It’s a funny concept. One of the definitions from Dictionary.com is “Proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim.” Really? This means that the usage I have usually applied to the word is incorrect. Maybe unconsciously on purpose, maybe not. Who knows. Whenever things have lined up in sequence too perfect to be a mistake or too perfect to be random I have always said “Huh, that was random.”
Years ago when I started noticing patterns in life I began to stop believing in random. This is maybe the only time I have properly used the definition of the word. The act of disbelief in random is the only way I can properly use it.
What the hell am I talking about?
A week or two ago I was thinking I should shut down this blog. I didn’t like how I felt about it. I felt like I was using it as a tool to be known, to be popular, and to be cool. It felt dirty and dishonest and I didn’t like it. I was putting far too much of my identity into it and I stopped posting my writing in it. It went against the purpose of the blog, the unspoken mission statement that I had in mind when I started it.
Originally Demonfeet was started so that I could share the love and total gratitude I have for what cycling and running has done for me and for what other cool sports do for other people. I wanted it to be huge. I wanted people from all over the place to contribute articles, videos, and photos that were all about why they go play outdoors and how that helps them be who they want to be. I wanted all this to happen with the sole purpose of inspiring other people who might feel afraid and held back by fears and insecurities. I wanted this because that is the person I once was, super insecure and afraid to go out and try rad stuff.
The people that know me today wouldn’t believe me if I told them how crippled by fears and insecurities I used to be. It just wouldn’t make sense. I’m simply not that person anymore. This is one of the main reasons I run in the mountains and ride bikes like I do. There was a time when I couldn’t do sleep overs at other kids houses, fear and insecurities would wash over me and I would loose it and need to go home. There was a time later on in life when I couldn’t leave my house for more than a few hours because of the same feelings. Granted these times were long ago, the sleep over thing was when I was an adolescent and the near agoraphobia was some time around 12 or 13 years ago so there has been a lot of time to change between then and now.
I’m not trying to get all woo woo emo one you, please don’t misunderstand me. It’s just a simple fact that I used to be that kid and now I am not and running and cycling has helped the change in me massively. More so the running, I have only been cycling seriously for something around 4 years. The running however has been in my life for a very long time so that was and continues to be life altering.
I still remember when I completed the first goal I had ever set in running. It was something super short, probably not even a mile. I used to live up in Altadena, CA and I decided to run along my street Calaveras, until it stopped at Fair Oaks, and to run back home. I tried and tried and tried. I got closer and closer and closer. One day I did it. I felt like I had succeeded in something that once was impossible, which if you think about it was the truth. Hence the trying and trying and trying. To even try to define how I felt with the word “gratitude” would be an injustice to the feeling consumed me that night.
This is a moment in my life I do my very best to never forget.
What it felt like was as if from that point on I could do absolutely anything I set my mind to and was willing to dedicate my life to. Sense then I have tried very hard to prove that feeling wrong and I have failed terribly. This is a very good thing. I have made lists of outlandish things that I once though impossible and continued to prove those impossibilities to be wrong and only fueled by doubt which is just a feeling, nothing more.
This brings me back to the beginning of this here post and the fact that I almost shut down Demonfeet.
I had stopped running for a while because I really only want to run in dirt or the mountains and it has been nuclear hot here in Pasadena for the last month. I have always tried to keep running and cycling fun so when it is not fun, I stop.
What I didn’t realized was how that would effect my contributions to this blog.
Cycling is where I get my thrill and my adrenaline rush. Running is where I get my peace and calm. In running I have time to let my mind wander as it folds in on itself and then opens into a kind of mental origami over and over again. Running is a very spiritual pursuit for me so it’s where I get a lot of my thinking done. I never realized that when I was writing a lot here on Demonfeet I was getting the ideas of what to write when I was running. The ideas some times would need to be put right down onto this blog or on paper and other times they would stay with me laying dormant until I got on my bike or back in my running shoes. I never noticed this until tonight on my ride when I connected the timing of when I stopped practicing transparency through the writing in my posts here and started to fuel my grandiosity with “look at me and how cool I am.” I’m really bad at that grandiosity so I didn’t really post anything. The few posts I did put up were of amazing rides and I totally did use them to do my best to speak from the heart but between them I just had no words to share.
I got an email a few weeks back. 2 day after I decided to shut down this blog. The email was a comment a reader posted about the ride I did with my friends to the top of Mnt. Wilson in the middle of the night ro see the sun rise. CLICK HERE TO READ IT. The ride was amazing and truly meant the world to me. I posted it. I watched the readers come to it. I saw the stats die away, and I continued to ignore Demonfeet. Then the email came. The comment was from Terry Ellen. It says “As of right now, you’re definitely one of my favorite people and one of the most inspiring. I’m reaching for my pen and making my list. Thank you” This to me…I don’t know what to say. It means the world to me. I was filled with gratitude. That comment is why I started Demonfeet in the first place. To have Terry post that 2 days after I decided to shut down Demonfeet once again showed me, slapped me across the face really, with the fact that I was crazy to shut down Demonfeet. It would have been a very selfish move on my part so to Terry, thank you thank you thank you.
Sense then more people have come up and told me that they love what I post here. More than ever before really which to me is incredible. Even though I haven’t posted anything! I was even told at work, “It’s like following a super hero.” You know who you are (Allison ) thank you! That to me was wonderful to hear and hilarious at the same time, totally blew me away. It’s not that I am feeding off the praise, it’s just…connect the timing of all that with the fact that I was about to shut down Demonfeet and feel free to laugh in the face of “random”.
I don’t feel like a super hero, I don’t really feel special because I ride like I ride and run like I run. It’s just what I do, It’s my reality. I do feel like I am good at it, better than some but not as good as others. I feel this way because as I said before I will never ever forget what it was like to complete that first goal I set for myself. Never. Between that and where I am now I have spilled blood, conquered fears, almost died a few times (not kidding), and connected with some of the most incredible people I have had the pleasure of meeting.
I run and ride in the mountains and in nature because it refills me with gratitude as I feel that I am experiencing the world the way it wants to be experienced. It helps me deal with the crap I can’t help dealing with in the city. I ride in the city because I live in a city meant for cars. I feel like I take part of the control back that is taken from most people because they feel like the don’t have a choice but to drive from point A to point B. I run and ride over and over again because as people with responsibilities, bills, fears, insecurities, jobs, blah, blah, blah, we sometimes find ourselves feeling weak and empty. The not so glamorous parts of the american dream, (I should halt right now and say even though I do love love love my job it does wipe me out sometimes) are the parts that make us feel like we have no control over lives.
This is why I do what I do. I put on my running shoes and go play. Or I get on my bike and go play. What I am doing by taking these actions is taking the control back. I go and it is me and my decisions from the start to the finish. I control what happens as I decide to go left or right and as I jump in a stream and make it to the top. I do what I do because the actions of cycling and running refill my spirit and therefore make me a better me to myself and others around me.
To share my gratitude for this was the original purpose of Demonfeet and still is as I write this.
To the people that were reading my blog and liking what I was writing when I was writing a lot I am truly sorry for my lack of words but I’m back now. I hope to be posting way more than I have and I am going to do my best to post at least once a week. If I fall back again, email me at email@example.com or call me and yell at me. You have my permission.
I know this was a HUGE post but I had a lot to say. It’s been a while and in the process of turning over a new leaf I have experienced a hell of a lot and want to share my gratitude with you all. Thanks for bearing with me as I unload. You are all awesome and I love you all. Except for the ones I don’t.
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.
Right now, this is my truth. Yes I am going through some incredibly hard times, but we all are! These posts and this blog are how I feel like I express my gratitude to all that have inspired me along the way and more importantly for you. So thank you, thank you, thank you.