Be An Inspiration
After posting about my recent XC lesson and sharing all of the great pics that Jenn took, I got a really lovely Facebook message from an acquaintance that I had met at a clinic a few years ago. What she said was so touching, I started to cry right there at my desk:
"not to be cheesy but... you and your pony are real inspirations. it's very cool to see you moving up and getting braver and better. too often the emphasis (in terms of role models) is on professionals competing in international competitions at a level that just isn't realistic for most people, and that can be disheartening. so it's really important for riders (and just people in general) to have people like you to look up to who show that everyday dedication and positivity can cause a real and spectacular change! congratulations on everything you've already achieved, and i can't wait to see what's next for you guys!"
Cue the waterworks.
No matter what your passion is, it is SO HARD to feel like what we do is significant or makes a difference to anyone. Especially in the age of social media when we are constantly presented with the successes of others, our small victories never seem like enough. We are "just" adult amateurs. "Just" trying to get around Beginner Novice. "Just" working hard at a job you like, but doesn't pay very well and isn't glamorous. It's easy to feel like trying, really going after your dreams, isn't even worth it because you'll never be as good as the people at the top. And who cares, anyway? Often it seems that the struggles and triumphs of your life are insignificant to everyone but you.
Despite all this, I keep riding and I keep writing because I can't NOT do those things. I think I would literally shrivel up and die if I didn't have horses in my life, and writing comes as easily as breathing to me. So I ride, and I blog, and I share this journey with all of you, because I can't not.
And I write, at least about riding, with the attitude that I have nothing to hide. I don't downplay the tough times, the frustration, the anxiety, the wondering if I'll ever measure up. Those things are all a part of life, not only as a rider, but as a human being. Life isn't all blue ribbons and beer and cupcakes, even though that would be great. Life is a lot of sucking at something for a long time. It's a lot of working really, really hard and still not doing as well as you "should be." It's a lot of shit just happening.
While jumping my very first Novice XC fences over the weekend was a HUGE DEAL for me, I know it's not a huge deal for a lot of people. Novice is considered "low level" eventing. There are people that START young horses off at Novice. And besides, I'm still not riding 'perfectly'. Can you see how easy it is to let the world, and our own sense of perfectionism, downplay a milestone that means so much?
I am so very grateful for the message I received yesterday, and for the angel in disguise who sent it. Even though I feel like I'm bumbling along and not doing much of anything very well; to someone, I'm a role model.
To someone, I am a person to be looked up to.
To someone besides myself and my closest friends, I have accomplished great things.
Wow. That is a stunning piece of information, isn't it?
My suggestion to all of you - riders and non-riders and bloggers and readers alike - is to keep on keepin' on. Try hard. Be humble. Get excited as all hell when you meet a milestone you've been working towards! Live and ride and write with honesty, and never look at yourself as "just" a mediocre rider, or writer, or professional, or artist, because you never know who you are inspiring by "just" being you.