Sunglasses and goggles are great! We should all keep our eyes protected from the sun and from pokey things with sunglasses or goggles depending on the sport or your preference. But I want to talk about another bonus:
I cry on adventures. I wish I wouldn’t, but I do. I love my sunglasses and goggles for helping me keep this secret! I’m pretty good at being silent about it (not always) so it’s nice that I can keep moving while the tears come out and nobody has to know! Crying every day at a ski resort while you hide your tears in your super foggy goggles so your boyfriend doesn’t find out is probably not healthy for you or the relationship. So….maybe that kind of stuff is a different topic and actually probably really freaking unhealthy.
What I’m talking about is just a good old, “this thing scares me and I’m really frustrated and I just can’t help it that tears are coming to my eyes” cry.
I had a great experience last week, but often times they aren’t great. Many times if people notice you are crying, they will either get annoyed because you are a crybaby (which is an idea that stresses me out) or they will come to comfort you and suggest you stop doing the activity if it upsets you so much. If you’re learning a new adventure activity, especially with anxiety, depression, or other mental illness, crying is probably somewhat inevitable. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be learning it, sometimes it’s just something you have to work through.
I went to a mountain bike clinic with some AWESOME ladies, and one of the stations we were working on making a turn into what felt to me like a steep hill. I tried it, slammed on the brakes. They’re all waiting for you. Backed my bike up, rode up to it again, slammed on the brakes and fell over. Damn, you suck. The teacher had me turn my bike to point straight down the hill and ride down so that I would be more comfortable with it. Woohoo! Nailed it. I pedaled around and back into line. Came up to the turn, slammed the brakes on, fell over, and the tears started. You should just go home, everyone is probably sick of waiting for you. Backed the bike up again, tried again, with the same result. And my breath started coming way too fast, and my lips were shaking. Everyone in line was saying “You can go again!” but of course I was hearing “come on this isn’t hard why are you such a failure”. I walked my bike away trying to choke out that I needed to take a break and calm down, which I’m pretty sure sounded like gibberish, and here’s the thing:
They let me go.
The teacher said, “Cool, go take a break, maybe try the other station, and you can try again whenever you’re ready.” You’ll never be ready.
I got down to the bottom of the hill where some successful people were hanging out, expecting to be bombarded with what I should have done, or lectured about how I can do it, and I just need to let myself, all the while hiding my tears behind my big sunglasses and discreetly wiping my cheeks as if for sweat.
“The head game is such a challenge,” one girl said. I looked at her blurry face, mumbled something unintelligible, and then we all just stood there. My muscles eventually released a bit and I could breathe normally, the tears stopped burning my eyes and I was able to go work on the other station for a while. I never made it back to that first station because we hit the trail pretty soon after that, but I was able to calmly get back on my bike and ride with the group. I don’t think this would have happened if the group hadn’t let me off the hook. By allowing me to calm down at my own speed, they facilitated my progress.
And this week, I managed a sharp turn into a downhill, and I’m not even mad that my feet were nowhere near my pedals (still counts!).