This whole “new bike, high expectations, frustration inducing” few days that I’ve had are, of course, teaching me a lesson about myself and about life.
Yesterday at work my boss told me of a top notch ice cream store about a 45 minute ride away. After some consideration and deciding that nothing changes if you don’t make changes, I studied the map, memorized the directions and then told Ray that I wanted to lead a ride to a “mystery location”. Normally I would never ride in the lead. I’ve done it approximately a half dozen times in 6 years. I always preferred riding at the back and taking my cues and confidence from him. I also basically get lost in a parking lot so leading a ride to somewhere completely new is even more foreign. Last night though, I put my confidence out on the line and went way out of my comfort zone.
And it turned out? Pretty frigging awesome. I didn’t tell him where we were going because I felt like it would be easier for me to “need” to lead if only I knew our destination (also, I like surprises so I thought I would give him one). On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best riding I have ever done and 1 being “I’m done, abandon bike”, the ride out to the ice cream last night was a solid 6. Not super great….but not horrible and I’m happy with that. My stopping has improved immensley since Monday and now I’m achieving a smooth, controlled landing 90% of the time. My accelerating from a stop still sort of sucks, I haven’t quite figured out the clutch/brake/throttle combo yet but it’s better than it was. Blah blah blah…if you’re not a rider, you probably don’t care about that crap. My point is, improvement!
For the ride back home I asked Ray to lead as I was a bit turned around and besides, behind him is normally where I’m most comfortable so I wanted to give that a whirl too. If the ride out was a 6, the ride back was a 3. Wha?! Never, in my wildest imagination, would I have believed I would have more confidence beign in charge of myself and leading myself around. Never. Around halfway home, Ray took off ahead faster than I wanted to go which made us “independent riders” rather than riding as a pair (closer together and staggered). Once again, higher skill level, higher confidence, better ride. He told me when we got home that he’d noticed it wasn’t going as well as the ride out there so he spread us out to give me space to do my own thing.
So…I learned a few things last night. First, all my efforts at gaining my own space, time, independence has worked in ways I never predicted. I will not, for one second, say that I was oppressed…..but I did, over time and circumstance, stop working on the things that are important to making me a strong, healthy woman. Second, had I not just spent 5 figures on this new bike, I would have quit on Monday. And Tuesday. And a little bit on Wednesday morning. I expect perfection right out of the gate and if I don’t have it, my first reaction is to assume that I am broken, useless or bad at whatever it is. Instead, if I could learn to expect wobbles and a bumpy start and just keep pushing on, I would distress myself a lot less! I’ll keep practicing and paying attention and I’ll get better. Ray’s comment Tuesday was that Jezebel is talking to me, I just don’t understand what she’s saying yet. Last night I figured out a bit of her language. It makes me wonder how many other things I have quit in defeat because I wasn’t perfect at it right off the bat.
Finally, I learned last night to never make anyone else responsible for making you feel good, accomplished or proud. I was very, VERY proud of myself last night. I rode my brand new bike the furthest I’ve gone with her, I led the ride which I have rarely done and I took us to somewhere totally new which I have never done. That is all HUGE for me. Unfortunately, for a little while, I was feeling let down because I was really expecting (hoping) that Ray would be super impressed and proud of me. And………..he wasn’t really. I don’t think he really sees it as an accomplishment, just as something he figures I should be able to do. It was very disappointing (and possibly led to the less-fantastic ride home) and took the shine off. Along the way home I “turned the corner” and decided that my pride in myself is enough. I am enough! However………I did have a calm word with Ray before I went to bed; along the lines of “Honey, sometimes I need you to tell me that you’re proud of me.”. He was basically shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t just know that he was impressed and proud of me because he always is, “duh.”. It’s an ongoing communication issue that flares up from time to time. (remember how I told you my blog is totally honest and unfiltered these days? This would be one of those instances………..relationships are hard, we can be on different playing fields sometimes and we don’t always make our spouses feel very good………it’s life……..and even though I was screaming “You’re quite the confidence killer!” in my head on the way home, I pulled myself together and went at the issue much more gently………whether it worked or not? Who knows.)
So to summarize. Bike = much better, Shanny = more confident, relationships are hard, ice cream is where it’s at!