No Tears

You know it’s going to be hard.  You know it’s going to hurt.  You most definitely know you will be in solitude.  In spite of your fears, you press on, and pretend you’re not scared of how bad it’s gonna hurt.  You don’t let anyone see how scared you are, ever.  That’s rule #1 of 394,298 rules.  Rule #1 is the most important.  Don’t let them know how hard this is for you.

Immediately, you find yourself alone, which is what you had planned on from the start.  It’s ok, really.  Dues must be paid, and being the new guy is a tough job.  You gotta learn rules.  You gotta learn equipment.  You gotta learn how to fight.  You gotta learn how to push yourself, because sometimes no one else will.  And sometimes…it’s all you can do to push yourself to keep going.  But the crazy thing is…you find a way.  You find a way to push through the fear…the doubt  You find a way to push through the pain and come out better than you were before. 

The really dark, lonely moments are the hardest.  You give, and give, and give.  You look up and realize the road ahead is actually getting longer.  So, how can you give more when you’ve given everything?  Well, that’s a damn good question, but you figure it out and you push andyoupushandyoupushandyoupushanditnevereververstops.  The tears feel like flowing, but you hurt so bad on the outside that it hurts so bad on the inside that you can’t show emotion on the outside.  And you’re by yourself with nothing and no one and you have to get back on your own.  But no tears.  Don’t do it.

And you can’t quit, because you know how bad that feels…and you just can’t quit.

So you don’t.

And you make it, eventually.  

Without tears. 

There’s a lot to think about when you spend 4 hours with yourself, in the middle of nowhere.  You think of all the times you felt pain.  You feel like quitting, but remember you’ve felt worse.  “Remember that time you moved across the country and he wasn’t who you thought he was?  You were alone.”  So you keep moving.  “Remember that time you had knee surgery and couldn’t play ball your senior year?  You were alone.”  A little more motivation.  “Remember that time you were in the middle of the desert and you found out she was gone?  No one was there.”  Almost home.  “Remember that time you decided to enter a race, and it took you nearly 8 hours, and your own brother didn’t think you would finish?  You did that shit on your own.”  You got this.

You survived all that.  So, why can’t you finish this?

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I’m really scared.  Scared it will all fall apart.  Scared that all this is for nothing.  I’m scared that I’ve wanted this for so long, and it’s here, and if it falls apart, I MIGHT FALL APART.  But I stand bold-faced and diligent.  I hold all these things in secret, but you know it and I know it and everyone knows it…because they feel it too.  It’s that shit no one talks about, but they know.  You all know.  Insecurity is a bitch.  It creates a hole, and that hole gets bigger as your doubts burn through.  So, all you can really do is keep moving.  Keep pushing. 

“So for once in my life, let me get what I want.  Lord knows it will be the first time.”– Steven Morrissey

 

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Mayday

Instead of being sad, I choose to be happy.

Instead of dwelling in the past,  I choose to delight in the present.

Instead of feeling guilty,  I choose to accept things as they are.

Instead of shutting people out, I choose to surround myself.

I will not use the day to shed tears and linger in your loss.  I will use the day to laugh, love, and do something I love.  I will not allow negative thoughts and feelings to intrude on my happiness.  I WILL remember you, your kind soul, and your warm embrace.  It is my duty as your daughter to make the day joyful, in remembrance of your smile.  And Mother’s Day, while desperately close to “the day”, will not be used to wallow in self-pity and shame.  We will celebrate life, because we’re still living it, even though you’re not.

“Life  is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.”
William Wordsworth

Pisgah Death March, Version 2.0

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll recall the original Pisgah Death March was my tearful and lonely Monster Cross journey last September.  Version 2.0 was a death march of a different sort, and not so much in the heart of Pisgah, but rather a small snippet of “baby Pisgah”.  My first experience was one I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and unfortunately, so will that nice boy who had the guts and the patience to take my dumb ass to Pisgah.

I don’t remember where we started, nor does it matter, but we had a nice little fire road climb to our trail destination.  Feeling a little rough from the night before (Danny Brown show at the Orange Peel.  Enough said.), I suffered like a dog and sweat like a pig.  Once we got to the trail, my legs already felt like Jell-O and we had a bit of climbing to go.  I struggled to keep up, but kept pedaling as to not look like a total chump.  I had a rough time on the wet roots, mostly because I have NOT been riding my MTB lately.

I used to be an ok MTB’er.  Those skinny tires have made me soft.

Wreck #1.  I took a crappy angle on a wet root and hit the ground.  No big deal…not a bad digger.  It hurt, but I was more concerned with looking like a total D-bag.  I got up, brushed myself off, and hopped back on my bike.  Oh well, I got this, right?

Wrong.

We were at a chill pace, rolling along a flat, non-technical section.  I decided to bunny hop a broken tree branch on the trail, but bobbled a bit when my back tire made contact.  I slid towards the right, tried to correct my direction, and OVER corrected right off the edge.  I had a moment of sheer panic when I realized I was going off the bank.  In that same moment, I flew over the handlebars and my face made contact with a small tree.  I immediately wanted to cry, but managed to save myself from the humiliation of crying in front of a boy…on a mountain bike…in Pisgah.  I couldn’t tell what hurt worse…my face…or my pride.I rode like a frightened little child the rest of the way up.  We stopped to eat a snack, and I sat down to collect myself.  I was putting on my best tough face, but the truth hurt.  No really, the truth HURT SO BAD.  I was pretty angry at myself for being a dumbass.  Since I had such a great performance on the easy trail, we wouldn’t be taking the planned route, and headed downhill for a while.

And in typical Archer fashion (CC: Brian Archer), I rode the technical sections without wrecking my brains out.  So, so typical.

My shoulder will barely move, I have gnarly whiplash, my face looks stupid, and it hurts to pee because my handlebars made permanent residence in my belly…but I’ll get back on that bike.  You know why?  Because it’s always worth it.  The joy my bike brings me is worth every drop of blood.

Am I scared?  Hell yes I am.

There are times when I don’t ever want to feel that feeling again.  The terror of commitment can be overwhelming.  I know I’ll never experience all those great moments without a little pain, suffering, and heartbreak.  It’s a risk.  You look at the big picture and try to choose your lines wisely, but you can’t be totally prepared for the ride.  You might bobble and throw yourself off a mountain, or you might nail it and gain the most amazing feeling in the world.

So, I have to chance this.  I have to grit my teeth and choose my path.  I can’t let up because I’m afraid of getting hurt.  I can’t stop taking risks because it might not work out.  I have to commit and let myself go.  Sometimes you get a chance to wake up to something beautiful, and sometimes you’re left to lick your wounds alone.  Just don’t let it get away without giving your whole self.  Don’t wonder “what if”.  Stop being scared, and just let yourself feel it…whatever that is.