Love on the Rocks

5 months ago Comments Off on Love on the Rocks

Rock climbing brought her love — twice.

“I started climbing because of a boy,” Amisty Ali said on ladies’ night at the Texas Rock Gym in Houston. “I was afraid of heights at the time.”

You wouldn’t know it now. Ali is able to maintain a firm position on the wall without sacrificing pace. Her ability to make quick decisions gives her similar qualities to Spider-Man scaling a New York skyscraper.

Back when she was still learning, and still on-and-off in her relationship, Ali’s love of climbing continued to grow. She went on a climbing trip to Tennessee.

And there, “I actually met the man of my dreams,” Ali said.

Fairytale aside, rock climbing has also helped Ali overcome a more serious inner conflict.

Ali sometimes finds herself experiencing symptoms of anxiety: feeling nervous, restless or tense, having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom and trembling.

She says she’s not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder — but if she were, she’d be in good company. In the U.S. 40 million people have anxiety and they’re more likely to be women.

Fortunately, Ali said, “I haven’t had many issues with anxiety since I started climbing.”

“I didn’t like to climb when I first started,” Ali said. “When I first started climbing I wasn’t really good at it and I didn’t like to let go of the rope. I kept doing it until I eventually got it. [My anxiety] started to become a distant memory and I think I’ve mostly gotten over it.”

Overcoming a fear takes confidence, as does finding a soulmate.

Amisty Ali (27) scaling a wall at the Texas Rock Gym in Houston, TX on July 24, 2017. Ali suffers from anxiety and is scared of heights, but says rock climbing helps clear her mind. Photo by Ryan Reynolds
Amisty Ali (27) scaling a wall at the Texas Rock Gym in Houston, TX on July 24, 2017. Ali suffers from anxiety and is scared of heights, but says rock climbing helps clear her mind. Photo by Ryan Reynolds

And the man of her dreams was someone who, to her seemed out of reach. Danny Rufrano was popular; he had the kinds of qualities that made her think he wouldn’t be interested in someone introverted like her.

“I was by myself at this birthday party, which I didn’t mind,” Ali said. “He just came over and sat by me and said ‘Hey Misty, what’s going on?’ That struck something with me and we started dating right after that.”

And that was really all it took. His gesture impressed her, they connected and have been together for three years.

“She’s taught me that even though you’re unsure of yourself and uncomfortable, you can still accomplish your goals,” Rufrano said. “You can always push through and see things to the end. I moved to Texas for her. She means alot to me and I can’t imagine not being with her. I can tell she’s not sure of herself when it comes to her interactions with people, but she can relax around me.”