So this is my brand new page. I know, I’ve had a few over the years. Some I just outgrew. Some started out as a good dream that never materialized. Some I started with the wrong intentions. This latest restart is due to the fact that I picked a really crappy hosting partner and now my website is broken and no one seems to know how to fix it and I just gave up fighting it. Sometimes you have to know when to give up. I need to write. I need to blog.

But maybe out of that defeating obstacle something good has come. Because I had the idea for this blog.

You might be thinking “Don’t Pull the Clutch”. That’s a funny saying.

It’s born out of trials. When I was learning, I had no idea what a clutch was. I quickly learned it stops power from being transferred from the engine to the wheel. Simple right? And if you’re going to fast on the flat ground, or there’s something scary, you simply pull the clutch. No power, no more scary. Simple.

But as I started progressing and learning how to ride bigger and more complicated stuff, I learned that the principle of “when you get scared, pull the clutch”, actually becomes a pretty dangerous proposition.

Learning to ride we had rules. And rule #2 was “Don’t pull the clutch”. As in, when you’re going over a big, scary obstacle or going up (or down) a hill, don’t pull the clutch because you’re scared. Because that’s what I would do. Going up a rock or a log that scared me, I would pull the clutch. Not on purpose, just an instinctual reaction my body had to the fear. Only instead of making me safe, it made me crash. A lot. And really badly sometimes. More than if I just would have screwed up my courage and bowled my way through it. I can’t tell you how many times he would ask “What’s rule #2?” and I would dutifully repeat it, knowing that I had pulled my clutch again.

Eventually the rule started applying not only to trials, but to my life. Don’t pull the clutch. Don’t let fear make you crash. I actually have the rule tattooed on my back.

11224877_10153086420943541_4499421554985764191_n

Because I let fear stop me a lot. Fear. Anxiety. Depression. I tell myself I can’t do something. I procrastinate because it can be hard to do something unknown for the first time. It can be overwhelming for me to tackle something. I even face panic attacks just trying to ask someone a question, or ask them for help. Picking up a telephone and trying to talk to someone, especially someone I don’t know, can paralyze me for hours until I finally force myself to do it. Sometimes I’m perfectly fine and have no problems being spontaneous and bold and just doing things. But other times I’m so riddled with the fear and anxiety and insecurity I just want to curl up in a little ball and hide, or run screaming in the other direction as far away as I can.

So it seemed fitting that I made this the title of the site. Because I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my life. Wrong roads I’ve taken. Mistakes I’ve made. Times I’ve fallen. A lot of times I’ve pulled my clutch. And after all the attempts I’ve taken I could just say, you know what, maybe this blogging thing isn’t for me and just give up and do nothing with my life.

But I don’t really want that. I love riding motorcycles. I love the mountains and horses and being outdoors. I love exploring, and finding new things. I love learning and growing and pushing myself. And I really love writing about all of it.

My favorite quote, the one I try to live by, is by Hunter S. Thompson.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

It’s easy to let fear stop us. To give up. To stop trying. It’s easy to believe you’ve burned too many bridges or used up your allotment of chances. Like Icarus, you’re had your time in the sun and you crashed and burned. Your wings won’t take you up again.

But really, we are all constantly evolving in our lives. Trying things. Failing. Trying again. Finding new passions. Falling out of love with old ones. Finding new hobbies. Getting rid of bad habits. Picking up new ones. Getting rid of them again. Stripping away the things you were told to believe to what you want to actually believe. Challenging obstacles. Challenging your own opinions and ideas. Changing them. Fighting for them. Losing friends. Finding them.

We don’t run out of chances. We just give up. We allow other people to tell us we’re wrong. We tell ourselves we’re wrong to keep trying. We don’t try to fix our wings.

Sometimes things don’t work and you adapt. You change it up. Or decide that really wasn’t what you wanted to do. Or not how you wanted to approach something. Sometimes you tried something before you were ready. Or tried to do it using someone else’s style and it just crashed because it wasn’t real to you. Sometimes you get caught up in things that you don’t understand. Try to attempt things to make other people happy and get overwhelmed.

I’ve fallen a lot in trials. A lot. Into trees, into rocks, into rivers. Down hills, up hills, off of hills. I have scars on my arms, my legs. I’ve been burned, scratched, bruised and had a visit to the emergency room for my knee. I’ve crashed so much I actually learned how to crash well (or at least better). How to protect myself. See the crash coming so that I could  maybe negate the bad damage. Learn how to fall correctly so that I didn’t hurt myself as much. Learn how to not put myself into super dangerous situations.

But as I get better at riding, I stop crashing. So I gauge how much I’m pushing myself to try new things by how much I crash in a day. If I’m not crashing, I’m not pushing myself. I’m not trying new things.

So crashing, even though it’s still a bad thing, is actually good. Because it means I’m trying. I’m not scared to push myself, even if it means I might get hurt.

And I guess that’s really the focus I want to have in my life. That I can say I never stopped trying. That I didn’t let the fear pull my clutch.