If there’s one thing I have a hard time answering it’s, “How come you can’t ride a bike?”
My throat always tightens, but I always answer “I just never learned.”
“My parents never let me out of the house after I was sexually abused by a neighbor,” is not what people want to hear. It’s jarring even on paper. The truth is I never got to learn even though I had a bike growing up, and I never thought I’d tell anyone in this way.
Living in Belgium nearly three years now I realize owning a bicycle is as common as owning as owning a refrigerator. So I bought a bicycle over a month ago, and never touched it. Until today.
Then there’s the one thing I can talk about all day and night with a permanent smile plastered on my face, and that’s my little Noah. Today, with Noah, my husband Davy and I achieved two “firsts” together as a family. My first bicycle lesson and Noah’s first haircut at home. If you remember Noah’s first haircut at a kiddie salon, then you remember this…
Two months have passed and this morning out of the blue Davy wanted to “trim” Noah’s hair “just above his ears,” and I said okay let’s do it. We thought it would be really easy and quick, and it was not easy and took forever because we were so scared with the scissors. Looking back we should have Googled the process or at least asked some of you on Twitter or Facebook, but we didn’t and now Noah is a hot mess all because of his horribly unprepared parents.
I’m pretty sure it was my guilt over making Noah so miserable that pushed me to get my new bicycle out of the garage and finally take the plunge. No more repressed fears and excuses about learning to ride a bicycle, and more fighting my repressed guilt and ghosts of my sexual abuse. After Noah was born and I became a parent I gradually, and for the first time in my adult life, let myself accept what happened to me so many years ago and it makes sense that riding a stupid bicycle should come next.
So Noah and Davy, and my in-laws together, they all got to watch me and help me get on a bicycle for the first time since I was 7.
I struggled and sweat wearing all-black like an idiot under the hot summer sun, but I didn’t stop for at least an hour. At the end of the hour I was on a good streak, but then I lost my balance and literally fell off the seat and vagina-first onto the crossbar of the bike. I felt like I’d been kicked in the vagina, which happened to me once of course, and I saw stars before my teary eyes.
Hours later my vagina is very sore, and more bruised than my ego because my ego is feeling pretty fine in so many ways.
It’s been a pretty big Sunday.