The only response to adversity or misunderstanding is to be more completely who we are. – Mark Nepo
Being who you truly are, moment to moment, is harder than anything else you may ever try. Partly, it’s because you are constantly evolving, pulled in so many directions at once that you can’t stop long enough to consider who you are – at your core – at this time in your life.
I’ve been ruminating about the past few years of this crazy whirlwind that is international competition. It was up to the Selection Committee to decide if I’d done enough, shown enough improvement, was committed enough to make the next cut for the Invitational in July, the precursor to WEG selection. I met all the requirements but, in the end, the committee for para-dressage could choose whomever they thought had the best chance at the podium. That was, ultimately, the only requirement, and they chose others. All I can do now is be who I am, without that invitation.
So, who am I? Well, in this sphere, I’m someone who holds nothing back when striving for a goal. I physically worked as hard as I could, I turned down no chance to learn, and I cared for the mental and physical health of my horse. I spared no expense, in time or money, to vie for an invitation but I was not alone. You’d be amazed at the incredible athletes in this sport.
Everyone eventually falls short of goals but only if you don’t do everything – everything – possible to attain them is when you fail. Trying is never failing. It is in trying that we learn anew. Paras know this better than most. We are constantly in search of how to accomplish goals as big and small as putting on gloves, driving a car, raising a child, all while physically handicapped. But we find our way because we have little choice than to be who we are.
Of course, I wish that my horse wasn’t colicky in Tryon or spooky in Wellington. But those aren’t regrets; that’s life with horses. I did everything – everything – in my power and left it all in the arena, so I will not entertain regrets when they try to sneak into my subconscious in the quiet of the night. I will remember who I am and sleep soundly, knowing I gave it my all.
So, who am I? I’m a disabled athlete focused on moving up the able-bodied dressage levels. The last time I dedicated myself to that sphere was in 2016 when I placed 3rd in the nation at First Level Adult Amateur and was Vintage Cup Champion (over 50 years old). I’ve learned a lot since then, hopefully enough to be competitive along the way. I hope you’ll still follow my blog as I pick myself up (not literally!), dust myself off, and start all over again. Japan is 2 years away. Plenty of time to rock the boards till then!