Up and Down

A very good friend of mine, and the friend who is most responsible for me diving into the crazy world of endurance sport, got a call today.  From George Hincapie.

Yeah… THAT George Hincapie.  He of 17 TdF finishes, multiple world and national championships, and right hand man to (love him or hate him) Lance during the Postal years. Big George.

He was calling to say he liked her story and wanted her to be a brand ambassador for Hincapie Sportswear. Sponsorship! I’m really proud of her and happy she’s getting some payoff for the effort she has put in.  There are things about her that irritate the hell out of me, but she’s also a great friend, one of my best, and incredible inspiration.  The words “inspiration” and “inspiring” get thrown around a lot, but in this case, there is no other word to describe the impact she has had on me (and apparently Big George!).  I once asked how she could do it all when things got bad.  She said something like “I don’t know… You just keep going.  Even in the darkness.”

It got me thinking that I should probably try to work on getting some kind of deal like that.  I don’t think I’ll get a call from Big George (or anyone else, actually), but this triathlon thing isn’t cheap.  It’s also a huge part of how I’m dealing with depression, so that means I’ll be going through a lot of gear. That’s a lot of money. I have reservations about the whole “marketing” thing, but some occasional free gear would be a huge boost for me.

My reservations revolve around my attitudes towards social media and that THIS thing isn’t about other people or even really necessarily FOR other people.  It’s for me. This is a raw record of MY feelings and experiences and I want to keep it that way.  Its good for me. I also honestly don’t really like most of what happens with social media.  I realize you can make of it what you please, but I think a lot of what happens with social media is detrimental and destructive to society and individuals.  People waste an enormous amount of time on it, and I think it makes a lot of people very insecure.  You’re constantly working for ‘likes’ and page views… I don’t want this blog to become a vehicle for some image I’m trying to present to other people.  If someone is inspired by my ramblings or thinks something I’ve written is cool or interesting, great! But I don’t want that to be my objective.  I’d like this to remain raw, and therefore basically anonymous because I feel like it’s more therapeutic for me that way, but the point of social media is pretty much to NOT be anonymous.

Anyway, that’s not something I have to figure out right now.  Also on the list of things I need to figure out, but don’t need to figure out right now is possibly finding a job in the cycling/endurance sports industry.  I know I’m not going to stay working at a giant engineering consulting company forever.  It seems like maybe some sort of technical development or sales position would be a good role for me.  Again, though, not something I need to figure out right now.

Right now I need to stay focused on my training and my work.  Focus. Get serious about focus.

The changing winds I thought I felt a week or two ago seem to have gone.  All they blew in was a system of unpredictable brief highs and deep, dark, suffocating lows. I’ll be joking around with friends, and 5 minutes later I’ll have the 1000-yard stare complete with ennui and self-loathing.  How can I like who I am so much but also be so unhappy? I’m a good person.  I’m interesting.  I’m pretty funny a lot of the time.  I’m not bad looking, and I have an engaging personality (I think). Mostly, I think people like me.  So why am I not happier in general, and why is the depressive malaise of my daily life so unaffected by the enjoyable times I so frequently have?

I had the untouchable high of registering for my first ever tri and having it be a half iron. By 3 hours later, I avoid phone calls from friends as I stare blankly at nothing.  I pace my apartment in the morning, shrouded by a heavy darkness that emanates from within, and barely able to accomplish the few mundane tasks necessary before departure.  But seconds after emerging into the bright, biting cold of a snowy morning, the shackles of misery are undone.  I land in my desk chair and before my computer has booted, the shadow is long across my existence again.

There’s a guy named John Koenig who writes “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”.  According to his site, “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.”

It’s an incredible thing to look at if you’re dealing with depression.

I wonder if there’s a word for the process of pushing yourself physically as much as you can, in a vain effort not to slide back into the dark hole of melancholia.

Just keep going.  Even in the darkness.


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