Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Staying Positive (or something like that)

This past weekend I got the nicest text from sister. It read:

Torturing Cara in Davis...
'I think you should write a blog about all the ways you to turn shitty situations into positive or fun ones and how it's helped you with success on your bike. I was telling someone about how I visited you in Davis and you tortured me by making me scavenge for free food because you really couldn't afford to spend money and it ended up being a lot of fun.'

It made me smile, and laugh a little to remember the good old college days when I would raid the research orchard for free cherries because I couldn't afford to buy dinner. It also made me smile because there is something about a sister telling you that you did good when things were tough. It really made me feel loved.

A time when sister came to visit and I DIDN'T torture her, much. Ok, maybe a little.
To blog about turning adversity into success though, I don't really know how to do that. I may have had a pretty tough time in college financially, but I don't know that I have it together enough to say that I always turn shitty situations into positive ones. For example, when the team I rode for last year dissolved in mid-fall I didn't do such a good job at looking on the bright side. There were a lot of tears, and talk of quitting, and general negative behavior. I would love to say that I always find the silver lining, that I am consistently a glass half full gal, but I think it's more a work in progress.

What I can say is that I learn a lot from the tough times in life. During some of those tough times, it really 100% does make a huge difference to put on a smile, pretend to be happy and go out and live. This mind set definately helped me survive college, a time in my life when I was constantly scouting places to live under bridges just in case I couldn't pay rent and got kicked out of whatever questionable housing situation I was in. Pretending to have a good time almost always turns into actually having a good time, even if the thing you're doing is a little sad or bizarre like scavenging for free food. Although I did my fair share of wallowing in grief, and crying into my pillow about the possibility of drowning in debt I was also very active about going out and pretending that the ridiculous things I did to survive were fun. Most of the time those ridiculous things turned out to really be fun (mostly because I was surrounded by such a great group of friends + sister), and the best part is, I survived.

How does this apply to bike racing? Well, I think all that adversity, all that pretending it's fun when it's actually painful and hard, might have shaped my ability to process pain, and to work through it. I'm not saying I'm fast BECAUSE I was dirt poor and ate dumpster bagels, but I am saying it changed the way I process stuff, and may have made me a bit faster than I would have been. Plus, on this side of the really freaking hard times I appreciate every little thing a lot. And hopefully I have the perspective that future hard times will be temporary, hopefully.

So there's that. Now it's time to go pre-ride the new Bonelli course, and conquer the new A-line!

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