Abandonment, Part 2

Read Part 1.

I love to race. It is a high of goofy joy and surprise and pain and intensity. It is amazing to share this experience with other people. And I love riding my mountain bike. I love the focus and the animalness, the unforgiving challenge, the full engagement with earth.

Anything that leaches from these positive feelings has to go.

What good would it possibly do for me to carry even the slightest anxiety about participating in an event that requires technical skills? The anxiety won't keep me from showing up and plunking down my money and racing. So it's nothing but a drain on a happy vibe and mental resources.

I am not a person who wants to hang onto her issues like they were a club membership or a pedigree.

So. Already an emotionally and physically insecure child, I spent six or so years learning that sub-par athletic performance was a ticket to ridicule, pain, and loneliness. Do I expect the same thing to happen now? No. Everyone in racing and the local MTB scene has been welcoming, and races have been exhilarating and fun.

And really, nobody gives a second thought to how bad anyone else sucks in a race. Obsessing over others' weaknesses is not why they lined up. But it's no wonder I'd have a knee-jerk fear of feeling that I don't belong out there.

Answering the question "Why?" prompted me to see for the first time that it wasn't my early experiences with athletics that fed the fear. It was the child's feeling of working without a safety net of affectionate approval, of not being wanted.

The answer was immediate and crystal clear: BUT I LIKE ME.

I pictured the child I had been. At age ten, at age six, at age two. I pictured me holding that child in my arms. You are safe with me. No one is going to hurt you now. I will take care of you. I love you. You can try anything and I will be here for you.

That exercise was strong medicine. It made me see myself as separate from that hurt child. It made me see myself as powerful enough to protect that child. And it let that child hear words it had been hungry for, and know they were true.

It was shockingly rapid, how quickly it cleared mental clutter. The old fears, what were they? Dead trash. Nothing to keep. It was like closing my eyes on a scene of disorder and opening them in a spare, peaceful room with the windows open to fresh air.

If I race, it is because it is in my nature. I can love it without reserve.

I can love it without need.

Whatever, whoever I love, I can love this way.

It has been days now since this realization. The sensation of bliss has not passed.