Struggling with my bio for this IndyPac race. Mostly because I want to say, “Oh, but I don’t plan to be a contender”. And I think that’s because I don’t want people to think that I think that I’m capable of winning, or even finishing. Maybe that also translates to something like, “Hey, I’ve picked this huge task, but don’t worry, I know I’m not quite good enough for it, so don’t think I’m too big for my britches, a mere finish would be enough” or perhaps I’m pre-empting the tall poppy syndrome. Why do I feel like I need to constantly qualify myself with, “I’m doing this race but don’t worry, I’m not like one of the real racers”. It’s shitty that I’ve conditioned myself to think in these terms; where naming an intention requires me to manage the way that people might perceive it, instead of just fucking owning it.
A better way to spin it would be, “I will be stoked if I get home in less than 30 days” and just leave it at that. Qualification be damned.
On the weekend I had a crack at an everesting, (which is another story entirely), but here’s the thing. The minute I announced it, I found a few different types of people. The:
1. Fuck yes, that’s awesome people. Good on you for having a crack (and they mean it sincerely). What can I do to help? Have you considered packing spare tyres, do you have enough food, can I come ride repeats with you. What was so cool was that people I thought would say I couldn’t do it (or couldn’t care less) were firmly behind me, and not for one second suggested that I was biting off more than I could chew. All of that baggage about not being good enough was in my head, not theirs.
2. Irrational fear people. “What if you hit a wombat, Suzie hit a wombat”, “What if there’s a drunk driver on the road”, “what are you going to do about your saddle sores”. Interestingly, it’s never, “Hey, here’s a strategy for wombats”, or “Do you have your fancy lotion for your saddle sores”. The intention is firmly on the negative not the positive. I call it irrational because there really isn’t much functionally different between riding repeats on a hill or riding that hill as part of a pre-dawn Sunday ride as far as animals or saddle sores, and they have no problem with my sunday rides. Their fears are purely irrational. All of that baggage was in their head, not mine. I could think about the why of their statements, but really all I need to know is that it’s them, not me, and be done with it.
3. The people that sincerely just don’t care.
4. The best, was that there were absolutely zero, ‘there’s no way you can do it’ people. Maybe they kept it to themselves, maybe I’ve been awesome about removing those people from my circle of influence.
Sadly, some people that I thought would be fuck yes people turned out to be irrational fear people. But happily, many more people were fuck-yes people than you-can’t-do -t people. And I realise, that it’s just a mirror for their own world, and their own insecurities, not mine.
Turns out, whether people are fuck yes people or irrational fear people really is simply about them. Their world is either, ‘I can do anything, everyone can do anything, lets all have a crack and see what happens’ or ‘there are some things I can’t do, I’m limited, I project that on to others’. So it’s super cool that I have a lot of the former in my life these days, and lots less of the latter. Because being around people that just say, “Fuck Yes” is an awesome place to be.
The worst part, was that I realised in the past I’ve definitely been an irrational fear person myself. And that’s because I put my own reservations onto other people, people who I really sincerely cared very much for. Looking back that makes me feel terrible about how I may have made them feel.
So, learnings. Next time I see myself being an irrational fear person, cut that shit out. And next time someone I consider a friend turns into an irrational fear person, remember, that it’s their own shit, not mine.