I have retrieved my old bicycle and am happily pedaling down the street when I realize that the handlebars are missing. How could I not have noticed that my handlebars are missing? What have I been steering with? On closer examination, I notice that there is a partial bar protruding where the handlebars used to be, which seemed to be working for me, but how precarious! How did I expect to manoeuver over bumps without something solid to hang onto?
The question that arises for me is not whether or not I can “surf” the chaos – I know that I can – but how does someone raised in a pattern of chaos and dysfunction, learn to ride the calm of normalcy?
I am strong in the face of adversity, but not so strong when things are going well. There is an underlying anxiety, or nervousness that something is not right, or just around the corner. I would love to be able to embrace the joy of life, without fear of its instability.
The bike in my dream is reminiscent of the one I received for my ninth birthday. It had a big banana seat, and long looping handlebars, that rose up above the front tire, in a sweeping ‘u’. My first wheels of independence, I rode that bike everywhere, confident that I could outride anyone in the neighbourhood. I still have visions of myself leading a pack of riders down some of our best hills. Such a feeling of freedom!
In those days, when my handlebars were intact, I was confident of my abilities. I had a strong sense of purpose, and felt ready to face the challenges ahead of me. I had a vision.
According to the dream, I gave that bicycle away at some point, and have only just now retrieved it, a little worse for wear. Amazingly, it still fits me. The tires are intact; and the seat supportive, but the big sweeping ‘you’ is missing. So, it is. Life’s bumps, and times where I no longer had ownership, have eroded that very mechanism that helped me navigate.
I don’t want to be nine again, but I would like to regain the momentum that allowed me to climb those steep hills and soar down those hills, fearless, impassioned, and in the moment: free.
If this bike is going to work for me, I’ll need something new to hang onto. Something more conservative and practical. Something that gives me stability and control, and supports me when choosing a direction.