Who am I anyway?
Am I my resume?
That is a picture of a person I don’t know.Lyrics from opening number in A Chorus Line the musical.
I have recently read “The Book of Joy” . As my word for 2022 is Joy I thought it was required reading! This is a book with Doug Abrams narrating a meeting in 2016 of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. I found it a fascinating and thought provoking book. I read at night and I often found I would read before going to sleep and wake up with a new thought about what I had read the night before.
One morning I woke up and it struck me how much of my identity is connected to horses and to my riding. I have no idea why this came to me as a startling new idea! For the past several years, if I have to meet a medical professional, that I do not know, I take two photos of me competing in Florida on Biasini. I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being an older woman who is not very active and probably suffering from an array of “old age” infirmities. Also, when I show the doctor the photos I can immediately tell if they still have me in that “old woman” box or if they see me differently. I can tell you it has been an interesting experience and the doctors responses have ranged from immediately recognizing I was a dressage rider and discussing getting my gallbladder removed in time for me to get to my Florida competition season, to just handing the photos back with complete disinterest.
So since I have been doing this for the past three years why did I wake up and be surprised to realize how much my identity revolves around horses and riding? I’m not sure but I do know that it came from what I had read in The Book of Joy the night before. For me Joy is inextricably linked to horses and riding. No matter what mood I am in when I go to the barn, it is better when I get there and start grooming my horse. I have days when I have a tough lesson and cannot seem to get anything right. But I still feel better for having struggled through it.
So where do I go with this realization? I will keep on riding and trying to do better in those lessons . Several people have asked me if I will be competing this summer. I tell them I do not know. That’s the truth. I have done a lot of competing in the past and have some splendid ribbons from Championships but I’m not sure I need to add more scores or ribbons to my resume. I do know that I will keep on riding and looking after my friend Biasini. And I have not given my tailcoat to the consignment shop yet so I may compete again. Who knows? The featured photo for this post is the famous portrait of Whistlejacket that is in the National Gallery in London. To me he always looks like he is looking right at me.If he is, he is probably wondering why it took me so long to realize that my identity is linked with horses.
I hope to post a review of “The Book of Joy” soon even though it is not a book about horses.