Approximately a billion years ago….or 20, but I’m feeling old right now so bear with me, I was a kid. A very…..scared kid. I never did anything. I don’t know why, I don’t think either of my parents ever fostered an atmosphere of fear, but I was. I thought everything was going to hurt or kill me, I didn’t trust my dad to keep us safe when we went into the bush or on a road trip. I had a nervous stomach and I pretty much stayed at home. Growing up some, I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t party. Our group of friends as mid teens was pretty tame, we’d spend a lot of time laughing and drinking coffee at A&W, not drinking and partying at whatever the popular out of town location was.
As we continued to grow up, this resulted in me getting fat and less social. (part of it, anyway)
Fast forward to 2007 when I had decided, amongst other things, to test out living in the world because being trapped in my apartment and my body was no longer an option. The euphoria that ensued made me feel invincible. Bullet proof! I (stupidly in hind sight) used to run my route every day along the shoulder of a busy trucking route. And I would not give one inch to the idiot truckers who used to try and scare me with their vehicles. I used to walk to work through a questionable part of town and a few times when I got followed or harassed, I stood my ground, not running and not turning back. When I first began my “running career”, I got injured frequently. Nothing really serious, some shin splints, plantar fascitis, pulled groins etc. And I would rest a couple of days and then get right back at it, too determined to crash through whatever limitations I was experiencing. I discovered that getting hurt wasn’t the end of the world, it was just an unfortunate outcome of actually living life.
Fast forward again to meeting and falling in love with Ray and riding bicycles and motorcycles. Last May I crashed my mountain bike fairly well and dislocated my shoulder and smashed up my knee. Unfortunate but not the end of the world. It definitely made me a little more cautious about riding in the rain and more aware of where my skill level is (or isn’t) for bicycling.
On our motorcycles we’ve travelled tens of thousands of kilometers and along the way we’ve had some scary near misses. One in particular in Nevada had us both pretty rattled for a few days. But we got back on the bikes and kept motoring. Because what was the other option? Giving up? No thanks. We no longer ride the same, our friends have noticed even though we’ve never told anyone about the near miss. Ray’s been riding for longer than I’ve been alive but he’s changed his style to suite my more present fear. We’re a little slower and a little closer together now.
Fast forward to last week. And my invincibility is shattered. While I happen to be in pain from the accident. I don’t sleep without chemical assistance, I’m stressed out over writing off the car and getting a new one and not being at work and messing up my relationship with my boss, I am also mourning the loss of my invincibility.
The car accident feels like the final nail in the coffin of my belief that I was invincible. Turns out I’m not bullet proof. And unfortunately that realization has altered the way that I think about myself and my life.
I’m not writing this to feel sorry for myself, please don’t get me wrong. My gym bag is already packed, as soon as all this is sorted out and I am given any sort of clearance to get to the gym, I’m there. I’m not sitting at home eating cake and cookies and bunnies and ice cream all day and I’m mostly not crying into my pillow anymore. I know that sooner than later I’ll be alright again and I don’t want to be set back any further than is necessary.
It’s just a weird feeling to once again be thinking about things in terms of hazards rather than obstacles to be charged through. I’m hopeful that goes away though; maybe once I’m not trapped here in my house and I’m out lifting heavy weights early in the morning and logging walking kilometers and going on ice cream rides, maybe this feeling fades and I get my armour back.
I realize it was only a car accident……but understand that this niggling little feeling of being fearful has been growing steadily for a little while and the recent accident pushed it into the forefront. As much as I will work on my weights and my cardio and my eating, I will add this to the list. I know that there are experiences in people’s lives that, for whatever reason, they get stuck at. I can see how it happens. Uncomfortable feelings (anxiety, fear, dread, sadness, anger) come up and instead of plowing through them and pulverising them to dust, people try to comfort them or shut them down or turn them off.
I refuse to get stuck, I refuse to be fearful, I refuse to be redefined as tentative or scared. I refuse for Ray to always have to wonder if I’m alright with what we’re doing. I will push past the fear and keep going through the anxiety and teach myself again, that injuries and close calls are a side effect of really living life. I’d rather be out there living and occassionally have to recover from something than to be safe in my house never recovering from anything.