For once this is not a post about climbing….but love ?
I’m writing this for many reasons, but above all I want to share my story in hope it will help or resonate with even just one person. I’m happy and I’m not afraid to be honest and share my story.
Last year I began a journey that I didn’t plan and never thought I’d go on; the hardest, most confusing but in the end most rewarding and happy experience of my life.
Until October last year my life was all lined out in front of me- to settle down with my boy friend and live the life I thought I wanted.
I think what happened has actually shocked me more than anyone else…I fell for a girl!
I’ve learnt a valuable lesson and if I’m honest, I now realise how naive I was. It is possible for anyone to fall in love with anyone, of any gender and if you follow your heart the truth can bring the truest happiness. In the words of Beyoncé “True love never has to hide”. Love is love. Am I gay, am I bisexual or have I just fallen in love with a girl- not even I know and it really doesn’t matter, I don’t need a label, I’m still just Be!
Believe me I tried everything to override my feelings and convince myself this wasn’t more than a friendship; we’ve both been in denial for months, lying to ourselves out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of rejection and fear of the truth affecting our careers.
To keep everything above board and professional the GB team psychologist was informed and involved from the start and she has been completely comfortable with how our relationship organically developed. It would be easier to carry on as we are, with only those who need to know involved, because really it shouldn’t matter, our personal lives are no one else’s business. But now rumors are beginning to spread about our relationship we feel honesty is the best policy and our openness may actually help people. Whether or not we’re ready to share this yet, we’re not ashamed and our climbing community is so small we would rather tell the facts than allow speculation.
When we’re working together or with the GB team we are professionals; we don’t and will never let our relationship affect either of our careers. The other GB team coach has known since the start and has taken primary care of Hannah during team training / events and makes the decisions regarding her position on the team. The BMC (the organisation that run the GB team) acknowledge it as a private, adult relationship with no negative implications.
Falling in love with a woman was not part of my plan…falling in love with a member of my paraclimbing team was absolutely not part of my plan! I’ve had to dig real deep, go through hell and say good bye to the life I had to understand the truth. I didn’t have a choice- Hannah and I just clicked- once I had time on my own I realised what my feelings were. Having Hannah in my life has completed me, she allows me to be me, something that for all I know a man could never do and she means the world to me. I’ve always been a happy person but I never knew it was possible to feel this comfortable.
So I’ve accepted the next part of my journey is telling you guys (most of whom really won’t care- I’m no Tom Daley ?!) because I’ve learn’t a few key things that I hope will help someone else go through this journey with a little less stress!
Firstly, no one really cares, not in the negative, judgmental way you expect, they just care hugely that you are happy; our friends and family still love us and fundamentally nothing’s changed.
Most importantly no matter what you’re told, what society suggests or what you are led to believe, if you learn to listen to your heart and feelings you can find true happiness.
Last year a very wise man told me something that changed my life- “feelings always beat thoughts, don’t fool yourself.” He also taught me the wonders and benefits of meditation.
Once I learnt to listen to my feelings I was able to override my thoughts (that constant noise and chatter in our heads created by society, upbringing, opinions, schooling, church etc.) and experience true happiness.
I’m no master but with a busy brain and life like mine sitting in silence for 5-10 minutes a day meditating may have saved me! Climbing is also a meditation for me, a time and place where I can be myself, clear my mind and just feel and enjoy the flow.
My hope is that my openness around this subject will help climbers and many more to free their minds and find happiness and peace in themselves. This is also the intention of my charity ‘Climbing Out of Depression’ which will soon be offering support at as many walls as possible around the country.
At the end of the day being happy is all that matters, we’ve only got one life and love conquers all!
Thank you for reading.
Be (and Hannah)