Lance Armstrong lied. A lot. To everyone. His own Mam, His children. The public. His employers. For years. Thousands upon thousands of untruths.
I don’t care.
And I don’t mean I am uninterested. I’m not. Far from it. I mean that I don’t care. Not because I encourage massive amounts of deceit as part of a healthy-balanced lifestyle. But because the man is my hero. Always will be.
I remember reading “It’s not about the Bike” when I was first able to use my hands , lift my head off my chin and sit slightly upright. I don’t have words to tell you what it felt like. To feel the power and determination leaping off the page. To be that mentally and physically worn down and desperate-and to feel like he was talking right at me. To then be able to see this man, on this bike. Alive, well, thriving. Hope and health personified. Words don’t do it justice. It certainly got me through some horrendous moments. The times where there was no reassuring myself. When all was hurt and pain and loss. Where the present was unbearable, the past was too painful to look back on-and any future seemed terribly unlikely at all.
Oprah had 112 questions she prepared for Lance. I’ve been preparing mine for years. There’s so much I want to know; like how the hell did he ever learn to trust his body again after it took him to the very edge and made him peer into the precipice? How can he love so fearlessly in relationships and be able to lean on another person like that? Bring children into a world he knows has every chance of letting them experience the pain he has suffered physically? How did he managed to cultivate such a sense of unshakable certainty in all aspects of his life? Does it come naturally to him? Does he have to work it like a muscle? Is it part of his training-as vital as the physical components?
I find it remarkable a body that has suffered as much as Lance Armstrong’s can do any of the things he has been able to do physically over the years. But not as remarkable as I find it that he can get up, leave the house everyday, go to work and not be completely paralysed by fear. That he doesn’t live his What if’s on a constant loop. Doesn’t continually scan his body for signs of illness returning. That he really is future focussed and is so free of the past that he can inspire thousands of people with his story by telling it continuously, without having to relive it every time he does so.
How did he do it? And then consistently keep doing it? What kind of strength must that take? I find it astonishing. That the fear does not come to haunt him in the night. That he is able to live his life 100% free of vulnerability. Because that’s what he did. Pushed his body in ways we are really just coming to discover. All in total trust that he could handle it. Without ending up peering into the abyss again. Without being plunged back into the darkness. Into that nameless, formless terror. That defies description, but is felt all too well.
Lance can give back his sponsorship money, his titles, his many accolades. But he will never be asked to erase the hope he has given to so many of us. Nobody knows why some people recover from illness and some do not. We are no closer to understanding why this is. And to hide Lance Armstrong away. To try to erase the memory of who he is, and what he has achieved. It just makes the journey to our finding out how and why some do recover so spectacularly, all the longer. And that scares me. I’d like to know so much more about the way Lance Armstrong’s mind works. What he tells himself. What his inner-story is about his own body. What he does to reassure himself. I want to know it all. Because I think Lance Armstrong is a genius at wellness. And no one will ever be able to take that away from him.
Just like nothing will ever take away what his work has done, and continues to do for me to this day. And the rest of the story? The scandal? The untruths?
I won’t ever care.