CW: Mental Health Issues
There's an old adage that is spoken in the Malinchock family when we go skiing, never ever, EVER mention that it's the last run of the day. When someone says this is the last run bad things are bound to happen, as that's when you let your guard down and you are sure to make mistakes. This thought has been bouncing through my head all day and the fear of disaster on the last day was enough for Brian and I to make the phrase "keep it tight," coined by Ed Billings, one of the most spoken of the day. We kept this in mind all day but it was hard to make it a main focus as my mind was already preoccupied.
Today was the last real day of biking, the last real night of camping, the last real day of the bike trip. My gut kind of tosses and turns thinking about what that might mean to me, but my brain can't really comprehend its magnitude to myself. This trip was a watershed moment for myself and my personal mental and physical growth. This trip was an amalgamation of years of self improvement and change.
For as long as I could remember I was a very large kid, clocking in at over 250lbs for what felt like the majority of my life. I grew up watching friends, family, and leaders alike do amazing feats like massive hiking trips and the crown jewel of them all, biking across America. Because of my physical condition I also grew up being told by multiple leaders and scouting cohort that I would NEVER be able to do a bike trip in a million years, and that my physical shape was going to last forever. This lit a fire under my butt as in my junior and senior year of highschool I managed to lose over 100 lbs in less than a year to prepare JUST for a bike trip. I did this all healthily by bicycling every single day and eating well, this developed a new set of passions for me as I began to take up cycling as a love and not just a way to lose weight. Flash forward to today and I cannot stop thinking about biking of any sorts and it is what I have been doing on semi professional/collegiate levels for the past year or so.
This did not come without consequences, as losing mass amounts of weight can really mess with your mind. My mind couldn't (and still hasn't to be fair) caught up with my new body and I now suffer from severe body dysmorphia. Whenever I picture my current self, or even see a reflection/image of myself it challenges me and I can't separate the past Evan and the current one. Coupled with me being Bi-Polar depressive my poor mental health has been a massive factor in my life. But the trip was the one thing that kept me going towards what I wanted to be.
Though the day was exceptional in all forms, starting at a massive filling breakfast of sticky buns at an antique shop and ending on one of the most beautiful ocean front campgrounds, I was still anxious all day. This trip felt like the capstone to my past 20 years of life and it was coming to an end. It was the sole factor in me changing every notion I had about myself and developing a brand new passion that I almost center my life around. I cannot be more thankful for Brian and Wes right now as they helped make my dreams and desires a reality by spearheading this trip.
While I sit here at camp overlooking a strait between the island and mainland Maine, I finally feel some solace and comfort in myself. An overwhelming peace that has never been there until this point in my life. This trip has given me every reason to love myself again and love the life that I am, and going to live. It is everything to me and it will hold more power than anyone can comprehend. So when I dip tires tomorrow don't be surprised if I shed a few tears, but in my opinion they are more than well deserved.
I gave up what feels like everything to do this bike trip, it was the straw that broke the camel's back in a long term relationship, it took the chance to say goodbye to my dog for the last time away from me, and it stole a summer from me and my friends as I would have no time to share a "normal" summer break with them. But through all of this I would give up even more for the experience that I have lived on the road. For once in my life I feel at peace and that's something that is worth fighting for no matter the personal cost.
Here's to the last 13 miles and the peace I find in the days to come for this trip. Thank you everyone.