Stasa Gejo, Driven
“It was time to get serious again. It becomes a hard task when there is a quiet competition area, only the coaches cheering, maybe a competitor or two… I brought myself into a very good mood during warming up with my dear friends Andrea Kümin and Franzi Sterrer. After a bunch of boulders, jumping and smiling, I went off to climb. I was welcomed by disorganised Chinese volunteers who did not understand anything you asked them, for example “When do we start?” “How much time until we go?” “Where is my box?” It was mostly a waste of time and voice… However, the first boulder was super-easy, but the second one worsened my mood. I will excuse myself on my height and say that I simply couldn’t fit into the boulder. It was very strange to hold a volume in the overhang, twist the body and put the right foot next to the right hand, from behind…. Not my style, I admit I had no idea how to do it, tried several solutions but none worked. Such creations usually leave a bitter memory that lasts forever…
Two other flashes and a running boulder in second didn’t quite fix the miss, so I finished 7th in qualifications. Thankfully, the World Youth Championships include semi-finals, meaning that I can perform better tomorrow. My qualities couldn’t really be shown today, these inabilities make me a bit sad every time, like an unfinished business.
I need more vibes, I need energy. I need smiles, looks, shouts of joy. I need my battling mode that wipes all the boulders out like a hurricane. I need to activate my inner beast tomorrow and fight for the finals that belong to me! Will I make it?
One day ago I claimed in my mind that I will climb in finals for 100%. Now nothing is certain.
I hate how negative thoughts hit me when I don’t climb my best. I feel like I will never be as dominant as some climbers out there. Every selfish and overestimated thought punches back as a punishment. Karma, karma, why so strict?
The number seven. Used to be one of the two lucky numbers of mine… Will it still be tomorrow? Will it lead me to my last World Youth Championship finals EVER?! I deserve it so bad. Perhaps my subjectivity makes me blind for other climbers, but I still know my sacrifices very well. I don’t believe that humans have any influence on the destiny. We can try as hard as we can, we will not make the impossible shift of the railroad track, to some other outcome.
My job is to be patient and extremely calm tonight. Destiny is a wild animal. Be careful with it, even thoughts matter. I am starting from the very bottom. Expectations restart urgently needed. Refresh. Refresh. Good night Guangzhou.”
As you could guess, these were my thoughts I wrote the night before my last climbing on the World Youth Championship in China, in the beginning of November. Sadly, I actually finished seventh in the general result and missed the so wanted finals.
I have never experienced such emotional pain in my whole life. I felt worse than if a family member would die. I was empty, destroyed from the inside.
The saddest part was that I could not recover from this disappointment after one month. I got injured on the competitions and that severe back pain was worse day by day that I could not manage simple long moves. Then I got a flu, leaving me in bed for two days, just when I thought I could touch the wall again.
My own head was kicking me down each time I got up.
But let me jump back to the beginning. Where it all started…
I realised that I would have to give my best to fight the tiredness after semi-finals. Obviously I am too inexperienced for this level of competitions to handle so many hard rounds in a row. I got so pumped when I passed all the hard parts of this boulder that I couldn’t top-out. Elbows went high, there was no up. I pushed so hard, from different angles, to try to escape the soreness and get up somehow… But there was no up anymore and I lost the contact with the flat surface. I was there, just that my body was weak against the body chemicals and natural processes in muscles. Breathless, I returned to our fancy and comfy athlete lounge. I barely walked so I let myself fall on the closest lazy-bag, where I stayed frozen for ten minutes maybe. Then the pain kicked in when I just thought of getting up….
I needed some time and a lot of effort to get up on my legs, very unstable. I just wanted to disappear somewhere under the ground… I could’ve topped it…
These thoughts are always killing me if I fail to do something I think I am logically able to do. Perception is a devil of mine…
Trainings became real suffering but I saw no solutions, even after I visited a physiotherapist a couple of times. I realised that I got a gross fear of pain. It was a serious thing but my eyes was blind for the exit.
Now I know why – my thoughts were quite negative due to the end of the season and I lost all desire for training. No progress was present or I just didn’t notice it! As I said, my perception is a very evil thing – the cause of many problems.
It was an imperative to keep up the motivation for Guangzhou – I was one of the favourites, just next to Miho Nonaka, I HAD to be good. I thought I was under external pressure for a gold medal, but guess what… That devil fooled me. I did it to myself.
I was a living arena of a deadly fight between the back pain caused by overly tense muscles, fear and depressive cognition. The fight was controlled by my stupid perfectionism who added more and more oil in fire. Imagine all that in one head. One must be a brutally tough person to stop it all. I guess I was not…. “I don’t want to go there” echoing in my head.
Semi final boulders were not just hard, they were a perfect trigger to release all these inner beasts of mine to run me over. They were the perfectly matching key for the cages monsters lied in. Boulder by boulder I was slipping, giving my maximum, tensing shoulders and back above their limits to top those problems but every unrealised idea was followed by a scream, panic, frustration… I will say no more from here. You don’t need to know everything that happens inside of me.
I accepted the loss by letting it overtake my functions. I let the devil control my thoughts and destroy me day by day. Just when I thought I found a way out of hell, something bad would happen from the other, unexpected side.
If there was not my dear mother I don’t think I would write this text. She was drowning in tears, begging me to fix myself, to be the old fighter again.
“All this symbolises life! Never give up, whatever it is about! Life is hard, but it is so beautiful. Grab all your chances, without any calculations, without hesitations. Do not care about results or what people would say! Be strong, be positive, where did all your joy go?? I am sad that you keep losing your faith… You have to get out of this, Staša, now or never.”
Other people were constantly telling me to keep my head up, to cheer up, to get over all the problems. One ear input, other one output, barely anything remained in between. But my mother’s tears and her desperate worry for me kicked me so hard that I instantly had to realise the seriousness of the situation.
That is how I stood up. In meantime I visited another physio that relaxed me and I think I returned the ideal muscle function in the upper back area. I am so happy to feel how the tension disappeared! I am slowly returning to where I was, enjoying every move, every hold… The feeling is indescribable.
Even if we fail, that is just temporary. We learn how to be better. Even by being so low I learned how high I have to go. At first I doubted that I will ever get that high. But the loved ones always remind you who you really are. They wake you up. They open your eyes and wash your windows from dirt. They pull you out on the Sun. They give you love and energy to stand strong on your legs.
Thank you, mother, for being the person who showed me where the sun rises. Lets fight with a smile!