Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Woman Who Rides

I came across this amazing video on Belt Drive Betty's Blog. For the first time, I feel that someone has grasped just a glimmer of what happens in my heart every time I get on the motorcycle.

I was really unhappy before I started riding with Highway. Ride after ride, my heart would blossom and grow. One day, on the Ortega Highway, I felt myself change forever. Coming through the turns at high speeds, Collective Soul's Tremble For My Beloved blaring in my headphones, I felt my heart explode! Since that day, I haven't looked back. Everyday I look forward to my next ride.

This is what it is like for me:

Thank you Betty for posting this video!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pain Can't Hurt Me

As the behemoth rose from her barstool in the dark, sticky bar in Highland, CA, I realized that I had quite a task on my hands. But I felt no fear. There is no room for fear in a bar fight. Quickly I assessed my surroundings, the dank scent of beer and sweat, the half drunk but intrigued patrons all wearing cowboy boots and Wranglers, the sound of Waylon Jennings that filled the room. Would I choose humor or fists to fight this monster? The reality was I was already in control of the situation. I initiated this fight, I pulled all of the strings to make it happen, and now she was rising up from her comfy seat and cold drink just to swat the pesky annoyance I had become to her.

I had insulted her, left her no choice but to stand up to me. She surveyed the 22 year old, 4'11" of smarmy, feminine bitch that I was and looked somewhat dumbfounded. As I stood before her, shoulders braced, smile across my bright red painted, glossed lips, I stared her down from behind a face of perfect makeup and beautifully lined eyes. She couldn't understand this beauty queen who wanted to start trouble. Little did she know that I was craving the bone jarring moment of her fist in my face almost as much as the bone jarring moment of my fist in hers. I felt no fear.

Just the way the fear only comes once the bike crash is over. That turn I took too deep, that curb I shouldn't have been looking at, that corner I misjudged. Perhaps that split second before the bike and I hit the pavement, but the fear really settles in when I count body parts still attached as I lie in the street.

"Is my head still attached? Yes, because I can feel it starting to hurt. Are both of my legs still here? Both arms, all of my fingers?"

The thoughts process through my brain as I do the "body check" while spitting gravel out of my mouth. I had determined that all of my body parts remained, some by a "site check" and some by a "feel check". I knew the ones I could only see but not feel meant that the pain was coming and it would be bad. Really bad.

Fuck it. I've been hurt worse before.

If she hits me now she can't hurt me. If I hit that street on my bike, it can't hurt me. If you lie to me you can't hurt me. If you leave me now you can't hurt me.

I can't be hurt. Because you can't touch me. She can't touch me. The street can't touch me.

Pain only hurts as deep as you let it sink in. And I've been hurt worse before. Much worse.

So swing Bitch! Go ahead and swing! Because when there is no fear of the pain, it's amazing what one can accomplish. You had better fucking kill me, because I won't quit until you do. Hit me and you buy a fucking hornets nest of trouble. So go ahead, and swing.

This is not a death wish, but a life wish. This is living life unafraid and I'm not going to let fear stand in my way. If you want to dine at the Self Pity Cafe because life is so unfair, count me out. If you want to drink at the I'm A Pussy Bar where your favorite drink is Not Me - I'm Afraid, then I have no time for you. If you want to boot up and ride, kicking that Oogie Boogie Fear off the seat and live the life God intended you to have, then join me.

Until then, I'll be squeezing the throttle back looking for my life, my road, my future. And if I crash a fist into some bar bitch or hit the pavement, well that's the way it goes. You buy the land, you get the Indians.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Freedom Threat

Every motorcycle rider has at one time or another watched the 1969 film Easy Rider. Two riders, Billy and Wyatt have a loose plan to ride their motorcycles across the country and live a free life. But this type of avant-guarde freedom seemed unacceptable to certain members of society. Rules created by the larger body for comfort and the idea of personal freedom don't usually coexist well in any society.

George, an alcoholic attorney, decides to run away from his life and join these two drifters on their odyssey for as long as they allow him to tag along. Around the campfire one evening, George has this prophetic dialogue with Billy.

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.
George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
George Hanson: No, it makes 'em dangerous.

As much as we like to think that in 43 years our society has progressed beyond this negativity and we've become more open to new ideas and lifestyles, many attitudes haven't moved forward at all. When I speak to people about our upcoming Gypsy Trip, many of them seem fascinated, intrigued and genuinely thrilled for us. But this is not the case with everyone. I also encounter resentment, bitterness, disbelieve and distrust.

"You can't do that! You can't just take off and be homeless! Why would you do that?"

Hours can be spent trying to explain the logistics, but that's not really the answer they are looking for. They're real question is not about how we can afford it, nor where we will store our belongings. The real question is deeper.

"How can you just run off, be free, live a very different life when I can't?"

Again, hours could be spent explaining how they can, but the truth is, they have other reasons, reasons they are unwilling to understand nor confront, that keep them in the job they hate, mowing the lawn they hate, paying bills they resent paying, and maintaining a lifestyle of excess. The reasons they stay chained to their anchor go even deeper than many of them know, and deeper than they choose to look.

For me to walk away from the security of an unhappy marriage, facing financial destitution, loneliness, despair, uncertainty and worst of all, the unknown, took all of the courage I've ever needed to muster. With my exx, I knew what to expect, because things had remained the same for so many years. And even though I was miserable, I was comfortable. Change is always painful.

It seems that for some people, Highway and I represent the reality that people can change their lives at their own choosing and this fact makes them uncomfortable. But I can't worry about them, nor their opinion of me. I can't let the fear of rejection by friends and acquaintances affect my choices for myself.

These things I do for me, because frankly, if I can't live my life my way, then why should I even live? Jimi Hendrix once said,
"I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to."
I couldn't have said it better myself.

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About Sash

People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)