I am actually tired of writing about this, but one purpose my blog serves is to be a place where I can work on issues like this one, and I clearly need to work on this. I know that my feelings of failure often keep me from succeeding, or at least feeling successful. Especially when it comes to Sydney.
I get so much support from family and friends; they all think I have accomplished a great deal. I wish I knew to what they were comparing me. Compared to a non-rider, yeah, I guess I am successful; I show, I go to clinics, and I get ribbons. Compared to other active competitors, we don’t stack up too well.
So what do I do? The range from successful to total suckiness is vast. Hilda Gurney and Steffen Peters are successful. How can I say I am successful without qualifying the statement with a million buts? Do I say, I am successful as an adult ammie in the lowest levels of my sport when the classes are really small? Well, whoop-de-do.
How is success defined in dressage? Secretly, I do feel successful, but not in the way it counts. Or, at least not in the ways I want it to count. I want to win classes; I want to move up a level each year; I want someone to say, wow, she has a great seat. But none of that is happening. Hence, I am an under-achieving, over-achiever.
My list of secret successes is pretty small and not always dressage related:
I haul my horses and myself to any show that I want to with confidence and without needing to follow someone else’s plan. This is not dressage specific, of course, since I’ve been doing that for more than a decade, but it’s still something I feel good about.
I moved from a detail-oriented sport where success was based on completion time and for many, longevity, to a sport that requires a completely different level of attention to detail and the perfection of movements. This success, however, is tempered by the degree to which I’ve done the latter.
I guess that I should also include the fact that I am (probably) ready to start showing at First Level. When I first started showing Introductory Level in the summer of 2010, I would have been in absolute Heaven to be attempting First Level so I know that must count as a success.
I know you must be waiting for some big punch line: wah, wah, but here’s my epiphany type of thing. Sorry. I am still searching and waiting for the epiphany. Why can't I feel satisfied by the small steps that I am taking? How can I care just a little bit less? How do I stop feeling embarrassed by how far I have to go?
And buried within that idea is probably the very answer I need.