Actually, it isn’t. This blog is one of the most real things you can find on the internet as far as blogs go. I tell you what I’m thinking, what upsets me, what makes me giddy, my hangups, my feelings… I could go on. Over my nearly 30 years of time on earth, this is the person I am… proudly and unapologetically so, and, if you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’m like this in real life. [Side Note: I'm not saying that I don't tone myself down appropriately when the situation demands it. That's something totally different, and I consider being a bit of a chameleon to be one of my most cunning, useful, and awesome personality traits.]
…Which brings me to the point of this post. It has little to do with bikes and everything to do with being true and honest to yourself and the rest of the world. If your life is an idealistic front that is different from how you actually feel, what you actually care about, or what you really believe, then you will never be truly happy, and it’s going to eat away at you from the inside.
What I’m saying goes far beyond bloggers on the internet. I will admit, though, that the thing that brought this post to the front of my mind was the Tumblr page of a friend of a friend. The Tumblr page makes this girl appear to be a very religious individual who has dedicated her heart and soul to Jesus. It’s not that which bothers me. It’s that in real life, she acts just like any other “Christianity-identifying, but not really practicing” person that makes up a vast part of the US population. I also have no problems with people who are not necessarily “good” at following their faith of choice… I’m not here to call you a bad person when you don’t follow your identifying faith to the letter, I’m just here to call you out on portraying yourself as something that you don’t really care about.
I call myself out far more than I ever do anyone else. In the past, I’ve tried to be Martha Stewart, a graphic designer, dog trainer, a pro road racer… just to name a few. If you’ve been reading a while, you were here for the whole “pro roadie” thing. I tried my damndest to convince myself that I was happy working towards that goal. I knew all along that I wasn’t, but I was too afraid to admit it to myself and everyone else because I’d already gone so far down that road that it seemed illogical to turn back… not to mention incredibly frightening to change what I’d identified myself as for a good bit of time. It was destroying me from the inside out, and I knew that I didn’t have the dedication it took to put in the time and effort to train hard enough to be as fast as I needed to be.
Lucky for me and all of you that are reading, I did the massively terrifying thing and took off through the bushes on the side of the road in search of another route. That’s what it boils down to. If you are not living the life of the person that YOU want to be and working towards the goals that will satisfy you and not everyone else, then you will never be able to fully dedicate yourself because you’re trying to dedicate your life to a lie.
I’ve figured this out very recently for myself. I can say, without a doubt, that I want to be one of the best endurance racers in existence. I know this because, in the last two races as well as in the training going into those races, I’ve pushed myself in ways that are only possible if the level of dedication is just that high. I couldn’t do it before because I didn’t want it bad enough.
I think that, in general, people decide what they want to appear to be based on the standards of their peers. Anything else would be scary because it may result in exclusion and/or ridicule from the group. I’m here to tell you that yes. It is scary. If all of your friends want you to be a bike racer, but you don’t really care enough to dedicate large portions of your time and money into doing so, then don’t. If society says you should be a pure, sweet Christian girl who prefers mission trips to missionary, but you really just want to let your hair down and be wild, then cancel your appointment for that malaria booster, go buy a pack of condoms, and head to the social gathering spot where alcoholic beverages are served. If your friends all listen to Slayer, and you have a secret shrine to Justin Bieber in your closet, then tell them to STFU and deal with it next time they’re in your car and Bieber fever attacks your radio.
What’s the worst that could happen? You disappoint your peers? People talk about you? People spread rumors? People don’t want to be your friend anymore because you no longer abide by their standards of what you should be? Who cares? You are living life exactly how you and no one else wants you to live life. Anyone who hates you for doing so should probably spend that energy reflecting upon themselves instead.