i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

It doesn’t matter how fast you ride your bike down a hill —

My friend and I were at the top of a steep hill on our bikes. She went first. She went down the hill with her hands raised high over her head; she didn’t touch her handlebars or her brakes.

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I wanted to ride my bike down the hill with my hands over my head like she did. But, I couldn’t. I couldn’t take my hands off of the handlebars. I kept my hands on the handlebars and the brake all the way down the hill. I don’t like to go fast. I went a few feet and then braked to slow down the bike. I went down the hill, glide, brake, glide, brake, glide, brake.

Every time I braked I looked at the side of the road enjoying the journey down the hill. Looking at the trees, the sky, and the ocean.

I am not brave. She goes down the hill the right way. Something is wrong with me. She is going down the hill the right way. Brave, fearless. Something is wrong with me. 

I felt shame.

I was embarrassed by how I rode my bike down the hill. As though something was wrong with me because I didn’t go fast.

Then I arrived at the bottom of the hill.

We were both at the bottom of the hill.

We started at the same place, and we ended at the same place …

Hey, you made it. You went down the hill. There is nothing wrong with you. You can go slowly if you want to. We both ended up at the same place. 

Brave is going down the hill when you are scared. Brave is putting one foot in front of the other foot when you want to hide in your closet, close the door and cry. Brave is drawing a picture and letting people see it. Brave is getting out of bed when you want to pull the covers over your head and stay there. For days.

Ride your bike down the hill. Fast. Slow. It is your journey.

I didn’t realize Confucius talked about the importance of not stopping until I looked for quotes on the internet about not quitting. I wonder if he rode a bike down a hill too?

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
–Confucius (551-479 BC), philosopher

Don’t compare. Be you.

And, you is good.

Great, actually.

Click here to comment. I always love to hear from you.

p.s. The photograph was taken on a biking trip with friends. The rain cleared and then we rode down the hill.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Susan W A

    Your reflections are remarkable, Pamela. Thanks for another great one.
    On the topic of bikes, my 14-year-old son and his friends have been biking a lot lately, which is great overall, but a bit nerve-wracking because although we live in a safe area, so many people drive way too fast here. It’s fun, though, to see the kids’ independence and their sense of adventure.

    Our son never liked biking as a little kid, so he actually learned how to ride a bike when he was probably 7 or 8. It was a fun and rewarding afternoon that we remember fondly, and my husband and I were happy that my son added that accomplishment, with lifelong rewards, to his skill-set.

  • http://www.wxii12.com/braving-the-worlds-longest-downhill-bike-race/40379962

    (I hope it will take the link. I found this today and thought of you. I think you’re brave to go down a hill even with brakes. I don’t like steep hills.)

    • Yikes,
      Thank you for sharing the video Eva P. Scott. That was insane. I had no choice. I had to ride my bike down to get to the campground. Well, maybe I did have a choice. I could have walked down.
      Maybe brave is going down the hill even if you are walking. Brave is not stopping.

    • Susan W A

      Interesting! Thanks.

  • myowncalcuttablog.com

    Great photos and great message. I LOVE your blog. Keep encouraging all of us.
    When my daughters were young, my Dad used to take them to ride their bikes down an appropriately named steep hill, Suicide Hill. I couldn’t ride down that hill but my girls loved it!

    • Hi Rita,
      Oh my. I wouldn’t ride my bike down that hill either. Thank you for your kind encouragement.
      Sending you hugs.

  • Pat Meyers

    Great message. Really great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Pat,
      You are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Hope all is well with you.

  • OkieWriter

    You go Girlfriend!! You go down that hill any way you want to even if it is yelling and screaming and grasping the handlebars the whole way and be dang proud of it — just so you enjoy it, that is the important thing.

    • Hello OkieWriter,
      Thank you for the encouragement. And, the reminder to enjoy the journey.
      I hope your journey is full of joy and adventure.

  • MaryAnne Wassem

    Hey Pamela, I loved the picture of the bikes parked in the rain. Living in Southern California, most people would never bike, let alone drive their cars in the rain.
    I’m sending you mega sun beams…. thanks! 🙂

    • Hello MaryAnne Wassem,
      It was a hard rain too. We biked after it stopped raining.
      Thank you for the mega sun beams. Would you like to send you rain?

  • EmFairley

    Thanks Pamela! I’m midway through what I hope will be the final edit of the manuscript I edited before my vacation earlier this year. I’m hopeful that this one will be the last. But at the same time that brings with it a lot more work. I’m hoping to get everything done by the same deadline, but this reminds me and reassures me that it’s ok if I don’t manage that, so long as the edit is finished.

    Hugs my sweet friend,
    Em xoxox

    • Hi EmFairley,
      How is your edit coming? As long as we don’t quit right?
      Hugs to you too.

      • EmFairley

        Hi Pamela! As of today 16 of 30 chapters are complete. The finished manuscript should be around 67,000 words by the time everything is done. Over 32,000 confirmed now with 27,000 already in the remaining chapters. Eeek! 🙂

  • jane williams

    You fly down the hill with your words. I glide, brake, glide, brake. I wish I were simple and true like you… but we both end up in the same place: putting heart on paper, journeying in words… “gliding” one word after another. Thank you for the fresh breath of profound decked out in “simple,” sweet, and touchable.

    • Hello jane williams, so nice to see you this morning,
      I never thought about comparing writing to a bike going down a hill. Your analogy is wonderful, the bottom of the hill is the same as putting heart on paper. You are very welcome. Thank you for your kind words.
      Sending you hugs and a sunbeam to nap in.

    • Susan W A

      lovely sentiments, jane williams, ending with a very cool sentence, “Thank you for the fresh breath of profound decked out in “simple,” sweet, and touchable.” I think that PERFECTLY sums up Pamela’s gift of heart on paper. Nice job, and nice reflection on your own work.

      • jane williams

        … just the truth. 🙂

  • Melody Potter

    Thank Pamela, this is exactly what I needed today. You must be reading my mind.

    • Hello Melody,
      I hope today you find joy and sunshine, and that you always find what you need when you need it. I wish I could read minds. I just share my heart and hope the message is received.

  • La McCoy

    IT would be nice to ride down the hill on a bike.

    • Hello La,
      Maybe one day we can go bike riding together. Hello to Edelweiss.

      • La McCoy

        Sounds fun Pamela. I have reached the motorized section of bicycle life. Edel says “hi” to you and yours.

  • Amy Allan

    A nice read on a day when I am struggling not to crawl back in the bed! You have such grew perspective. I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Amy Allen,
      I hope you find a sunbeam today to sit in, and that you find joy. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Maybe if beds weren’t so comfortable it would be easier to get out of them.