At the bike shop several nights ago, a lady and her daughter came in looking for a bike. Cameron’s 9 and has never learned how to ride a bike. She had a bad experience with a bike when she was a little girl that has scarred her to this day. Recently, she’s been dabbling riding her friend’s bikes on occasion and enjoying it.
One of the guys started talking with her and fitted her on the correct frame. She decided she wanted to take it for a test ride outside in the parking lot. He got the bike ready for her and I got her a helmet. As I was adjusting the helmet I started talking to her, asking questions, and saying how much fun it is to ride a bike. She didn’t say much back.
So, off they go. A few minutes later, Karl came in and asked me to go out and check on her. She was crying and wouldn’t get on the bike.
I didn’t hesitate and went outside right away to what was up. Maybe having a girl talk to her might calm her and her fears down.
I got down on her level and asked her if I could help her. I wanted to help her, get her comfortable on the bike and do whatever it took to make her confident. I needed her to trust me – Trust that I wouldn’t let her fall or let anything bad happen to her.
I hopped over the front tire and secured it with my legs, and grabbed tightly onto the bars. I asked her to step over the bike frame and simply stand there. I reminded her again that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her and she could trust me. If she started falling over, I’d be right there to balance her. If she tipped too far and did fall down, I told her I’d be the one to hit the ground and she could “fall” on top of me. I’d be the cushion for her and take the impact.
As I was still holding the bike, I finally got her to sit up on the seat. Eventually she trusted me enough to start pedaling. I walked alongside her while she went here and there. As she started swaying, I reached over and gently grabbed her and the handle bars to balance her back up. Evnetually, I was jogging alongside her. As we were making circles around the parking lot, I continued talking and encouraging her.
Eventually, I didn’t have to run alongside her; she was doing it all on her own.
We stopped often to check on how she was doing. Occasionally, she cracked a smile. I taught her how to step onto the bike and start pedaling. I showed her how to hop off the bike to avoid crashing. I showed her how to change into the different chain rings and shift into different gears. Her body and demeanor changed. She was no longer gripping the handle bars. There was a twinkle in her eyes. Her confidence grew in that short amount of time. The smile on her face was priceless. When she got off of the bike, her body was much more calm and relaxed; it wasn’t tense and tight.
She finally realized she could do it!
They didn’t buy the bike that night, but her mom told me they’d definitely be back. I was elated to help Cameron learn how to ride a bike and become a little more confident. She made my night!
I say all of this because I may have taught her some things, but she got me thinking and reflecting.
It was foreign teaching someone how to ride a bike. How does one not know how to ride a bike? I grew up riding bikes down steep hills, up on the rock piles, or riding the bike while it was anchored to the four wheeler and being dragged here and there around the yard. Yup, I got many bruises and scratches.
She was crippled from her prior experiences, but wasn’t paralyzed yet. She was willing to give it some more tries, and began to realize she could do it.
So many times we are held back by our fears; crippled by the unknowns and what-if’s. Life is full of unknowns, what-if’s, good and bad times, and mountains and valleys. The thing is, it’s okay to have fears and anxieties along the way; however, it’s not okay to let them rule and dictate your life. Who is in control – you or the fears/anxieties?
Life is one heck of a ride. We have some fears that we are able to get over, and then there’s other fears that cripple and paralyze us.
Cameron opened my eyes. I still live in fear. Every single day. I have fears with dating now. I have fears with my new normal. I have fears with the upcoming doctor appointments. I have fears with the unknowns going on right now personally and health-related. I have fears with the routine testings I have to do several times a year.
It can be scary at times. Scary where I don’t want to even step over the frame and trust the oncologists and team I’m working with. Scary to the point I don’t want to even sit on the bike seat while they’re there holding the bike.
Fears. Fears of the unknowns. Fears of the what-ifs.
However, I’m trusting my doctors now, and trusted them a year ago when I was anxious and not wanting to hop on the bike and pedal. They are the experts and know what’s best. Could life throw me a curveball and something develops before doing the next preventative surgery? Sure could. What about the daily things I’m dealing with mentally, emotionally, physically since having the double mastectomy? All I can do right now is pedal and continue looking forward.
Thank God you can’t look backwards when pedaling forward.
I had to trust my doctors to know what was best for me. My doctors ran alongside of me while I teetered and almost lost my balance several times. But, they were right there to catch me. I have friends that still are running alongside of me as I navigate through my new normal. I’ve lost plenty of friends and some aren’t there anymore. That’s okay; I’m okay. They served their purpose in my life, but no longer serve a purpose. That’s okay; I’m okay.
Learn to trust yourself and your journey. Learn to go after those fears and conquer them. I have a lot more respect for people that attempt to get on the bike and try, then to not even try at all. Don’t wait to conquer that fear when you’re ready. Ready is a myth.
Hop on the saddle and start pedaling. Or stand next to the bike, and walk it down the street. Don’t allow fears to cripple and eventually paralyze you. It’s okay if you get some bumps, scars and bruises along the way. It’s a story to tell.