More on the difficulty of change.
A couple weeks ago I posted about letting go of the climbing, and the fitness associated with it (actually I don’t know how long its been. Real time tells me I’ve been trying to write this post for a week, at least) In it, I lamented the loss of my forearm muscles. The forearms where a joke, an easy way for me to hint at what is happening inside.
My friend Josh, when he heard that I had quit climbing, said: “This changes the whole way we know you!” My response was that it changes the way I see myself. (As a side note, if most of my friends don’t know, who the hell is reading this blog?)
In truth the switch hasn’t been all that hard, what has been hard to deal with is the what these activities require of me on the inside. I’ve had my share of dark moments while climbing. But in general it worked better for me if I wasn’t feeling overly angry. That energy seemed to mess with my head in a way that made it really hard to climb. This is a different story on the bike.
It could be that I just learned to put the lock on those feelings and keep them bottled. Maybe I don’t remember things correctly and they haven’t been put away as long as I think they have. Whatever the case maybe I’m becoming reacquainted with them. Thing is they seem to work for me on the bike.
Pretty much every long bike ride I’ve done I’ve gone through an extended period where (regardless of the music I’m listening to) I’m pissed as hell. What follows may seem funny, but my mind suddenly buckles down. My focus goes through the roof. I stop thinking about all the shit that’s bothering me. I forget about the fact that the Portland bike scene feels high on its self. I forget the fact that this will be my first year racing and I want nothing more than to destroy.
Destroy the training ride (while keeping its focus) destroy the competition and most importantly destroy myself. Why is the destruction of myself the most important bit?
Because even though I may direct my anger at people who can afford nice bikes, and therefore don’t need to be nice to others on who share their passions. What I’m really pissed at (I’m mature enough to admit this) is me. The fact that I may have screwed myself from ever getting a real job again when I left the last one. The fact that I feel so inadequate when I spend time with people who have their shit together. The fact that I’m afraid I’m going to end up like my Uncles…. So much.
Maybe that’s why I came back to the bike. Remembering those efforts I would put in, for no other reason than to do it. Back then I didn’t race. Now I want to, more than anything. All of the hard efforts I’ve put in up to this point mean nothing. All the effort I’ll put in up until the start line won’t mean anything without that effort. Without the will to throw myself to the dogs and burn everything I’ve got to get me over the line in front of the other guy.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a good, or even great season WILL NOT suddenly make me get my shit together, nor will it make a better person. Hell it won’t even make me any better than that hipster who’s skidding his back wheel to death. But then again, it might lead to a better me, one who is past all that other bullshit.
A man I respect, one who I’ve never met but has changed my life, wrote a simple equation: Talk-Action= Zero. So I guess there’s only one way to find out. Though Mishima points to the answer.
“…at the heart of the apple, shut up within the flesh of the fruit, lurks the core in its wan darkness, tremblingly anxious to find some way to reassure itself that it is a perfect apple. The apple certainly exists, but to the core this existence as yet seems inadequate… Indeed, for the core, the only sure mode of existence is to exist and to see at the same time. There is only one method of solving this contradiction. It is for a knife to be plunged deep into the apple so that it is split open and the core is exposed to the light… Yet then the existence of the cut apple falls to pieces; the core of the apple sacrifices existence for the sake of seeing.”