Certainly, if I couldn't ride again, I would be heartbroken. I've enjoyed my hours in the saddle and I hope to have many years of riding ahead. But I had a full life, actually many lives, prior to motorcycling, and I believe that I would have a full life again.
At this point in my existence, I've made it more than a hobby, but a way of life. I don't own a car, nor have a home, but travel on my motorcycle full time and live in temporary quarters along the way. My husband Steve and I had made it our business, publishing motorcycle-related content in a number of publications. We've made it a priority. Often times this lends a certain pressure to keep riding.
While at this time in my life I long to ride, I know there may come a day I won't pursue it with such passion, and riding may become a chore. Genevieve Schmitt, publisher of Women Riders Now, spoke on this at the Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit in May 2013. This was a revelation to me and I wondered what would happen if I came around to the same feeling one day.
I turned to drugs and alcohol, quickly turning into an abusive drug addict myself. This was not much of a stretch, considering my upbringing. Having been raised on drugs and violence, much the way a Catholic is raised on guilt and prayer, it was in my blood with a stench so thick I could taste it.
After a stint in rehab, a new baby, a relapse and a brush with Officer Friendly, I grabbed onto sobriety with both hands. I dedicated my life to the 12 steps and for over 21 years I've been clean and sober. For many years it was my entire identity, filling up my life the way drugs once had.
Along with remaining sober and growing spiritually, I was a full-time parent, raising my lovely daughter Olivia. After a tumultuous first marriage, I remarried with the intent to raise my daughter in a stable home, but home life became far too stable, reaching a state of stale malevolence and bitter reality for me. When my daughter was grown and gone and I realized my marriage was a failure, I moved on to a new lifestyle, rambling about for a couple of years trying to find my way again. This is when I fell in love with my husband Steve and we found our way together.
I've had many lives with many identities over the years, only most recently becoming a motorcycle rider. The baggage I carry within my helmet is that of a poet, writer, author, business woman, mother, abused child, wayward youth, wife, divorcee, grandmother, friend, sober person, and survivor. I'm also an amazing cook, seamstress, painter, decorator, and collector of furs, china, jewelry and antiques. These other versions of who I am wriggle their way into my consciousness daily, forming the landscape of the roads I ride. I unpack them in every new city, wear them as the clothing that drapes across my skin, and memories shine through my eyes with each passing day.
In light of all of this, with the enormity of my experiences, I suppose being a rider is only an aspect of whom I've become.