I feel like I’ve just done a marathon! An emotional marathon. There is so much to heal, so much still left uncovered.
I didn’t think exploring me as a ten year old would be this exhausting.
The psychologist chipped at my wall this morning. She did a fairly good job at making a small break considering my wall is high and pretty strong. She struck a nerve, a painful one.
So I explored my ten year old self, shed tears and came home and found this old picture of myself.
Why had I cried so much? We had explored a memory where I was put down as the ‘little fat kid’ by my brothers friend. It was all a bit of a brief chuckle with no after thought, but his look and words clung to me for years (along with many other memories) like Velcro.
All those little scenarios, that made me into the self loathing adult, the hard task master that I am today. Where daily thoughts and expectations to be more, the drowning negative self talk that I can’t do anything, that I’m not good enough, that I am still fat.
For the past 7 years I’ve worked on physical self improvement; running, entering fun runs, doing Parkrun, eating clean foods. I lost 36 kg. I am at my ideal body weight.
Through all the trauma of my life I’ve worked hard physically but not emotionally. Both are equally important.
Today I’m going to be extra kind to myself, tell my inner child that everything is going to be ok and keep looking ahead.
It’s been a hard weekend for me, my mood has been low and today even lower.
There is so much self hate festering inside of me, I’m just glad that today I’m aware of this. I’m aware of my behaviour and how it’s a pattern.
The self hate stemmed I believe probably from the torment as a kid. The fat kid, my brothers would jeer at me constantly, the school yard dusted me off with comments of worthlessness and lonely lunchtimes.
My first marriage at 18 only spurred that further, what the fuck have you been eating? Would be the hot topic.. I wasn’t even overweight. I was just hell bent on being thin and I dipped below 60kg and started running twice a day. I starved myself while I went to uni yet it still wasn’t enough, and in turn I also believed I wasn’t enough.
Suddenly I wanted that super models body, those long legs and flat stomach. But I was 5’6 and my legs were stocky. How would I change that?
I ended up in another relationship and over the years packed weight on, abusing my body with cigarettes, bad food and alcohol was subconsciously the result of hating myself.
Today I know I can’t change what god gave me; my solid legs help me climb mountains on the bicycle, they give me power to ride faster, my vessel carries me and I know i should honour that.
‘I am enough’, I have to say that. Even when I don’t believe it.
I’m learning acceptance, I’m growing, I’m intuitively forgiving myself and others. It’s a process. Today I feel down, and that’s ok. I’m safe. I plan to go for a spin, cycling is my elixir.
The wet season means I get time indoors with Malvern, zwifting, while watching a movie. Yay! Started off with a group ride, got dropped after 15km lol. Bunch of dudes probably half my age 😂🤪🤸♀️ not sure how I got a QOM. Might have been the thriller I was watching. Blooms Jnr got this pic right at the beginning. The end pic would’ve been messy! On another note I am feeling accomplished by the writing I got achieved today . Yay day
Dave and I have always been slow moving with preparing to ride. The well-intentioned idea of getting up to cycle by way of a 5am alarm was somehow always abandoned.
Whilst snoozing, time relentlessly ticked on, the sun stretched well into the sky and the temperature soared. I fell out of bed mid-morning, and automatically put the coffee pot on.
Drawing back the blinds, I welcomed the rainforest outside in, the late morning shedding light and life into the living room where our bikes sat ready.
I could feel the sweat dripping down my back and I knew our Festive 500 would be starting with a struggle!
Dave and I slowly dressed, checked the tyres, sipped our coffee, whilst filling our back pockets with dates and bananas. A quick affectionate kiss dodging a collision of helmets before leaving, destination unknown, that was the fun part. The spontaneity.
We carried our bikes through the garden over mossy rocks and stone into the blazing heat of Summer.
We adjusted our zips to let in more air, our Garmin’s searched for a GPS and we clipped into our pedals. It was instant relief to get moving with the sultry breeze drying the sweat that was dripping down each side of my face.
I grinned as I looked down at my bike and realised that I had started riding only 12 months before.
I was not enthusiastic when I was first introduced to Malvern back in December 2016.
Malvern Star though, stood waiting patiently for me in the lounge room as I continued on with my dreams of being a runner despite my injured foot.
After March 2017, I gave Malvern a bit more attention and an unexplainable bond formed. I have not been off a bike since, and my running shoes took to the pedals instead.
There was a lot of cycling ‘firsts’ for me in 2017; my first fall from the bike- affectionately named ‘Tumble on Trundle’ (a stack on the steep gradient of Trundle Street), my first accomplished mountain climb, my first QOM and my first time wearing clip in shoes in September 2017.
My runners found the wardrobe.
In September 2017, I had an amazing experience at a 6 day AUDAX 1000km event, so it was inevitable that I participated in the Festive 500. I not only hungered for climbing but to cycle distances.
The Festive 500, was my opportunity and challenge to ride 500km between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, battling 30ºC+ and 100% humidity.
Our ride took us via a few climbs, up into world heritage rainforest, away from the blazing heat. The weather it seemed, was the challenge of the week.
Christmas in Australia is all about staying cool; chilled drinks by the pool, barbecues, shelling prawns and lazy outdoor slumbers under slow moving fans. I particularly love this time of year. What better way than to explore our Summer by bike?
The smell of frangipanis perfumed the air as our bikes dodged hazardous fallen fruit, the hungry remnants of nocturnal fruit bats that had pillaged the trees.
As we rode, I wondered if I was I imagining things or were people also more kind at this time of year?
There seemed to be frequent cheery waves from fellow cyclists, more smiles and more patience from drivers. What a shame that it couldn’t always be like this, I silently vowed to be the change I wanted to see.
We meandered through the local suburbs on Christmas Eve, it was a relief when the sun dipped behind the commanding lush mountains.
The twilight brought with it, smells of barbecued meat, chatter and laughter and my stomach churned with hunger. Dave and I played a guessing game of ‘what’s cooking?’ The locusts has fallen silent whilst the throaty tree frogs gloated in the dark.
Colourful Christmas lights brought houses to life and Christmas trees sat adorned as the centrepiece behind open windows. We marvelled at the effort people had gone to with decorating, as our bikes weaved through the streets, watching suburbs magically transform.
Children played in the street, some on scooters whilst others were on bikes, anticipating what Santa will bring. The energy in the air was electric.
Another day, another late start. The road took us along the beach, the salty thick air, the smell of coconut like an elixir to my soul.
One particular steep road beckoned us to explore it in the middle of that crazy hot day.
The sweat stung my eyes and clung to my skin at the crest. After reaching the road’s pitch, banana farms flanked each side of the sizzling road.
After a time, the road turned to gravel and we noticed a tiny wooden fruit stall with lush looking fruit.
Two bounding and happy farm dogs came to greet us along with their owner Maurie.
Maurie invited us to try some of his locally grown mangoes.
We leaned our bikes against a banana tree and sat in its shade as we gratefully ate, one of the dogs lying next to me, panting to stay cool. Maurie, with his thick Australian accent, told us about the history of the local area known as Mission Beach and his pride in his fruit farm.
It was that simple memory, that I may not have experienced if I had not been cycling that day. My bike takes me on a journey that captures small essences of life, simple acts of kindness, true human spirit and feeds my need to explore.
The roads over the week took us through some wild country, where majestic cassowaries dipped in and out of dense bush, where goannas fled from basking in the sun, into the thick green.
And after a long day of cycling, we would reach home, having created new memories and captured precious moments. The coffee pot would be refilled, water guzzled under ceiling fans and fruit hungrily consumed.
Cycling to me is meditative, a chance to collect my thoughts and put them into perspective.
It’s humbling when I am physically challenged to yet another climb, and when I reach the crest I am rewarded with a breathtaking view. It was all worth it, and I can give myself kudos for another accomplishment.
Hi, Blooms here- finishing my Sunday. There was a moment out cycling today that I actually forgot about my week ahead. I'm not sure if you do this, but Sunday becomes the day of dread, where a blanket of fear and anxiety about Monday suffocates the fun out of actually having a reasonable Sunday! Today, as Sunday rolled back around again, I became aware of this thought pattern each week. It's something I've not really noticed consciously too much before. Just having this awareness separated me from 'it' and instead I chose to have a good day. I realised that I had no power over tomorrow, that I could just let it go while enjoying the here and now.
It's easy to be right in the moment on a bike. When you hill climb; the legs burn, I am choking and struggling to breathe, I'm fighting with my head that I can't climb this, then next second I'm thinking 'hey blooms!! You got this, conquer that bloody mountain' Then I get to the top and the view is amazing, a panorama of hills, farms and coral coast – an amazing blessing. Ive forgotten the burning legs, I've forgotten my worries about the future and I'm rewarded with being right where I need to be; present in this moment.
This AUDAX ride is coming up in September. I really enjoyed the 200k Get High on The Tablelands ride last month. For minimal $$ we were treated with not only spectacular views over the tablelands, but a friendly support crew who offered up encouraging smiles while serving delicious home made cake, lollies and bananas along the way. The AUDAX culture merits itself on churning over distances rather than racing the fellow cyclist. Riding in a group is new for me however I was impressed by the teamwork, funny chatter and working out those crazy hill climbs together. https://www.audax.org.au/portal/index.php/component/eventbooking/qld/347-fnq-six-pack-2017