Well.. that didn’t take long. I purchased a brand new motorcycle yesterday, a much bigger and heavier bike than I’m used to riding. I took it out today, very cautiously, just down my street to practice stopping and going, and to get a feel for this new beast. I had it in a parking lot and stopped on a bit of a downhill slant; it started tipping to the right and I pushed to keep it up, just enough to tip it the other way and, not being able to catch the weight, down we went.
Not even a day old and it’s scratched and the clutch is bent. My legs are bruised and sore, but my confidence is what has been truly crushed.
I’m having a really hard time not believing I made a very bad call on purchasing this bike. I love it – it’s all black and dragon-y red. I wanted this to be my dragon-mobile, and now I’m not even convinced I will ever be able to ride it. I’m having the thoughts that I misjudged my capabilities, and my physical limitations. I know people say you get used to it, and it might just be about practice and getting my body used to supporting the extra weight. I know I had similar doubts about my first motorcycle when I started riding it last year. I couldn’t even start moving without stalling. I know I’ve been caught in this doubt before, but it’s hard not to believe that these thoughts are more legitimate. And maybe they are. Honestly, I suppose it’s just too soon to tell.
But I also know that dragons grow from their scars. I suppose it’s only natural that this is where I start with this dragon bike. You can only rise if you fall first.
It all tracks together, that’s just life. I know the high of my purchase yesterday, is naturally accompanied by the challenge that it presents. I know that the crush of failure will actually help me grow. Knowing doesn’t help it feel less crushing though.
I stood there, staring at my brand new shiny bike, on its side, dripping fuel. And all I could do was stare. I like being strong. I weight train four times a week. I can deadlift my body weight. I can squat more than my bodyweight. I can leg press 180lbs. I am strong. But it didn’t matter.
I hate the times we are reminded that it doesn’t matter. That, despite being strong and fierce, it’s not always enough. It’s so frustrating to be face to face with our vulnerability like that. I still have the scars from the time I was dragged down the pavement by my two dogs. I am strong, and I want that to be enough. It’s what I have control over. Especially coming from a place where I didn’t believe I could be strong, to now be at a place that my strength is part of my identity – that I made it so. The times I’m slapped in the face with my own limitations challenge me to accept the burn with grace.
I don’t need anyone, I don’t need anyone. I just need everyone, and then some.Halsey (Clementine)
I didn’t even need to try to know that there was no way I’d be picking up 370lbs by myself. It’s so hard feeling that helpless. Dragons don’t like feeling helpless and vulnerable. I did have an incident on my Grom where I laid it down trying to back it out of a gravel parking spot (I wasn’t even on the bike). That bike, being much smaller, I was able to lift on my own and get on my way without much more than a bruised ego.
Apparently this bike presents a new challenge and opportunity in vulnerability. Thankfully a man got out of his car and helped me lift it back upright. Dragons like feeling strong and capable of being the provider of what they need. And for the most part, this has been valuable – learning and growing to be able to be strong and fierce for myself. I am learning that others are more paramount to true wellbeing and safety than I had appreciated, or been willing to accept. I guess dragons must learn to balance between dependence and independency. Maybe this bike is too heavy.
I fell. I know I will get back up. I’ll wipe away the tears. I’ll fix the damage. My bruises will heal. I won’t give up, and I will see a way forward that doesn’t rely on the current black and white view of my stress response. I’ll ask for help and support. I’ll find the courage to build up my strength, my skills, and humbly accept what I can’t do as an opportunity to connect.
Maybe the ashes from where this dragon will rise are just what I needed to choke on today. To not only learn to accept begrudgingly, but welcome and appreciate the beauty of our interdependency in this life. To keep practicing this delicate balance of personal and social safety. To rise from this, scratches and all, as a powerful fierce dragon who rides proudly in a pack.