nights and most of all my mind with so many activities that the terrors could find no place to grow.
When I came to the united states I found love with my Ella but still not always peace, Ella’s mom gave me peace and she died.After Momma’s death her loss ripped the lid c off the box and 11 years of molestation started showing a double triple and sometimes a quadruple feature in high def in my dreams every night.
As the nightmares came so did my disability in spades, it started with walking stick then two then a mobility scooter then finally a chair I can no longer stand or walk without seizure, serious seizure any attempt to stand or walk has me shaking and out of it so wheels under my ass is the only solution. For the first two years I became a hurt bitch I turned on everyone around me, I burnt more bridges than the confederate army in retreat. Then I started writing, I wrote a journal the journal became a manuscript then a book and in the process I cried over every page but then I felt a small portion of peace but then when it came time to close my eyes the peace became fleeting as the nightmares were lined waiting for my eyes to close.
A little over 6 months ago I was reintroduced to a dear old friend the art of climbing through NYC adaptive climbing and the cool people at Brooklyn boulders, I climbed again it wasn’t the nullabour plains cliffs of my twenties and thirties but it lifted my busted body out of a chair one wall at a time and my spirits to the skies. For those minutes I wasn’t disabled you had no idea who belonged to the chair at the bottom, and for the first time in a long time when people looked they didn’t see the chair or the seizures or the disability they saw a climbing harness. We didn’t talk medication we talked route numbers and names like el-capitain or bouldering or top roping, they replaced carbamazepine and grand mal and petti- mal or wheelchair and I knew peace.
I now have a place where I roll in and belong, where I have friends who tell me “you don’t need adaptive groups you’re a damn good climber” I was only climbing once a week with nyc adaptive I now climb three days a week and Ella who was frightened by it now is a crazy climber who can’t get enough.
I climb with no belayer just the auto belayer, if I fall I fall but when I succeed oh it is so sweet because again it’s just me. So now if people see me a t the Brooklyn boulders and I look covered in chalk and dripping sweat but smiling like a Cheshire cat dont be so confused I’m not, the smile is because the chalk on my hands got me all the way to the top and when I got there peace was waiting so I grabbed it with both hands and I don’t intend to let go anytime soon.
Don’t get me wrong I am here today because of the peace given to me my great names like George snake scarvellis and Alf Phillips and Neil Ballard, my lacrosse and judo friends know that with those names I am here on the shoulders of giants and from their shoulders I climb to peace. I know without those giants I probably would never have made it.
I am climbing in 24 hours again and when I arrive through the roller door of BKB I will inhale because I know peace is there and I know I will fall many times, but when you climb it’s only from the view from the bottom after a fall can you find your way to the top so in that way the fall is almost as peaceful as the climb see you at the top.