I’m going to risk sounding like an egocentric, self-obsessed, narcissist for a minute here.
I love this photo of myself. Of all those that exist, it’s remained a favorite ever since it was taken in November 2013. Evan and I had decided to ride from our cabin to town via the shoreline of Raystown Lake, a journey that ended up taking much longer than anticipated. We figured a few hours, but we were out all day, arriving in Huntingdon just after dark, with no lights. There were unrideable sections of deep mud, and cliff-like rocks that were so steep we had to hike-a-bike up into the woods for a while before once again finding rideable sections of lakeshore.
Despite the hardships, it was a great day.
When I look at this picture, I see a person that I like—a woman pushing her bike through the mud on a drizzly November day, enjoying herself despite whatever physical and mental challenges arise, continuing to move forward, regardless of how slowly, getting wet and dirty and loving life.
This image of myself and the memories attached to it make me feel confident, and I am motivated to continue to adventure and explore.
It’s funny how a simple photograph can invoke such emotion. I suppose that means it’s done its job, and Evan was successful at capturing the moment in its entirety.
I am not always the cool, confident, happy chick that I see in this photo. I spend more time than I’d like to admit succumbing to fears, doubts, depression, and laziness. Most days of my life, I fall short of my expectations. I make mistakes. I hurt people I love. I am not fast enough or strong enough or productive enough. I often wish I were someone else. I wish I were more outgoing and social. I wish I needed less alone time so that I could be a better friend and less sleep so that I could get more done. I wish it were easy for me to accept myself the way I am, and forgive myself for my shortcomings. But instead, happiness does not always come easily, despite the fact that my life is undeniably great, and the negative spirals in my head take control a little too often.
But little by little, I’m trying to learn to ward off the negativity. Progress is slow, but I keep trying to move forward, pushing through the mud.
In 2016, I will keep pushing. I will ride more and run more and go farther and longer, but I will also be more patient, understanding, forgiving, and kind, both to others and myself.