Because We Must

If you’ve ever had the change to sit with survivors of the holocaust you’d likely be told stories of pain, of suffering and of chaos.  But, if you sit long enough you’d more likely hear stories of beauty and of the those who not only lived, but prospered.  You’d hear of the indomitable human spirit embracing love while hate seemed to permeate every aspect of their lives.

In every story of death, you’d be told a story of life finding a way to prosper.  Where darkness reigned you would be told of beauty.

I believe that we are finding ourselves in a time so eerily reminiscent of the world that brought my family to the United States.   The pogroms and eventual holocaust spread the Jewish people all over the planet.   When the virus of hate sought to destroy life people embraced their humanities and changed the world.   There are stories so tragic and so beautiful that could only come in the light of that darkness.

When you hear stories of awe inspiring triumph and celebration it can seem out of place.  As the girl in the red coat in scenes of black and white during Schindlers list stood out, so too do the stories of celebration in a world of chaos.  I asked once why they still had a wedding, a secret celebration or told a joke.

 

Their answer always, “Because we must”.  

Both people and disease can take freedom, peace, and even life.  But what can not be taken is the ability to love through it. To be human is to love.  To love is to be human.   And in the truth of a world in chaos you likely can’t change the world.  But what you can do is choose to be peace in even one persons life.

These moments are what remind us that we are alive.  These seemingly innocuous or even momentous events seem frivolous when chaos reigns. But I would contend that they are needed now more than ever.  That now is when we must choose love. Now is when we must share stories of triumph and of beauty.  Now is when we must find a way to laugh in spite of and at our circumstances.    We do it, because we must.

So in light of tragedy I want to share a story of love.  I have a friend named Logan.  He is a teacher who has already lived through a life burdened for his short years (sorry Logan, I’m pulling the old lady card on you).   His story is one of trial and strength.  That part is his to share.   But what I have been given allowance to share is his story of love.   He’s a great guy who has a kind heart and recently he’s made the decision to share his life with his partner.   They have become engaged and I couldn’t be happier. Because right now what I need to share is the joy of life growing.  Of two people finding themselves in the chaos of this world.   Their engagement and marriage are the future.  It’s not going to be a virus or humanity turning on itself.  This future belongs to the beauty of their love and I am beyond excited for it.

I too want to share why I am still making jokes about the corona virus. I don’t laugh because I think it’s funny. I am not mocking it because I am ignoring the suffering and lives lost.  I am laughing, as I believe we must. We can not ignore a world that is crumbling, but we can find a way to embrace joy and laugh in the face of sadness.  Silly memes and humorous words are something we can share when we need to remember that there is still joy.

In fact, one of my brothers recently died of cancer.   Our last conversation lasted maybe one minute.  I knew he was going to pass any day.  We didn’t talk of the cancer or death.  We didn’t share words of great inspiration.

When he was given the phone I told him I had heard he was being a pain in the ass and was about to upset everyones schedule.  He laughed and said, “well you know how I am.”   This wasn’t about ignoring what we knew was about to happen, but it was embracing why there would be sadness.  His death was sad because we had shared joy.  His life one light extinguished in a dark world that needed it.  So we chose to laugh because we must.

Lastly I will share the thing I will remember most from him.  It was laughing about the holocaust.  Or rather, sharing what we believed the Jewish people did during it.   As my brother said, “At least once I believe that as the gas started coming from the chamber one guy looked to his friend and said, “did you hear the one about the guy…””

We laugh because we must.   We celebrate because we must. For in that we give ourselves a future.

Tomorrow Morning

If you knew a goodbye was the last time you’d talk to someone what would you say?

Would it be to remind them of every pain you experienced because of them? Or rather would you remind them of all the moments you made together? I am certain that for most people their hearts would go to the beauty rather than the brokenness.

We are a fickle creature us humans. Somehow lost the further we get to the knowing. For me at least that has been my story.

On a whole I have found beauty beyond belief in a system. A life surrounded by genuine love for a person I could never understand why people loved. He was nice where he could be, but I knew they didn’t see him for who he was. A man clinging to life when it didn’t seem worth the effort. But even when I hated me there was a nagging belief that something more was to be found.

In transitioning I found myself closer to understanding the affection others shared to me. And like a fire this sense of knowing brought me closer to destroying all of the build up I never believed in. I’ve realized suicide was never about hurting him, but freeing myself from everything I couldn’t see. That’s been my disconnect.

Beauty.

It feels foreign when it’s referenced to me. And that realization made me understand why I could never accept those who loved him. They did because they saw those things he hoped to live out.

And there are those who see in me a girl they’d call beautiful. I don’t understand it, but I can acknowledge it’s what they see. I cannot decide what others feel or see. I can only have hoped I’d allow others to see value and beauty in their own lives. That redirecting their affection would let them see someone else who needed it. Because really, I could get by without it.

Or maybe not. But I can say that for years I understood the necessity of a worthwhile goodbye. Because sometimes the end comes when the beginning just started. We shed this mortal coil and move on into the great unknown. In that existence all that aged us won’t have mattered.

I can not say I’ve ever really known what prints I’d leave on the hearts of those who knew, liked, and even loved me. But I do know that I’ll have left something. There’s no doubt that I’ve impacted those around me in ways unique because of who I am. I don’t think anyone would argue that who I was or am was always complicated.

You see. Ive begrudgingly accepted suicide isn’t really an option for me. That and I don’t have the guts to do it. And if you think suicide is the act of a coward I assure you that you know nothing about it. Suicide takes the ability to look past the tangible reality and walk out of this world. I don’t care what your beliefs are, religious or otherwise, for no one really knows what’s on the other side. There’s only faith. To go into the unknown willingly isn’t weakness.

I can tell you when I’ve been closest again is when I didn’t expect it. I’ve realized it’s more a fear that the longer I exist the greater pain I cause to others. So I walk through the day with as little darkness as I can. This doesn’t likely work though. My kids, past partners, friends and family who once loved me would likely agree. The more I try and quiet the storm in me the more it comes out in bursts of the person I always hated.

The person in my mirror.

But I digress. This wasn’t intended to be about my suicide. I wrote it months ago with some of that intent. I’ve picked it up in pieces with other thoughts. And really, I still don’t know where I’m going with it.

Maybe it’s a way of outing myself, to shed light on habits that are subtle self harm. Ways of taunting the reaper to finish his job. That’s in struggling to put on a helmet while riding the motorcycle. Pushing it beyond limits it really should be at. Maybe it’s not eating, forcing my body into a size it shouldn’t be. Staying awake for days because the chaos feels deserved. Isolating because the silence is the only way I don’t get hurt when I hurt others.

I guess I’m writing it because I can’t seem to stop myself from hoping someone can be helped by reading it. In reaching out in this way I remind myself that perhaps there’s something worthy in me too.

But if today is the last morning we share together for any reason know I’d hope for joy and peace in your future. That wherever the next existence leads, maybe it’s beautiful.

It Wasn’t About Dying

Suicide isn’t selfishness.

Suicide isn’t about wanting attention.

Suicide isn’t meant to hurt others.

It is often the only thing that your loved one felt they could hold onto. Or worse, they feel it’s the best thing they could do for those that love them.

I grew up with so many damaging viewpoints around suicide. We treat suicide and depression like it’s something chosen or a matter of weakness. Well. I’ve never chosen them. And I’ve fought my whole life trying to get through them. It’s left me tired and broken. Often not sure which nightmare is real or imagined. The one of sleep or the one when awake. But I can tell you that often the hardest thing to do is face the colloquial tropes thrown in the face of the suffering.

“It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem”

Well my friends when YOU are the problem you see in your hurts how temporary can that be. Nothing can change the truth that you are you. We are beautifully complex beings with uniqueness that should never be hidden away. But what if the you you see has always been told it’s wrong. Too fat or too tall, too old too small, too dark, too light. too girly, too rough, always too not enough…

Realizing I am trans has both alleviated and aggravated so many of these emotions. I’ve been able to see myself in kindnes and beauty. But I’ve also struggled with a different sense of destruction when suicidal thoughts and depression hit. I never before cared about ending my own life. But now I feel like I’m destroying something precious for the first time. Like there was so much life to be lived if I could only get past the monster.

You might wonder why I can’t just see the beauty around me. The beauty in my children’s eyes. The smile of those who see me as a beautiful woman. The gorgeous scenery surrounding me just outside my door. The list of things that are beautiful were never the problem. My life has in so many ways been a beautifully decorated book containing a heartbreaking story.

Because like so many others: My depression tells me the only real bad guy in my story is me. That my gift to those I love is to take the pain of me away from them. To pull my story away from theirs. If it’s always raining somewhere then moving to a place that is sunny makes sense. But depression tells me I am the rain.

My plea is this to those that will wonder. Please love others. Most especially those who are on the fringes of society. Accept them for everything they are. You may not understand. But try to. Try like their life depends on it. Because it just may.

He Believed In Her

He told me he knew he loved me the first time he saw me. I was just a silly girl trying to feel pretty in the first time in forever.

He told me I was the kind of girl he always wanted to spend his life with. He then took a breath and faded away. I sat in that park and watched as so many people just meandered past. Could they know what I had lost? Could they have known what he meant to me? I mean sure, they saw him too, but they’d never really understand.

But maybe I could never understand what he meant to them. A father, a brother, a friend and lover. He is gone because of me. Maybe that’s why so many can’t seem to even utter my name without knowing they’ve lost him. Seeming to only see the him that’s gone rather than the girl he believed in. I’m here because he’s not. His sacrifice gave me the chance to live. There’s so many things he could have done, but he gave up all those moments for me. He gave them up because he loved me enough to see my future.

He’s gone. I’m here. My life is a testament to his heart. He gave me what I needed, a chance to exist.

I don’t blame them for missing him. But I wish they could see in me everything he hoped to be. I have a heart for those who are hurting, and his heart beats in me. I have a voice for those who aren’t heard, and it’s from his tongue the words flow. And I have his hands to hold those he loved, and those he could have.

I am the good in him. And I’m the her he always wanted to be.

A girl he believed in enough to no longer be. He believed In me. So for those who loved him, I hope you’d see him in me too. He’s not gone, he’s just become her.

Never Just

If you’re reading this blog chances are you also know of the world losing an amazing person last week.

Jessi Combs was killed doing what she loved while trying to drive a land speed car to yet another record. Her passing has rippled through a community of people who admired her. I am one of them. And tonight I told someone she’s the kind of woman I’d want to be. Hell, the kind of person anyone could want to be. She was a bad ass who exuded beauty that was so far beyond just a physical thing.

She was so many things to sooo many people. One thing she wasn’t; was “just”. She wasn’t just a woman, just a racecar driver, just a fabricator or just an artist. She wasn’t just talented, just beautiful, just funny, or just kind. To those who knew her well she wasn’t just a friend or a loved one. She was many things to many people, she was a person who truly lived.

And in that light I wanted to write again tonight. To create in the way that she often did. By doing something I love I hope I’m honoring her through this. So please bear with me.

It isn’t easy to live in the space of being me. And the last month I felt flooded by every derivative of negativity. There were days I barely left my bed. I was losing a battle more each day. I had to take a month off work to try and just survive. Honestly, I’ve been joking with many friends I didn’t think I would. But not so much for how hard things were, but for how little hope I saw in them. Part of what pulled me out of that was seeing myself in the mirror one simple morning. I saw me. Not even really the me in the mirror, but the me I wanted to be. I saw a girl who was more than just one thing. I am many things to many people. I am creative, I am kind, I am loving. I love to see things made into something more beautiful than how they started. I have depth like any other person, even when the monster isn’t letting me see it. And like Jessi Combs I am not just one thing.

And losing her to me was tragic because it felt a lot like losing Anthony Bourdain. I lost someone I looked up to and hoped to emulate. Amazing people who were so much more than just one thing.

So I finally got some miles under the bike. Pointed it west and found myself seeing Jessi and Anthony in little moments I think they would have appreciated.

I hope to honor them both by being the woman and person I want to be. This picture made me feel something that day. Made me remember to create and find beauty in things. To be more than “just”.

Thank you Jessi for showing the world what amazing looks like. For showing women everywhere that they too are so much more than just.

Transcending Hate

This weekend was Pride.

The riots that became a movement, the shattered closets and broken down walls that became the beautiful monuments. To me Pride was and has always been about acceptance. A moment, a day, a weekend, a month. Maybe even a life.

Embracing this crazy idea that WE ALL DESERVE LOVE.

As I said to the CEO of my company; I am a child of a Jewish immigrant family, I am a member of the LGBTQ community; and I’m proud of both of those. And the thing is, neither was a choice. I was born into a family that fled the pogroms. And like it or not, I was born with a truth that I didn’t fit into the social norms that said I should be or love a certain way.

As a Jew I was raised to know what that meant; to be proud of my heritage and what MY people fought and died for. To never be ashamed of that.

I won’t get into the racial stereotypes and racism I grew up around other than to say a school and church system that seemed to forget the greatest commandment made by of all people, a Jew. But I digress…

I was however raised to believe two other things that were followed by a litany of rules and regulations designed to oppress the women and the lesser than, the different or the otherwise unconventional. I was taught that anything other than a man loving a woman was a terrible abomination fitting of death and hell. Yet oddly it was never about a woman loving the man come to think of it. I guess the woman was supposed to do what she was told in whatever role the man decided.

Men were men only when they fit structures of physical strength and emotionless survival.

There were two people. Straight strong men and subservient women or the gays and other weirdos. You had the binary and everyone else.

And I knew as far back as I can recall which group I was in. Oh yes, I did everything I could to deny my truth. To deny what was the natural reflection of my heart. Yet through that battle and rejection I’ve only found a place where the monster has sat as comfortable and secure as they ever could. My heart had been a breeding ground for depression, suicide, rage, anger and self-hate. It nearly destroyed me and I could have lost my kids. It destroyed a marriage, friendships and too many moments to count. I survived through it by grace. And yes, often supported by those who claim the love of that old Jewish dude a few thousand years ago. I don’t hate authentic beliefs that lead you to love. If it wasn’t for a friends church I’d have successfully killed myself years ago. I will forever love them for saving my children’s parent.

So this all leads us to this:

I am trans

I’ve spent more than 30 years looking into a mirror and never seeing a reflection that felt right. It’s not that I thought I was ugly. But it was never the face I wanted to see. That is, until this.

My heart broke seeing a version of me that finally felt right. Seeing a genuine person looking back at me. A girl who finally saw themselves. No cover up up or filter, just the me I needed to see. I wanted to cry and grow my beard back. Much like Aslan shedding the scales from Eustace the pain was almost unbearable. But it hurt in a way that only beauty can. Like the sunset on the last day of the trip of a lifetime. It’s a beauty you that you feel pain because you fear you may never see it again.

The difference is this pain hurt because I was seeing it 30 years too late. I knew then that I had lost too many years to the lie that I had to fit the binary. And it hurt because I had to choose to let myself see it every day since. I had to accept I was shedding the dragon and each hair was a scale falling away. It burned but I had to let it so that I could finally be whole.

I had to become the me I was always meant to be. I had to let him die so that she could live. I had to save my life, even if it meant so much of me had to die.

But you see. I wasn’t alive. I was living a half life at best. Caught somewhere between hate and death.

I never felt at home in a male space. As my nephew said, “a womans heart”. I didn’t choose the roles I was forced to play. And this one wasn’t a choice either, but the thing is, I’m chosing to accept this one. I’m choosing to be the real me, and like it or not, this has already happened. I’m going to be the me I want, and the me I love.

And today I can promise you that although the monster is still talking, I know he’s lying. Because these are the words I’m hearing. The words I’m telling me.

I deserve to be me

I deserve to be happy

I deserve to love myself

I will be a better woman than I ever was a man. A better damn person

I am not made broken. But I am being made more whole every day

I am worthy to be loved right damn now and every day I have left

I will be the adult that I needed as a child

I am going to be a better parent now than I ever could have before

I WILL LOVE ME

And the monster will be silent.

So please friends and those who I don’t know, please understand this:

You and I are all worthy. Worthy today and everyday till the end of time.

We are all worthy of life and love.

So I’m going to love me and love others with that love I’ve been keeping away.

I love you.

Always,

-Dakota-

I’m Just A Loser

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I’ve put off writing this one because it feels too real and too personal. It’s easy to share about myself and the shit I deal with in my own mind. It’s a lot harder to share when it’s about someone I love.

You see. It’s been a really draining and rough week. I’ve grown so accustomed to being alone that when I spend a solid week in offices and with people I struggle to find space for myself. And that struggle is like a breeding ground for the monster to jump in and taunt away. It sucks because much like someone who struggles with an addiction, the addiction often creates the need for more, and the need for more creates a greater addiction. It’s the proverbial downward spiral.

The general feeling of emptiness is exacerbated by health issues that make me that much more tired. Yet again another area the monster does so well in. And with two young energetic boys being tired doesn’t work too well. Anyone with kids knows the ability they have to push when things get harder.

One of the days this week it came to a crescendo with my youngest running back into the house covered in tears. I stood there just looking at his older brother with a sense of hopelessness. I just wanted them to play kindly. But, I knew I needed to go sit with my youngest regardless of how tired I was.

In his room he was weeping and sat there next to me lamenting how much of a failure he was. He covered his face and said, “daddy, I’m just a loser”.

My heart felt shattered.

He has dealt with so many things already in his life. It’s manifested in ways that are truly heartbreaking. But out if it has grown this amazingly kind and accepting little boy. He loves people and will talk to everyone. Especially if they have a puppy.

Doing my best not to break down in front him I told him all of what I saw in him. Where he was an amazing and loving person. How he is so good at so many things. How there is nothing wrong with him. How he is perfect the way he is. And how I am proud of him. I am lucky to be his daddy. I just held him and assured him he was loved and will always be.

My son is 8. Yet he knows the desperation of feeling like a failure. He’s struggled with depression and anxiety. My plea to the universe is that the monster is never an audible voice in his heart.

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I know that I can’t stop every moment of sadness or feeling of failure in his life. I can simply keep reminding him of each obstacle I’ve seen him conquer.

I can tell him I love him. I WILL tell him every day. He will know that I love him simply because of who he is.

And my friends. This brings me to someone I’ve never loved: me.

You see. I would never let someone be as fucked up to another person as I so willingly am to myself. And I don’t recall a time I didn’t feel this way.

I was 12 when I first gave into the monsters voice . Today my wandering led me back to the spot I first tried to kill myself. I sat there and recounted the moments that brought me to that darkness. I know I would have given anything to have someone sit with me and just tell me their love was simply because I was me. That the demons and hell I’d been through didn’t define me.

That I wasn’t the sum of my scars.

That my scars meant I had survived. That I was bigger than they were. That I still had anything valuable in me.

And the truth is; 25 years later I still don’t truly believe in the value of me. I see a reflection in a mirror I wish was someone else. I see a broken heart rather than a mosaic that has a beauty all its own. And riding around other spots from my childhood I wondered if I’d ever really understand.

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Eventually I hope I’ll be able to understand that the worth I see in my son is true in me too. That I have value because I’m a human. I truly believe there is worth in every person. That every person deserves to be loved.

And some day maybe I’ll understand that means me too.

So my friends I would ask you to tell someone you love them. Tell someone they’re worth it. Simply share some goodness with each other.

Storm Shelters

There’s one thing you can just about guarantee while riding in Colorado during the summer.

We have some epic storms.

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There’s a slight thrill in getting on the bike and knowing you run a gamble of hail, major wind, flooded roads, maybe a tornado…  Hell, it’s a good time if you don’t mind the risk.  I’ve never understood the people who only ride when the weather is nice.  Where’s the thrill or that sense of adventure that makes a motorcycle such a blast?

And the last week has had some kick ass storms.

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If you ever get a chance I highly recommend riding along the Flatirons in between Golden and Boulder.  It’s an easy highway ride along 93 that can be made into a nice afternoon.  Hit any of the little shops in Boulder for lunch or maybe start the day in Golden with a nice breakfast.  You can’t go wrong and you’ll enjoy it. And if you have time head over to the Peak To Peak.

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If you’re lucky you’ll get to watch the summer storms from the comfort of your chosen place.

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If you’re slightly unlucky you might get caught in the storm And have to ride it out.

But hey.  When the storm comes you might even get luckier and have the immense privilege of having people tell you to quit being a pussy; to just shut up and ride it out; maybe that somehow honoring the humanity in each of us is a message of hate… You might even get lucky and have people flat out tell you they don’t care about whatever demons you see in life.

You see.  The truth is that this blog may not be much about motorcycles.  If you’ve come here for that: I’m sorry to disappoint you.  I’d be glad to send you plenty of riders who write impeccable stories and trip reviews.

At the end of the day, I really don’t care about motorcycles.  Not in the way that you would expect. Because of the bike I’ve been some amazing places.  But the fact is I’ve held a baby who was literally thrown away.  I saw more beauty in that child than I ever could in some machine. Even one I’ve built and bled on like mine.

“What the hell” you might say.  How could I not care about motorcycles?  This is a blog about them; it’s about the amazing places I’ve been because of the bike.

Well my friend.  It just ain’t.

The bike is just the tool I use to find something that resonates in my own soul. To seek out others who are lost in the storm as well.  And maybe through the bike and this blog I can share or allow them to share something more.  To allow them to shine a light on their own darkness and monsters.

But this week, and especially through my last post on this blog I’ve remembered why I never cared about the bike itself.  Because unfortunately much of this community would rather be the monster than provide shelter from him.

And you know what?  That’s not the people I care to associate with.  That’s a toxic poison that I don’t need or want in my life.  And it’s not one I hope to ever put in another’s life. So for those who would rather hurl insults than sit down and talk.  I’m honestly sorry for you.  Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with those who I had nothing in common with.

As for me.  I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing here.  I’m going to ride places and hopefully talk about the rides and roads that got me there.  I’m going to keep hoping that something more important will come of the rides.

I’ll take Marty at a McDonalds and Lonnie at some little cafe before I write about the Alps or the endless beauty of a coast.  I’ll keep looking for the chance to be a shelter from the storm for someone else.

Because at the end of the day a motorcycle is just a machine.  But every human deserves love.

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Better Than This

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If you ever want to see the beauty of America I recommend riding through the part of Colorado we just spent a week in.

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Cinnamon Pass, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Telluride, Silverton, Ouray….

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I mean, the list of places to see could go on forever. And without reservation I can say this is the prettiest part of Colorado I’ve ever seen.

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And if you ever want to see the darkness of America I recommend reading what seems to be the norm these days.   Innocent people dying in shootings, or worse, what the government is doing with our borders.  Tearing children from their parents, sticking people in cages, subhuman treatment, just a fucking darkness and a true crime against humanity… Truly I am ashamed of this government.(Editors note:  an executive order was signed stopping this policy after the article was written)

I’m growing weary of humanity.  It’s harder and harder to see much hope these days.

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Honestly… I’ve spent quite a bit of the last week in a rage.  A rage beset by seeing this country mirror a brutalist regime rather than anything similar to the beauty of the earth she contains within.  A rage brought by a monster that had taunts so well placed even finding joy in the journey was damned near impossible.

I was getting my ass kicked this week.  The roads were generally brutal and the monster spent the week feasting on my heart.  Feeling like I needed to be better.  A better rider, a better father, a friend, or fuck; just a better damned person.

I’ve been reeling from a loss that blurred everything because I allowed myself to look up to someone, to hope that I too could make a difference in the way they did.

This week I tried rather unsuccessfully to focus on the ride in front of me.  But honestly, the journey so many face is so much more important than what I was doing.  So much more brutal.

But I digress.

To the ride…

Well, we hit a mountain pass that saw some of the worst roads we’ve ever taken our bikes.  The pics of the road itself don’t do it justice.

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Many people were in complete bewilderment that I even dared try it, much less made it to the top.  Granted the ride down was truly exhausting on the bike and she was on her side and upside down a time or two.

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Throughout the next two days various people came up to me just having even heard about it.  It was honestly cool and I wish I could have spent more time sharing with others about this blog and the monster.

We decided after a few days that we were too exhausted to keep in the mountains so we wandered our way over to Moab, UT via a slight detour over to Mesa Verde to check out the cliff dwellings.  Because you know, Moab will be easy riding…. Right.

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Tightening things on the bike yet again…

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Just about everything had come loose over the last 500 miles.  Less than an hour later I had thrown my helmet on the ground and walked away from the bike.  I was ready to give up.  To slam onto the highway and cut the ride short by a day.

You see.  I was tired.  I hadn’t slept much in the last week.  I was exhausted from roads that were anything but easy.  I was emotionally exhausted from what felt like weeks of one loss after another.  I just didn’t want to do anything anymore but shut down.

And here is the truth of it all.

I’m a broken and fucked up person. I dance with the devil much easier than I can find rest and peace.  Most days I see a reflection in the mirror that disgusts me.   I get why so many give into the monster.  Because fuck; he’s got a point.

This world is dark.  It’s fucked.  And generally, it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope.

But you know what.  Fuck the monster.  I may someday go his direction.  But not today.  Not this week.  Because what I know is that in the last week I was a part of some things that were bigger than my own issues.

Hell, they were bigger than the mountains we crossed.

I’ve shared the hope in the darkness.  I’ve helped others shine the light on the monster in their lives.  I’ve talked with those who’ve rarely had a kind voice from “my kind of people”.

And you know what.  I’m going to keep fighting for the rights of those who don’t have someone fighting for them.  Because maybe the monster exists in my life only in my mind.  But the fucking monster might be another person in the lives of others.  That much I can fight against.  I can refuse to sit by and let the darkness spread.

I can fight for something better than this.  Because we; us; HUMANS are better than this.  We must be.

Maybe we can’t silence the monster in everyone’s lives; but we can sure as fuck refuse to be the monster in others.

We can refuse hate.

We can embrace love.  Acceptance.

We.Can.Be.Better

For Anthony

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I’ve spent the day fighting the truth of losing one of the greats. The truth that the world is a bit less bright without his voice in it.  He showed humanity on levels that most would never dare to approach.  He showed that there’s a little of everyone in us all.  That deep down we’re not really much different.  That if you really look there is beauty even, if not especially, in the dark places.

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I would give have given so much to have been able to shake his hand and thank him for episodes and stories that truly touched me.  In Gaza, in Thailand, in Argentina…. I mean truly, the man reached so many by just showing humanity wherever he went.

In the Argentina episode he talked so candidly about his struggles with depression.  He was so honest and raw about it.

I’ve hoped that if anything I ever wrote amounted to something it would be like his work.  That someone who couldn’t give a shit about motorcycles would be touched because I showed something that reached them.

In Anthony Bourdain I saw much hope because I sensed the monster was close to him too.  But in spite of that he reached and shared goodness to all. His show wasn’t about food.  It was about humanity.

It was about us.  All of us. And I truly believe the world lost one of the greats.

I don’t know how to mourn him. I cried today.  I didn’t think I even could anymore.  I didn’t think I’d ever let anything touch me like that again.  But holding back the tears was impossible because my heart was breaking.

So tomorrow I’m going to ride motorcycles with my boys in the morning.  I’m going to love them and tell the monster to fuck off for a day.  I’m going to then wander the city after I drop them off.   I’m going to find a way to honor his memory.

Probably a long motorcycle ride, a mid day beer and the company of strangers at a food truck.

Thanks for kicking ass Anthony.  May you have found the peace you brought to this world.