Kristen, author of If The Saddle Fits, recently wrote a viral blog post about Body Shaming in the Show Ring. Since then, she’s posted a few follow-up thoughts that have really resonated with me, including ideas about changing the conversation. Lauren of She Moved to Texas has also discussed the topic, so while I hate to steal anyone’s thunder, I find this discussion a necessary one. First, let’s get the truth out in the open: I am my own worst critic.
I promise you, there’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t already said to myself. Your disappoint in me won’t be worst than my disappoint in myself. I find it easy to point out flaws in my body type, personality and riding abilities. In the last few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to seek out the positive. You may have noticed in some of my recent blog posts that while I’m telling you exactly what’s going and how I’m feeling (some of which is pretty negative right now), I work hard to end the post on a good note. I’m not just doing that on my blog either — I’m doing that in my life, with every ride and every day.
But it’s time to go beyond that… because I’m beginning to suspect that my attitude is holding me back. I was riding with my BFF Nichole the other day, and we were talking about the issues Miles and I are having in the canter. This is what she told me: “Tracy, he doesn’t believe you. He has to believe that when you add spur you mean it and that there is a shitstorm of more spur waiting for him if he doesn’t do what you ask. But Tracy, you have to believe that too and I don’t know that you do. Do you think that is all the leg you have to give?” I didn’t know what say. Did I believe I could be stronger?
For a long time, I’ve called myself a “weenie adult amateur” on this blog. It’s a nickname I use with a smile and laugh, but it’s true. I’m not a particularly gutsy rider; I get nervous easily. But now I wonder if I believe that more than ever — more like “this weenie adult amateur may never canter another fence” instead of “this weenie adult amateur will never attempt advanced level Eventing.” And it’s simply not true. I’m not a weenie. Yeah, some things might make me nervous that other riders don’t think twice about… but that’s life. I’m not afraid of clowns and some people are. I’m not afraid of blood and it makes other people pass out. Six one way, half-dozen another.
So I’m leaving the weenie adult amateur behind. I’m changing my conversation and holding myself up, instead of bringing myself down. Because after all, I can do anything I put my mind to — I’ve never been afraid of a little hard work.