When I met Maya at our photoshoot, I couldn't believe her age. I definitely enjoyed my time with her and am excited to share her story. Enjoy!
I started rock climbing competitively when I was 13 years old, and climbing has been the single most important thing in the world to me ever since. About a year later, while attending a training for my first SCS youth nationals, I developed a mysterious shooting pain in my wrist that kept coming back no matter how many rest days I took.
Ice therapy helped only slightly, there was no visible swelling or inflammation, and the tendons all seemed healthy and intact, but I couldn't climb. I went to about a million and five different doctors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, and acupuncturists, but no one knew what the problem was. At long last,after close to 8 months of being intermittently unable to climb, a hand specialist told me I had a small ganglion cyst behind the tendon. It was anatomically harmless, but potentially very painful, and the only way to correct it was a surgery that could cause scar tissue buildup and potentially damage the tendons permanently if there were complications. Since nationals was only a few weeks away, I opted to wait until after the competition to have the operation.
To get through qualifiers, I took a double dose of Aleve to keep the inflammation down. I climbed all day and, to my surprise, when the painkillers wore off, it didn't hurt at all. I monitored it carefully over the next few weeks, but the pain didn't come back. I canceled the surgery and went back to training at full intensity, and still my wrist remained pain-free. I never knew why the problem seemed to fix itself that day, but I suspect the Aleve allowed me to inflate the cyst until it burst by masking the pain. Every once in awhile, I feel it starting to come back, so I take Aleve and climb on it and that usually clears it up. The two seasons I missed because of the cyst were painful, but they helped me realize that I'm not invincible and I need to take care of my body. They also helped me realize that whatever happens, I'll make it through and start again even stronger. The frustration of having to hold back from competing at my full potential made me more determined than ever to come back at the top of my game the next season.
Success, to me, means making a name for myself in professional climbing. Competing at the world level has been my dream for as long as I can remember.
Being a strong woman means I can stand up for myself, and I don't need anyone's help to be who I am. It means I don't let anybody bully me into being someone or something other than exactly who I want to be. It means I make my own decisions. It means I do what I want, not what other people want. (Unless that other person is my mother. I do what she wants.)
A defining moment in my (so far very short) life was the first time I walked into a rock gym. I was ten years old. I remember stepping through the door and looking up at the walls which to my 4-and-a-half-foot-tall self seemed enormous and I knew, somewhere deep down, that this was what I was meant to do. Advice to other women: Never, ever, ever let anyone boss you around. (Unless that person is your mother.)
Don't give up, don't give in, and don't give people beta they don't want.