January 28, 2013

When It Comes To Love: I Dated Lance Armstrong. ~ Ronna Holtz

This Lance Armstrong thing has really got my panties in a bunch.

There are very few things that you don’t want to mess with me on: my family, my friends and my Agent Provocateur. What has this got to do with love, you ask?

Nothing. Unless you’ve ever been lied to.

Nada. Unless you’ve ever been deceived.

Zero. Unless you’ve ever defended someone who you believed in.

Did I date the actual Lance? No. But it is my belief that at some point we all have. I cannot possibly be the only person who has defended someone they love, and ate crow. (Lance pun intended.)

Lance was my hero. His lack of integrity disappoints. How many times has that happened in love? He lusted after that jersey like a dope fiend lusts after a fix. He was willing to lie and cheat for it. Picking up what I’m putting down? I’m not here to judge him. How many of us have had a white lie hit a snowball effect? I’m sure more than seven of you. I am no longer defending what he did. It’s done.

I know it’s silly, but I feel like my stride was broken after I saw his interview.

I was let down. I defended Lance when my friends on the circuit said he had doped, that there was proof, that it will come out. Bullshit. Not Lance. Hell, I even wore a “Defend Lance” t-shirt. Why? Like I’ve ever met the guy? Yeah we’ve spent hours on the phone planning a jog around Austin after coffee and shit. I’m so sure. Why? Because. I wanted to believe he was my hero. I wanted to believe that he was honest. That he was different. He left me feeling like a little girl at the circus holding a stupid flippin’ balloon, thinking all the elephants went to frolic in a meadow after the big top got taken down. (That doesn’t happen, by the way.)

Yes, I felt stupid. But I’m not going to give up cycling. I didn’t use to be a picture of health. I drank whiskey and smoked Luckies. I was a teenager. I pulled it off. When I first heard Lance’s story I was amazed by what he came back from. When I bought a bike after not riding for ten years, I set a seemingly impossible goal of riding 600 miles in a week the following summer. He was my inspiration.

I figured that if he could do what he did, I could certainly try anything. His “victory” was my inspiration. His downfall was unexpected. His behavior was human.

We’ve all been let down at one time or another by men and women alike.

I still ride that damn bike. I still take care of myself, and I still love. Imagine if we all gave up on love? You’ve read my column—who would blame me? But I won’t give up. That’s human as well, I suppose.

The first boy I loved and defended? He made me feel like that hopeful little girl, wanting to frolic with a fucking elephant. It was the first time my heart got crushed, the first time I was lied to and the first time I had to brush off the dirt and get over it.

I was 16 and he lived an hour away from me. (When you’re 16, that seems like crossing the sound barrier.) One afternoon I took a little road trip with my friend Michele and her dad. He had to see a business partner. Turns out the partner lived in the town next to my boyfriend’s, and the business partner’s daughter was also 16. Long story short, the girl knew my boyfriend well. How well, you ask? He was her best friend’s boyfriend too. I know. Insane right? You can imagine the shocker Terri (with an “i”) just clobbered my poor little never-been-jaded, still-a-sort-of-shade-of-pink heart with.

So there I was defending my boyfriend to the bitter end. What else do you do? He wouldn’t do that! I was just at his prom. He comes to see me every weekend. He brought me roses. I’m really cute and he totally loves me! She let me go on and on about his awesomeness for a bit and then Terri-with-an-i popped in a video of her 16th birthday party. (Not to date myself, but this was before social media, and not everyone had home movies of cheating 16-year-olds.) There he was… bigger than life, with “her.” Her name was Laura, and he was being very boyfriend-y. Seriously—you can’t make this shit up. Needless to say, I have never had a close friend named Laura.

That guy kicked my teenage heart, and I kicked back. Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t pick up Terri-with-an-i’s phone and call him. I don’t think he will ever forget that call. I had a sharp tongue even then. I never did “get back at him” in that high school kind of way. We went to different schools it would have been pointless. I did, however, accept a date from a very famous rock star shortly thereafter—very teenage girl of me. Guess it all works out the way it works out.

That guy was my very first lesson in defense. Let’s hope Lance is the last guy I ever wrongly defend.

*Speaking of when it comes to love- when all the political dust settles, remember what matters. Whatever your thoughts please remember that Lance is not Livestrong. It is an organization. There are still children who need our help for they still need heroes.

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Lingerie: viciousbetty.tumblr.com via Roxie on Pinterest. Girl with Balloons: http://m.pinterest.com/pin/100557004149903756/. Pain Quote: http://pinterest.com/pin/109704940894008489/.

Ed: Anne Clendening
Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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