Say no to gatekeeping

Last night, my partner and I were at a climbing gym. We're still beginners, but we've been going for a few months. A couple near the area we were bouldering in were conversing loudly, enough that I'm sure they intended for others to hear, about how “too many people saw Free Solo” and people need to “go latch on to some other hobby” and about how using the gym is going to be awful come the new year (presumably, resolutions).

Earlier the same day, I met with a new coworker. During our conversation, they brought up that they heard I enjoy woodworking, which is true. I enjoy it, and it's a hobby of mine. I don't consider myself particularly good at it, but I'd still say I'm a hobbyist woodworker or do woodworking now and then. My coworker said to me that they are “not really a woodworker” as they had “only” built a CABIN on their own. That's super dope and you should be proud!

To paraphrase a prominent celebrity woodworker, “if you take two pieces of wood and fasten them together into one thing, congratulations, you're a woodworker.”

My point is don't gatekeep others, and don't gatekeep yourself. Imposter syndrome is a very real, very spooky thing and people like the couple in the gym perpetuate this weird sense that you don't deserve the title or you don't deserve to be a part of that group. Fuck that, do what you enjoy and don't dampen your own talents by qualifying how you describe your hobbies.

Signed, Michael Rock climber, woodworker, dog-petter