I got knocked off my bike
This is why it's important to talk about the "stuff" that happens to us.
^ here's Kevin, my first bike in London.
This is my fourth article in 4 days and I’m well into my challenge of writing 30 articles in 30 days.
I thought I’d write this post with a little more of the raw stuff in, the bits that usually get cut out to give you an idea of how I start blog posts and how I get to the point.
I usually like to “journal” or just write around a topic for a bit first, it’s a bit like a warm up, literally warming up the fingers and loosening up my mind/self to let myself express whatever it is that needs to come out. I currently don't know what I am going to write about.
I recently got gifted a Masterclass account for my birthday (thanks Tim Armoo - legend) and the first one I watched was about Writing and about finding your voice.
One of the exercises the lady encouraged was to write about a time that you thought you were going to die and in general she encouraged you as the Writer to go back to an emotion, say a time you were angry, sad, happy and write from that place.
The first prompt is quite timely though because I was knocked off my bike last week.
It wasn’t a near death experience or a high impact crash, it was more like a slow collision where a minibus cut across me turning left and it’s back-wheel took me and my bike down with it.
I managed to pull my leg from underneath before the bus crushed my bike and I watched the back part of my bike crumple and churn under the weight of the vehicle.
I can still see that in my mind now and I can hear the scraping too. It happened quickly yet I was really very present for it and it seemed to happen slowly too.
I have been in a couple of car accidents in the past (which are flooding back to me right now), but this was the first time in a long time and I was shaken up.
My knees were shaking in the moment and for the next couple of days I wasn’t quite with it, I was quite taken aback. I was shook up.
I don’t want to write about road safety in London, that doesn’t interest me, although I do have a new type of respect for the roads and hyper alertness.
I do want to write about how “stuff like this” stays with us though. That small incident is part of me now, it’s in my body, it’s in my consciousness and in my awareness, it’s in my memory, it’s in my nervous system. It was trauma, albeit mild.
Next time I’m cycling on a main road, I will feel nervous I imagine, I might feel a knot in my stomach, I might be agitated before I leave. My body and my nervous system will respond to an event that has happened in my past and I will respond to the environment I am in which may remind of that past event.
There are thousands of incidents like this that have happened to all of us throughout our lives, some significant etched in our memory or that we wear as scars (emotional or physical) and others that feel less significant.
Especially incidents that happen to us in our childhood, they are formative and form our learned behaviours and conditioning of how we see the world.
This is why I believe we must pay even more attention to our mental health as I believe we still massively underestimate the extent to which our environment impacts our health.
I think we’re still coming out of this legacy mindset that “life just happens” and you deal with it. The problem with that mantra is that nothing actually gets dealt with, it just gets ignored or swept under the rug, we move on without an appreciation that our history and our present circumstances have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
If you get knocked off your bike, or insulted, or hurt or bullied, or the way someone talks to you hurts, then that’s a moment, that’s an incident that may impact you, it may stay with you, you may hold onto it. And to move past that something needs to happen. There needs to be some process, some contact, a conversation, an intervention, some healing, something.
When I let myself reflect on the amount we’re all holding onto that’s happened in our lives and the little amount of space that most people have had access to to talk, share, vent, or reflect. I’m astonished more people are not burned out, stressed, anxious, or depressed. As human’s life throws a lot at us, it’s messy and complex, and it’s critical we find the ways and the support to navigate ourselves through it.
I got knocked off my bike. I spoke to Sarah about it, I wrote about it in my journal, I told my parents and I told my team at work that I was feeling weird the day after. I took up quite a lot of space for myself, I talked about it quite a lot, I told quite a lot of people what happened. I even ended up writing a poem about ‘Kevin’ (RIP) my bike whilst journalling.
And now, I’ve moved past it, I’ll ride safer, I’ll be more alert and I’m about to see what price I can get for the bike and how to negotiate the insurance with the guy who knocked me off, and I feel like I’m more equipped to do that because of how I’ve supported myself.
I don’t believe anything that impacts our mental health or how we feel is too big or too small to talk about, I just hope we can all get access to the right spaces to have those conversations.
Ride safe people.
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