I imagine that I am not alone in admitting that lately I have felt a bit “stuck”. Pursuing an unconventional lifestyle that includes raising tens of thousands of dollars to take a stab at completing one of the greatest adventure achievements has come with monumental peaks and forbidden pits. It feels like I am stuck on a rollercoaster that shoots me high, pulls me low, and swings me round and round, and as much as I want to get off this rollercoaster sometimes, I simply can’t…because it’s my destiny to ride this ride until the end. In an attempt to “unstick” myself, I wandered into the woods in search of knowledge and direction. Instead of feeling lost in the infinite pages of my life atlas, I am choosing to answer some heavy questions about myself in an effort to create forward movement once again beginning with the hardest. What defines Kim Hess?
I have struggled most of my life with the unnerving sensation I get when I feel as though everyone is looking at me. I worship my privacy and those who know me well know that I keep my inner most personal thoughts and feelings close to my heart, rarely inviting the world in to experience it. Conquering the tallest mountain in the world was a deeply personal achievement that quickly threw me head first into the not-so-private life. Sharing this story with strangers was something I loathed simply because the fight of making the journey relatable to anyone seemed impossible. In the blink of an eye I found that I was no longer known by my given name, Kim, Kimberly, Kimmy…I was referred to as “The Everest Girl”. One might assume that this would be the greatest compliment. On the contrary those three words made my skin crawl. I’m not just “The Everest Girl”…that doesn’t define me…that’s just something I did…These thoughts have relentlessly haunted me.
What defines a human being? Is it our career, friends, education level, salary, social media followers, children, accomplishments, marriage, mortgage, a last name? What defines our being? Our purpose? Our legacy?
When I began writing this blog I quickly became intimidated with the daunting task of definitively defining myself. I walked away from my computer for weeks after beginning this exercise out of fear of committing to one definition for the rest of my life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have commitment issues. For example, it took me a month to choose a new couch because I over emphasized the importance and stress on choosing something I would then be committed to forever. Although I reminded myself this couch wasn’t forever, I was powerless to the anxiety that bound me tightly like a python, squeezing the life and energy out of my mind and body. Dramatic, I know. With time, I deliberately peeled the death grip anxiety had on me and chose a silly, insignificant, significant couch, allowing myself to accept the truth that nothing is forever.
What defines me today may not define me next week, or in three months, a year, or five years, it is simply what defines me today. I am not “The Everest Girl”, or the “Littlest Hess”, or “Kim the Crazy Climber”. I am a strong, driven, badass dreamer who understands that pain is temporary, playing catch-up will only slow you down, and I am 100% comfortable being UNcomfortable.
What defines you?