Motorcycle Mama

Since I was young, the sound of a motorcycle has always given me butterflies of excitement! I still remember when I was about 17 going to a Fourth of July festival where motorcycles circled the grounds. The distant low, rumble of them coming then the overwhelming sound and sight of them once they got to us was one of the most memorable things from that summer.

Wanting to be part of the world of motorcycling, I stepped WAY outside my comfort zone to take the basic rider safety course which follows the curriculum set by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Though I have been fascinated by bikes for most of my life, I am the ultimate beginner having never even cranked up a motorbike before Saturday morning!

I was nervous and excited as we walked silently out to the range. I was ready to go – though also a bit apprehensive due to imagining myself flying over the handlebars or tipping the bike over with a leg trapped under. Plenty of people I know have at least one horror story about bike accidents. Certainly, it is a dangerous pursuit but also one gives a sense of freedom like few others. There is also an inherent notion of rebellion in riding a motorcycle which appeals to my wilder side.

It’s important to note here that I am not the most coordinated or graceful person. Learning physical activities is typically difficult for me even when I understand conceptually. Zumba, kickboxing, BodyPump, fast-moving yoga – I’m always at least 4 steps behind! One reason running appealed to me was because it is one foot in front of the other, consistently for a set period of time or distance – no quick changes or complex moves that involve your feet doing one thing, hands another, and hips yet a different one. I used to kickbox regularly and I LOVED it!! I made wonderful friends plus relished the feel of punching a bag and the sore, tired feeling at the end of a tough workout. It took me a lot of practice before I felt comfortable and could get through a sequence without screwing up but I did it with time and patience.

Approaching with caution, I hopped on my assigned bike.  As we proceeded through the class, the exercises got gradually more complex and challenging. I struggled to get through the slow, tight maneuvers such as weaving between cones and doing a figure eight. The friction zone often evaded me with my letting go or pulling in too much at the wrong times (yes, I stalled more than once). Rolling on and off the throttle often got confused. And don’t even get me started on the notion of counter-steering!

I tried hard and listened to my instructors, both of whom were excellent. At the end of the day, I did not pass the riding evaluation. A combination of nerves and the need for additional practice did me in. Truthfully, I’m okay with it and knew ahead of time that with my non-physical/kinetic learning style, I needed more time on a motorcycle before I could even fathom passing the evaluation. The instructor who told me I didn’t pass gave me clear and helpful feedback then welcomed me to come back to the class, feeling confident that with more practice, I would indeed get it.

The weekend was not a bust because I learned a lot, had fun, met some nice people, and got in a great work-out (bikes are heavy!). I’m going to stick with it because I am determined to figure out this whole motorcycle riding thing. It is just going to take me more effort and time before I can truly call myself a Motorcycle Mama!

Wildflower Lane

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a creative writing workshop called “Writing to the Senses” which was jointly hosted by Authoring Action, Winston-Salem Writers, SECCA, and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem. We each got to pick out a piece of artwork from one of the Art-o-mat machines currently on display at SECCA (if you’re local, go check it out!). It was serendipitous that I found an artist who paints coffee and tea cups for Art-o-mat!
The experience was at once exhilarating and humbling. My writing style has always been fairly brief and has gotten more so as the years have gone on especially since the majority of my writing is done in the business world where brevity and clarity are key. Descriptors are not as important as saving busy professionals time by simply getting to the point – at least that is what I have been told.
What I took away from the night: excitement from learning something new and having my thinking challenged; a determination to expand on my use of imagery, to learn to paint the pictures I see in my head with words on the page; and a little piece of writing that I’m proud of as it is where I am now with my writing which to me is a huge thing because I AM WRITING.
Below is finished piece with scant editing from laying down my pen on Thursday when the bell rang. Time will tell if it is finished as is or will grow, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is only a start, the words will continue to roll around in my head and grow into a more robust piece of writing.

Wildflower Lane

Traveling leisurely down the dirt road on my bicycle, I smile thinking back on the jagged path that has led me here. It started with a hot cup of tea, pen in hand, and a simple idea. I knew I would find success if I quenched my own thirst for fulfillment and brought my scattered thoughts about love, loss, and life to the page. My hope was to enrich others through a book about finding contentment in who we are now – all the messy stuff that life throws our way and our all-too-human reaction to the absurdity of life. It all started with the idea that we are perfect and lovable in our vast imperfection.
I continued in the direction of my rustic goat farm where I will contentedly swing with my love on the front porch. Later that night, we look in the direction of the sunset, talking about the flowers we will plant in the Spring. Peace settles over us as the stars begin to twinkle. We have built our dreams on the backs of goals. Goals that required toil and sacrifice which is now gone with the wind as we peacefully sit together while the crickets sing their lullaby. On Wildflower Lane, we have found ourselves and will not be lost again.

Real Talk

I literally hate my job! This has been a common reframe and theme from me over the years – just ask any of my family and friends how many times they have heard me say it! One time, when I was still married, I apparently sat up in the middle of the night and yelled “I HATE MY FUCKING JOB” after which I laid back down being none the wiser of my outburst though my then-husband was understandably a little rattled.

I haven’t had the same job for all of these years and have had a couple that I actually liked. I also will say, that there are aspects of each of my jobs that I enjoy. For the most part, though, I am continuously dissatisfied with my work. Why is that and how do I keep landing myself in pit (job) of despair? Is there truly no escape from the misery?

pit of despair

I believe that there is a light and through a few things I’m doing now, to include writing this blog, I am going to get to it. At forty-something, I’m figuring out what I want to be when I grow-up. When I was little and more than a little feisty, I said that I wanted to be the President of the United States when I grew up – not headed in that direction anymore but definitely figuring a few previously unresolved things out.

First off, I love to write. I have stories and narratives playing in my head regularly. (I have checked, it’s okay and not something that is worrisome to my mental health care friends!) Whenever I have been in a position where I have had the opportunity to write – reports, business proposals, grants, newsletters etc. I have been ecstatic. I even get excited about writing complex emails where I need to explain difficult concepts. This all being said, I know that writing must be part of my career happily ever after.

Secondly, I love connecting with people and helping people connect with others. I have always loved the idea of building bridges. In one job, I had been working with struggling parents to get the resources they needed in order to better navigate the tricky parenting terrain – this made me feel useful and that I was making a positive impact on individuals and society.

Thirdly, providing support and helping people become the best version of themselves brings me a lot of satisfaction and joy. Even in my current (dreaded) position, I look for opportunities to teach or train others. I believe in the old adage about teaching a man to fish. Not only will he never run out of fish but he will also develop a feeling of being capable which is priceless and transcends one situation to impact many.

It has taken me a long time to figure out that these things I love and feel energized by are also my gifts that I have to share with the world. We are each unique in how we are put together from our looks to our thoughts to our unique talents and gifts; that is because the world needs each of us. It has taken quite a bit of soul-searching and positive re-enforcement from family and friends but now I am starting to understand the value of my unique combination of talents.

To that end, I’m developing a business plan that will combine what I have to offer and put me in a position to love the work I am doing. Stay tuned as there will be more to come!