It was in 2001 that I learnt to ride a bike. I was 14.
Yes, you read that right, LEARNT to ride a bike at 14. While most of my friends had probably learnt to ride a bike when they were about 5 to 6 years of age, I didn’t, and I have a perfectly good explanation for that.
I am afraid you see; afraid of falling, afraid of losing my balance and afraid to not be in control. That’s partly the reason behind my hydrophobia. I am petrified of large bodies of water and I try to avoid swimming as much as possible. I need to feel solid ground beneath my feet to not be anxious.
So you can imagine how I must’ve felt when my dad gifted me a bike on my 14th birthday. I asked him, ‘you are joking, right?’
My parents wanted me to learn how to ride a bike. Not because it is an oh so essential life skill that I can’t do without, rather, they wanted me to overcome my fear.
I made excuses at first. Tried to not look at the bike because I thought that will make my parents realize how much I didn’t want to learn how to ride one. But that’s not how life works. Sometimes you just have to do things that you don’t want to do and sometimes you are made to.
That’s exactly what happened.
It was a hot summer day, I had just come back from school and my mum was waiting outside our apartment with THE bike. I looked at my mum and said, ‘Nice! are you going for a ride?’ She gave me the death stare and replied, ‘No…but we are.’, in a tone that let me know that she meant business.
And we did.
I wish I could say, I got on to that bike and rode away into oblivion and everything was fine and dandy… except, it wasn’t.
We slowwwwwlllyyyyy (like a pair of tortoises) made our way to the neighbourhood basketball court. Oh that damned basketball court, I still remember it. I tried to resist it as much as possible. Tried to cry, tried to reason with my mother but she wouldn’t have any of it! She was hell bent on making me learn how to ride one and she did.
I was not even allowed to drink water till I learnt how to ride one.
Before the day came to an end, I knew how to maintain my balance on a bicycle! Sure I didn’t know how to turn corners but you know what they say, practice makes perfect!
Long story short, there are going to be a lot of things in your life that you are going to be afraid of. You are going to resist them, hate them, try to make up excuses for not wanting to do them. But you know what’s easier? Learning to master it, learning to master your fears.
Is there something that you have always been wanting to or meaning to do but never got the chance to because it scared you practically sh*tless? You know when will be a good time to do them?
Take the leap and fake it till you make it.