We are always told as kids that when we fall, we have to get back up. Usually getting back up also entails a couple tears, running to Mom, a bandaid and a popsicle. All those things are needed to heal the wound and stop the pain. As we get older, we stop running to Mom, but we still use medicine to heal our wounds, treats to heal our pride, and we still cry when we are hurt… because the pain doesn’t change. We are told that we fall so that we can learn to get back up on our own. Every time it happens, it gets a little easier. Slowly, we start to develop tougher skin and stronger wills until we believe that we can do anything we put our minds to. We get so used to succeeding that we hold it all in when we fail. We choose to ignore the pain, or deny it’s existence, and in turn we stop learning from our mistakes. At some point, we have to let go of the foolish pride that keeps us from growing and moving forward, and confront exactly that “thing” that caused us to trip, stumble, and fall flat on our faces.
For myself, it wasn’t the road that caused my fall. I’ve confronted all of the bad decisions leading up to my crash and made them a public spectacle. I hope and believe that doing so might help others to avoid the pain that I (and my family and friends) endured altogether. They say the best teacher is experience, but I think the best teacher is someone else’s experience. So I press on and fight every day to make the world see things from my perspective. The one thing I had never done, for myself, was to finish the ride I was supposed to take the day that changed my life. I had been back to the spot I came to rest at after the 522 ft tumble down US 550. In fact, it was exactly a year later when I stood there, and on my own motorcycle at that. But when it came time to go, I turned around and headed home – I failed to continue on down that road and left it as a reminder of foiled plans and “didn’t make its”.
The Survivor Ride started as a fundraising adventure, an epic journey to bring attention to issues the world is facing and encourage others to take notice, or maybe even do something about it. It evolved into a challenge, a call to action for myself to not only celebrate my survival but also to confront the demons that still lingered on US 550. Amazingly enough, the closer I got to the road, the harder my journey became. Getting there in the first place proved to be a difficult task, as I ran into traffic, construction, hellacious thunderstorms, dust storms, wind gusts of 60mph, low-to-no visibility, and enough lightning to make me hole up for the night in a hotel. Getting there was only half the battle, because once I was on that elusive road, I ran into freezing temperatures, freezing rain, deer, debris, nerves, more construction, and finally one doozie of a sloped shoulder that nearly caused me to drop my bike… but I made it. I made it! I’ve now ridden every inch of that 304 mile stretch and I did it on a bike that many told me I could never ride. That, in itself, is a victory. People who use the word “impossible” don’t know me very well.
I have been able to look back on that day and say that I have learned from my mistakes for quite some time. Now, I can look back at that road and say that I have conquered it too. I am a survivor. More importantly, I am thriving.
Thanks for watching, thanks for reading, thanks for following, and thanks for believing in me. – Brittany