Today is the anniversary of the day I quit booze. Six years ago I decided if I was going to survive I needed to stop drinking. The last six years have been a ridiculous adventure, a rollercoaster of emotion & pretty much totally fucking fantastic. Last year I threw myself a pool party to celebrate my sobriety. This year I wrote a zine. If you want a copy, just go order something from my etsy shop & I'll include it for free. If you just want this zine, it's available on a sliding scale, pay what you can via paypal to email@example.com.
Monday is my day off. It's the day I have all to myself. My boyfriend is working, my friends are usually working, my niece is at school. It's all me, all day. This Monday I decided I wanted to do my longest solo ride ever, which really wouldn't be that long. I had never even ridden twenty miles alone. Actually, my longest ride EVER was only 30.1 miles (with my boyfriend on April 17th, the 19th anniversary of my stepdad passing away - I weird yet fitting way to remember him). Anyway, yesterday... I had been thinking of riding the Perkiomen Trail because it would be something "new" yet a trail I'm familiar with since I've ridden it a couple times but not often. From one end to the other is 20 miles. I decided I was going to ride the entire thing. 40 miles. I packed a bag of almonds, two water bottles, a packet of energy goo & my courage & hit the road.
I was so psyched to ride. I got my bike out, adjusted my lights, checked my tire pressure & after using the port-a-potty, tucked one earbud in my ear so I could listen to Beyonce but still be able to hear other folks on the trail & started peddling. Five minutes into the ride, as I climbed out of the parking lot & onto the road I realized, I was way in over my head but the stoke was SO HIGH so I just peddled & peddled but kept it sorta mellow so I didn't burn out too fast. As a new cyclist (I just got my bike last May, thanks Fitness Central). I am always learning. Every ride is new & a challenge & a triumph. I actually got that first 20 miles done in a relatively respectable time. I sat down in the grass with my energy goo (a plant-based endurance gel by Vega which actually, is pretty gross) & almonds. I sat & marveled at what I had done & panicked over how I had to do it all over again. I didn't hang for too long because it was hot & people kept stopping to ask if I was ok. I knew there was a Wawa back a few miles & I wanted fruit so I got on my bike & rode another 6.5 miles. I got my fruit, texted some friends & chilled out. Not a single person asked if I was ok.
The rest of my ride was pretty intense. I couldn't get my handlebar grips in a position that didn't hurt my wrists/palms. My period started halfway into my ride. My legs ached. But I kept on & it wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be. I took it slow. I stopped a few times. I took photos of the water & the rocks & my stupid exhausted face. By the time I got back to my car I was in tears. But not because I was in pain but because I had decided to try something that seemed impossible & I did it. At that moment I literally felt like I could do anything. My sobriety makes me an emotional mess but also so appreciative of everything. I am so lucky to be alive & present & able to achieve these goals. Life is cool.
ps: I am doing my first charity ride in September. I would love for you to sponsor me.
Chicago Zine Fest is by far, one of the best zine fests happening in the US. This was my forth year tabling & I was extra psyched because it was my boyfriend's first year tabling as a zine maker! Brian made a BMX zine called RIP ROAST SHRED GNAR! I was also more nervous than ever because I was invited to be a reader Friday night & I knew the crowd would be the largest I read in front of & that had me sorta freaking out ("sorta" as in TOTALLY). Anyway, we left early Thursday morning and headed straight to Chicago Diner for dinner with Brian's best friend Pawel when we arrived (it took us about twelve hours because I stop to pee, crush pennies & get espresso like every five minutes). Anyway, Chicago Diner is this incredible vegan restaurant that's been around since the 80s (with two locations) & makes the best milkshakes ever. EVER. (We literally went there 3 times & drank 9 milkshakes between the two of us). BEST MILKSHAKES EVER.
Friday morning we woke up at Pawel's house on two mattresses pushed together on the floor, refreshed & ready for brunch at Handlebar with my friends Eryca & Amy who I adore so much. I've known both for SO LONG (I can't even pinpoint how long, but for sure since the days of the Pander message board). It bums me out that I only get to see them once a year but at least CZF gives us that once a year to hang out! After brunch we walked to Quimby's, a bookstore that "specializes in zines, small press & other unusual publications"! It was so rad to walk into the store & see my book, Heavy Hangs the Head on display so predominantly. I bought a few zines (yes, the day before zine fest) & we took photo booth pictures before parting ways so I could make some last minute zine copies & go ride bikes at Wilson Skatepark down at Lake Michigan (where I also rode my bike down to the beach).
After riding we headed to the zine panel & discussion for CZF which was happening directly before the zine reading I was taking part in. It was awesome & smart & the crowd seemed super receptive. I'm always incredibly impressed by the activities planned around the actual tabling, where there is this feeling that zines are more than just something we make alone in our rooms & then attempt to sell while hiding behind a table. I think that's really important. The readings have always been probably my favorite part of the zine fest (especially the youth readings)! I was thrilled to be invited to take part this year but had no idea what I would actually read. Eventually I decided on something called "Getting Sober & Staying Sober" where I talked about what it was like kicking booze & living the best life I can live. It was heavy shit & maybe a bit much but I tried to get across that getting sober is actually pretty awesome. All the other readings were incredible. I was brought to tears by Marnie Galloway, the final reader of the evening and made sure to buy her book the next day. We ended the night with more milkshakes & a lovely dinner with my good friend Dalice & a table full of BMXERS.
Saturday was tabling! I had thought I got Brian & I each our own half table, I was very wrong. We split a half table next to Jonas & Penny who were splitting the other half of the table (with my fav, Dave Roche sitting on the other side of the corner) making for a very tight squeeze behind the table. But it was really awesome spending the day hanging out with my friends & I got to see lots of my Chicago zine friends. I got a bunch of rad zines & even some comics but really, I totally missed a lot of my friends who didn't make it out this year. But you can't be too bummed when you're surrounded by a room full of zine makers. The day came to an end. We packed up, said our goodbyes & were on our way.
Our final night in Chicago we spent out in the suburbs with Brian's Grandma Marilyn who is such a joy & whose house number is 666! The next morning we said our goodbyes & then made a quick stop at Let's Roast Cycles so Brian could see his friends & I could hang out with the shop dogs before ordering more milkshakes from Chicago Diner for the drive home. I did most of the driving because Brian did all of the city driving (bless his sweet, brave heart) which I am always really impressed by, how much driving I can actually do. All in all, a killer road trip alongside the best dude.
That final photo is what happens when I wash my hair with a tiny bottle of hotel shampoo, not brush it & then go to bed with it wet. I like to call it my "Natasha Lyonne before she got her shit together" look.