Tuesday 12 June 2012

The I.O.U.

I guess you could tell some people until you are blue in the face that they deserve something and they will still feel they don't. I'm ashamed to say I'm one of those people regarding the incredible honour of carrying the Olympic Flame.

But for good reason.

I think people could give you a million compliments about why you deserve to do something, but at the end of the day, you will always have the most honest relationship with yourself. You'll know when you feel you have done your personal best and when you've just done something which seems impressive. For me, my personal best is something which I don't think I have achieved when it comes to raising Epilepsy awareness. Sure I've had to push myself and go through quite a bit of pain previously. But, if I look at myself and what I want and feel I am able to do, I still feel I haven't done it yet.

I don't fully believe in my heart of hearts that I can honestly stand by the statement that, if someone with Epilepsy can cycle across America in a week and a half, why can't people with Epilepsy have a desk job? I say that because I didn't cycle the Race Across America Solo.

I don't know how to even start to repay properly, the work of amazing professionals that looked after me so well as a child and as an adult, to get me to a point where my Epilepsy is controlled.

So as a result being given the honour of carrying the Olympic Flame, feels like an I.O.U. It's not payable to LOCOG, or even Coca-Cola who I was nominated through, it's not binding legally, but personally, emotionally, it is binding for myself.

I'm starting to get a picture of how to repay it though. Some parts will be easier than others, but I think if I can push myself to my true personal best, then I'll feel like a debt is paid and can maybe take the compliments more easily.

The first part of the I.O.U. is easy and I have mentioned a few times before. I'm not ashamed of my Epilepsy, or that I have to take medication to control it, so I'll wear my purple medical band when I carry the Olympic Flame to show I'm proud to be part of an inspiring community of people who also have Epilepsy.

The second part, is the only thing I can think of to say thank-you to the hospital, where I had the surgery that literally changed my life and where I could go with it. So I am planning on taking my Olympic Torch back to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, to let the kids in Ward 7 take as many photos as they like with it and let them know that they couldn't be in a better place. I also want to make sure the staff know just how grateful I am for about half a decade of incredible care.

The third and final part of my I.O.U. will certainly be the physically toughest thing I will probably ever do in my life. But I think it's achievable and if I do achieve it, then in my heart of hearts I know I will have done the absolute best that I could have done. I don't want to feel like I could have trained harder, pushed myself more, or didn't take the leap of even attempting the RAAM Solo, even though there is a burden of the financial backing it takes to do it, following you every pedal stroke you take in the race.

For me the press is an easy part of the whole project, but an important one. Awareness is hugely valuable when it comes to Epilepsy and so I would never say no to talking about my condition. But as they say, talk is cheap and I want to feel I can genuinely back it up, because there is a perception about the physical ability of people with Epilepsy I want to try and blow apart.
The RAAM Solo clearly demonstrates that.

So there you have it, that's why I don't feel I'm 100% deserving of what I will do on the 26th of July.

But it doesn't mean to say that I can't repay the people who have identified potential in me to stand by my values and ongoing work.

I suppose at the end of the day if I didn't feel that then I wouldn't have started this blog and they'd be no rubbish banter and attempts at generally pants, vaguely philosophical statements, from the so called Epileptic Ultra Cyclist!

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