I lay in bed unhappy with myself and where my life is. I’m sore from the yesterday’s efforts but that isn’t actually a factor in my languor. I am bitter about my loneliness and even more bitter about my bitterness. I’d give anything just to not care anymore.
An hour passes.
My back is hurting and I’m not completely sure why. I know I need to improve my core strength but I’ve been working on that and it should be helping. I must have slept on my stomach with too much arch in my back. This doesn’t make me feel any better about myself.
I get up to use the bathroom, walking through my empty apartment looking at the floor. I feel an actual sense of shame, though I’m not sure what for, so my eyes stay pointed down as if avoiding the judging stares of people who are not there. Once in the bathroom, the cold tile floor, the hiss of the radiator and the hollow tintinnabulation of urine striking toilet water are the only sensations I experience other than internal disappointment.
I linger for a fraction of a second in the hallway. The kitchen lies to my right, equipped with everything I need to make a good pre-ride breakfast. The living room lies to my left, and is the pathway back to my bedroom, where I can hide from the rest of the world and suffer in isolation. Despite the momentary hesitation, my momentum carries me back to my bed where I cover my head with my blankets, hoping somehow my life will be different when I pull them back again.
Another hour passes.
I look at my phone and see that it’s approaching 11 o’clock. I also note that despite how connected we all are now, not a soul has attempted any form of communication with me. I despair at the late hour, and lack of contact, but also derive a small bit of self-destructive pride from my isolation. “No one wants me and I don’t even fucking want anyone else.” I tell myself, though neither of these is actually true. I shift in my bed, contemplating my next move. Mental calculations are performed about time and distance. The weather is checked. Kit options are weighed. I consider inquiring on social media if anyone would like to join me for a ride. I weigh kit options again. Thoughts of past women I used to ride with flutter through my head and frustrate me, one in particular. I sneer with disgust at every woman who has been shitty to me and at myself for giving a shit. I re-check the weather and fume over what route I should take. I wonder if there’s even a point. I wonder if I’ll even be able to drag myself out of bed.
“Never give up”
I put it there because I find myself in this hole so frequently. You have to do something to break the negative cycles, even if it’s as stupid and ridiculous as putting an inspirational picture on the lock screen of your phone. I momentarily consider the number of times my friends have woken up hating their lives. I remember that one of my best friends is presently fighting through ridiculous hip pain, trying for a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time. I pull the covers back.
45 minutes later I’m shivering down the road outside my apartment fueled by reheated oatmeal with blueberries and maple syrup. It’s 36 degrees and misty. I’m armored head to toe against the biting cold but it’s not really enough. Over the next 2 hours I’ll have to shift my mask four times as snot drips and blocks my ability to breathe. I’ll dehydrate because it’s too cold to pull the mask down for a drink other than at stops. My glasses will be permanently fogged unless I maintain at least 14.5mph. Every part of me will be cold. Ice will form on my gloves. The skin on my legs will sting and turn bright red from the bite of the chill. And the darkness inside will recede.