• Bethany

Cycling: Brave

I am a big "Yoga with Adriene" fan. And since I've been cleared by my Dr. to go back to Normal Life after the hysterectomy, I've been easing back into yoga. Last night, lying on the floor with my prayer hands at my third eye, good old Adriene encouraged me to create an affirmation by completing the phrase "I choose...". In these situations, I let whatever wafts up to my conscious mind first be the signal for what I really need, and this affirmation bubbled up very quickly: "I choose bravery."

Yesterday afternoon, before Yoga with Adriene, I went to the garage lot where my little Mazda, Cecilia, is resting. Her clutch needs to be replaced, and I can't afford the $800 repair, so she's being sold to the nice mechanic. I'd been hoping for a few more months with her, hoping to make a smooth transition to cycling as my primary mode of transportation, alas. As I dug out all the napkins and the box of masks and the old yoga mat from her back seat, I was surprised at how sad I felt. This was my first car post-divorce, bought in cash, maintained by me. I learned to drive standard with Cecilia and am now very confident at it and kinda enjoy it. Driving stick is something I'd always wanted to do and now here I am, able to do it. It was scary, but what an adventure!

As I fished out three sunglasses from the pocket between the seats, the mechanic came up to the car. He's going to buy Cecilia and fix her up himself for resale, I think. We talked about paperwork needed for the impending sale and he said "So, you gonna get a new car?" and I said, "Oh, no, actually, I'm going to be riding a bicycle." The look on his face, brief and quickly quashed, was incredulous and vaguely alarmed. "But... You'll be able to borrow your parents' car sometimes, right?" I reassured him that I would be able to borrow their car sometimes.

And, somehow, it was that brief conversation that pushed me over the edge from "This is a hilarious adventure!" into "What the fuck am I doing?" And I've felt the anxious knot in my stomach ever since.

Today I go to get my bicycle. My Mom is going to drive me there and then, if all equipment is ready, I'm going to wheel my way home. There will be no car in the driveway. Luckily, today is beautifully sunny and a high of 15C is predicted. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain. Friday it's supposed to rain. Saturday it's supposed to snow. Sunday it's supposed to rain. Monday it's supposed to rain. Perfect.

I was hoping for a transition period. A period where I could drive my car in the rain because I'm not an amazing cyclist and I'd like to get my wheels under me before attempting non-optimal weather conditions. Oh well. I guess it's the deep end for me! Yolo and all that.

And it's funny, although not unexpected, that now that the #seebethbike life is staring me in the face, I'm scared. What if I fall? What if I get hit by a car? What if my bike is stolen? Where am I going to put this thing in my tiny apartment? What if I injure myself?

I am not athletic. I never really have been. In addition to that, I'm in the worst shape of my life, especially after two months of enforced rest to recover from surgery. The other day, I tried on my jeans for the first time since the surgery and none of them fit. It's not really a new experience at this point, and I tried very hard to remember that growing and changing is part of life. But I still felt sad. Also, I can't really afford new clothes right now, so I need to make do with whatever I'm wearing and hope maybe those pants will fit by summer? Maybe cycling will cause me to lose weight, although I'm trying not to count on it.

When I was lying on the yoga mat and all these thoughts were swirling around, I knew "I choose bravery" was the exact thing I needed to hear. I get so caught up in a torrent of what-ifs, all reasonable worries, that I forget that I am so capable. I am so capable of handling whatever comes my way. I have so many people around to help me, I have resources. Even if I feel like Bilbo Baggins far from his precious Bag End, I try to remember that I am on an Adventure. And Adventures are so good for you, but also very scary, and you get rained on a lot.

And, thanks to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I remember the "Coping Questions" to help me get out of these anxious spirals.

Do I know for certain that ____?

What evidence do I have that ____?

What is the worst that could happen? How bad is that? How can I cope with that? [my personal favourite]

Does ____ have to lead to or equal ____?

There are others, but they don't apply here. And I feel myself slowly calming down as I think through them. I will be okay.

Because I choose bravery. Which doesn't mean I am brave. I'm scared shitless. But I hold fear in one hand and determination in the other and maybe wedge my Tools From Therapy under my arm and keep moving forward... somehow I think it makes bravery.

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