Sunday, March 20, 2011

Greatness in God-Forsaken Wyoming?

Greatness is defined by "a concept of a state of superiority affecting a person, object or place. Greatness can also be referred to individuals who posses a mere natural ability to be better than all others." This is from Wikipedia, and I'm told it's not the best place to cite but it seems to get the point across enough. Since last Wednesday the word greatness has been rolling around in my brain, which is a long time for one thought to be there (let me tell you.) When I was meeting with DF the other day I threw out the word (BIG mistake) and what it means to be great at something. He told me you can't be great at something without comparing yourself to others. I countered his thought with the fact that on your own spectrum you could be great at something. He countered that with saying it just meant that you were more connected to something not necessarily great at it. But if you were great at something, that would imply you would be better at it than someone else. (Fighting with someone with a PhD seems to be a lost cause).

If I told you I won 100% of my races I ran in track my senior year, you would think I'm a great runner right? That's not a fabrication, I did win all of them. But I wasn't a great runner, I only ran one race that season before I got injured, and I only beat 4 girls. But I was great runner compared to those girls. If everything is all relative, can't we all theoretically be great at everything and nothing at the same time.
See this is why I'm not a fan of the philosophical side of psychology, you go around and around and never really come out on an answer, no wonder the field is filled with crazies.

So while I contemplate being great on my next ride. Yes, if you read that right it should be clicking right now that the previous sentence would be implying I had a first ride. I did in fact take my first ride. See it happened completely spur of the moment which took out actually planning, pumping up the tires, checking the chain, filling water bottles, clipping it. . .So there I was without a car in God-forsaken Wyoming. And I needed to find my friend Heidi, because well I had wandered off. I jumped on a bike (don't worry I asked first and even remembered to lock it when I was done). As I'm riding around Laramie in the dark (I know what you're thinking because I heard my mother as I was riding saying 'Are you crazy , really, are you crazy, you got hit by a car and now you're riding your bike around in the dark. How is my child lacking so much common sense' but you're forgetting, I said I was in Wyoming, no one lives there, so there are no cars! I was riding around with no handlebars, because the bike was a little big and uncomfortable to stretch that far (I know I have come very far with my balance from the days where I would trip over a line) I couldn't help but wonder how it took so long for me to ride, because this is the BEST thing ever. Seriously. Get on a bike and try to be angry, or sad, or miserable. It's Impossible, like licking your elbow. Although I have met one person who could do that.

Switching gears, (hahaha, get it?) my dad called me the other morning and started the conversation with the following statement: "The State Attorney's office called me last night, do you know what you were doing January 22 . . .? Oh dear lord, I was still home, but all my friends were gone at that point so clearly I couldn't have been doing anything that bad, it shouldn't have involved the police in anyway and then after a long enough pause he added "1998" 1998?!? I was what all of 9 years old? "Um, dad I was 9, I have no idea" No way is he trying to be nostalgic with the state attorney's office being involved. No. Apparently at that time I had witnessed a guy peeing in public, which I don't even remember this happening. He was charged with exposure and never showed up for his court date. They put a bench warrant out but really when you gotta go, you gotta go so they didn't actively pursue it. The other night he felt guilty enough that after 13 years he decided to turn himself in. My dad just wanted to let me know that while the justice system may be slow, there is always justice. Which was not comforting in the slightest bit, but I know the intention was there.

Now switching gears one more time.

Over break I had to watch the movie 127 hours, I know, you wish you had that kind of homework too, and I'm telling you, you should be jealous. There is a part where he says that his whole life this boulder (spoiler alert!) has been waiting to trap his arm. Everything he has done up until this point has led him to this moment. The rock has been sitting there waiting for him to come along. (This is the part where psychology gets weird) Which has made me think a lot. I've had some pretty heavy stuff happen at college before I got hit, and each time I have questioned the path that I'm on, and always felt that while it might not be exactly where I want or the direction that I thought, it seemed like it was enough and that altering the course would cause too much destruction and chaos to make it ultimately worth it. Every time I had the opportunity to jump the tracks I turned it down, out of the security of staying and the fear of going. So it seems like each time I opted to continue down the 'simple path' I became one minute closer to getting hit, one minute closer to finally reaching the tipping point that allowed me to say enough was enough and finally put in changes that had been long over due. It hasn't been easy, I feel like damaged goods almost and the aftermath of how people view me isn't exactly ideal either. Rather than seeing me for all I could be worth, it's easier to see how damaged I have become. But like I said earlier, psychology is a soft science. It's all speculation. And it's just as easy to say I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My First Time

The last time I posted I finished with talking about how I at least have one good leg to stand on, which was pretty convenient because the next book I read was A Leg to Stand On by Oliver Sacks. Sacks was hiking one day and ran into a bull, and in his attempt to get away he basically fell down a large drop and destroyed his leg. Tendons ripped, ligaments shredded and his knee only bent backwards (Not great). He goes on to talk about his stay in the hospital and his recovery. As a neurologist himself he was finally able to identify with his patients and see it from the other side. The injury itself actually ended up provoking him to alter his research into the disassociation with a limb after surgery, like the one he experience. After his surgery when he woke up for some time he had no feeling or connection with his leg. Which I can attest it is a cool phenomenon, but only when it's not happening to you. He makes a full recovery (relatively) and towards the end of the book a friend writes him suggesting that this was all part of his destiny, a destiny he had no control over but came out of it for the better. The gives me hope, especially since everyday I get further away from the day of the crash. And closer to some closure, minus the fact the guy skipped out on his last court date, but with a warrant out for his arrest maybe now he'll actually get some jail time as that's pretty frowned upon in the judicial system (or so I'm told). 

As part of my "destiny" it just wasn't in the cards to get on the bike before spring break. The weather was pretty crummy and it's not that I wouldn't have gone out if it was absolutely pressing but having my first time back being filled with curse words because of the bloody wind isn't exactly how I want to start off, again. It's not that I want this completely euphoric ride either, if it's absolutely mundane I will take that, I just want at least some uncontrollable factors to be at least favorable. I'm just looking at it that it's the first ride of the spring, most riders I talk to haven't even been out yet because the winter has been so atrocious, so yah.

The last class I had before I skipped town for spring break the professor asked if anyone remembered the first time they put trust in riding a bike without training wheels. I'm not even sure what the question was pertinent to because at that point I stopped listening to think about the first time I rode without training wheels. Unlike my sister, who had my mom run over one of her training wheels, mine was by choice. It was at daycare with Suzie. It was a rush. One of those things you don't think you can do and then you just do it and you're like holy crap, I am the coolest person ever. Which is exactly what went through my 3 year old brain. I was so ecstatic that when I got home with my parents I had to show them, but  I'm not sure that they had full confidence in a crazy 3 year old with a blond fro and 25 pounds sopping wet. They didn't let me ride in the street (which was probably a good move as we live on a hill) and instead made me go on the back patio (which I'm not sure was a better choice due to the stairs) but due to my impressive handling skills I was able to make the sharp corners. Since then I can remember obsessing about getting my older brother to let me ride his "big" bike with no kick stand. Hardcore. It makes sense now as I still ride one of his hand-me-downs, with no kickstand (not the same one had when he was 6, don't worry). For some reason the fact that it was fitted for someone who is 6'4" doesn't detour me, as in my mind I'm taller than I am in real life. So at least some things never change

 I was talking to my strength coach for volleyball about altering our lift program to fit more to cycling and he talked about growing up and saving his money to buy a bike so his parents could no longer restrict him like  when they had to drive him around. He remember the freedom he felt and how cool he thought he was. Everyone seems to have a pure bike moment, when they were able to taste freedom for the first time. 

The plane ride from Boston actually got me thinking, see the guy next to me decided to would be an opportune time to eat a Tuna fish sandwich, which triggered my motion sickness for the first time in years. See, when I was a kid I would get it really bad, so bad that there are family vacation pictures where all I have on is a really long shirt. My parents would pack extra clothing even for an hour trip and I could easily acquire the front seat with a few gag reflexes (Yes, Frank I was faking a couple of times). But through out the years I've pretty much grown out of it, but I still take precautions, like not eating before I fly and checking to make sure there is a "motion discomfort bag" in the seat pocket. Even now my anxiety about biking and being around cars has decreased, comparatively but I know that it will probably flare up at inopportune times but I can prepare for that. Eventually it will just become a memory that isn't associated with an increased heart rate and sweat palms. But until then I'll carry a couple of extra napkins to wipe the perspiration and get on with my life.