Be Yourself

“Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket
Save them for a time when you’re really gonna need them…”

About a month ago, I was sitting at a table in the bar area of a restaurant sharing an appetizer of Avocado Egg Rolls with my boyfriend when my phone vibrated. It was a familiar area code but a number I did not recognize. The message asked me what happened, that a mutual friend had passed in his sleep the night before. Before I could respond, I received another message, this time a tweet from a motocrosser, and I knew something bad happened.

Yesterday, I attended the memorial service for him, driving more than 175 miles each way just to sit for an hour in a church next to a few friends and rows behind the family who I did not know. Something told me I needed to go and pay my respects, just like I did years ago when a fellow FTR member collapsed after he finished a dirt bike race and died. My Pops and I drove down to the funeral on a rainy morning and stood surrounded by dozens of motorcyclists to celebrate the life of someone who shared our passion for life. And, as I looked around yesterday to who made an appearance, there were a few faces that I thought for sure would show up who did not, and I was glad that I could be there for my friend, because that’s what he would want me to do: be myself.

Years ago, when we spoke regularly, he used to tell me, “Just be yourself,” when I would complain how nervous I was about a race or an upcoming interview with James Stewart – page 2, page 3.

At the service, his fiance stood to speak about the man to whom she was supposed to live happily ever after, she reminded us that he was one in a billion – “not one in a million because that would mean there were thousands like him,” – and I forced a smile beneath my tears. She was right. Rather than focusing on his death, I reminded myself to focus on his life because he taught me to be myself at a time when I was still trying to figure out who that was.

“If you can be absolutely comfortable with not knowing who you are, then what’s left is who you are—the being behind the human. A field of pure potentiality rather than something that is already defined. Give up defining yourself—to yourself and to others. You won’t die—you’ll come to life.” – Ekhart Tolle


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