Help me,

help you.  I went out on the bike today, only the second adventure beyond the safety of my back garden, and the first by myself.  I’d had this crazy notion that if I borrowed my mum’s bike, I could learn again how to cycle, weak legs and balance issues notwithstanding.  Today was worse than the last time because I didn’t have my family with me, and couldn’t pretend I had to get off because my wee girl was scared of going down hill.  I’d had this misguided thought that the park would be quiet at nine in the morning, but it was filled with dog walkers and groups of people walking slowly, blocking the path.  As I wobbled past, I began to feel incredibly self-conscious.  When I changed to too high a gear, I had to get off.  I was stuck, and all the people I had passed were now passing me again, some offering to give me a push, some asking if I was OK, most returning my nervous, embarrassed smile.

Eventually, after a bout of self-talk that I’ve only ever taught and never used, I managed to push through, and get home.  My pride was badly hurt.  But as I went over what had just happened and cringed (a lot), I came to the conclusion that maybe even if I felt terrible, the people who saw me and offered encouragement probably felt quite good about themselves for being kind to a stranger.  Of course I would rather be that person who is smoothly walking by offering help, but I’m starting to see that often I’ll have to be the one who needs the help.  That funny scene in Jerry Maguire came into my head when Jerry says desperately “Help me, help you!”  I guess that’s my lot this season – looking a little bit stuck so others can feel good about giving me a hand.  So on yer bike, pride, I’m not going to give up now, whatever the humiliation.


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