This week has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in the year that I have been injured. Mainly because I finally felt like I could do it, like the 5 years I spent on the one goal wasn’t for nothing, and that I will get back competing internationally.
Of course whenever you have an awesome week it brings up other feelings. Sometimes I wake up and I feel so grateful for everything that I have that I worry it might vanish. If someone asked me how I would change my life if I could have anything I wanted, I would ask for no hip and back pain, and that’s it.
Five years ago I would worry about everything, and my mind would race and I would have 1 million thoughts, and I was never just there in the moment. One of my best friends showed me a Portuguese song recently about a man who could never be present because he was always in the next moment, and I feel so glad to be free of that.
But sometimes, our mind wanders off even if we don’t want it to. On the horse I have learnt to control this. My riding is actually what changed me.
I’ve also realised this year that being around those that are peaceful also gives you a greater sense of peace…Like you steal it, but they get to keep it also.
This week my uncle sent me a blog that was really well written, about a girl who lost her dad when she was 18…After reading it, my first thought was, man she was lucky, I wish I had 18 years with my dad.
I talk about my father’s suicide a lot, but like it’s a different life. I can discuss it openly without getting upset, because I’m talking from outside it. I do this often because it’s a topic that is stuck and until people can open up about it it will continue to affect families around the world.
The Blog above brought up something interesting, which I never really admit to anyone. It’s not very often but I have weeks were I actually am more hurt than when he died. I feel more sadness, and more loss. Typically when I’m really happy, or someone says they are proud of me… I realise again everything that he missed, and will miss. He will never see Portugal, he will never read something I wrote, or watch me compete internationally. For my sister he will never meet her kids.
I published a blog recently about my childhood, and then people wrote to me telling me their version of what happened, things I didn’t know. It brought it back, because when it happened no-one talked to me about it.
Last week I was thinking about my goal and Portugal and suddenly had a thought like “My life is amazing”… It was just a passing thought, and then immediately after that I felt a huge sense of loss.
Then almost instinctively I blamed that sadness on something else, and it wasn’t much later I knew what was really bothering me… for in that moment, the only person I wanted to talk to was my dad.
I lost my father before I really knew him or myself, but he is still a huge part of who I am. And every now and then something will remind me of him and it’s like I miss something that I barely even remember, and then the not remembering makes the sadness even stronger.
It’s strange though that I still worry about being judged, like I’m no longer allowed to have those thoughts. Then I feel guilty because some people have no parents, or live in poverty, and then I feel even worse for being upset about something so far away from me now.
I’m not allowed to miss him. And if I do I’m not allowed to cry or discuss it.
This is just my own restrictions and walls, but they are there, and I never let them down.
Truth is though, I wouldn’t change any of my life, because I am now so much more grateful and I give all of myself to everything that I do, and that makes my life richer.
The last line of the blog above was…”I love harder, hug tighter. Because. Blink. Life. Blink. You’ll miss it.” I learnt this lesson early, and I won’t forget it.
When I was teaching recently the student said she can see how passionate I am and how much I wanted to help her, and it meant so much to me.
My writing is where I admit most things. For Riders it helps them because they can see that an International competitor can go through all the same processes of fear and failure that we all know, but rarely admit to or discuss.
Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone has something that they try to dismiss that affects them. I admit that I feel more at home in Portugal than I ever have. I admit that I don’t miss Australia. It sounds awful. But it’s true.
I miss my family and friends, but I don’t miss what Australia represents to me.
I’m learning to admit things to people, even if it makes me more vulnerable, but I’m still not very good at it.
Everyone has things they don’t like to admit, and you don’t have to admit them to anyone else…
But sometimes it’s a good idea, to at least admit them to yourself :).