I've had many blog posts on the go, but haven't managed to actually finish one - I kept getting bogged down in details. I also feel the need to delve a little more deeply into my current personal journey and how important it has been to me.
So, I'm AT MELBOURNE 3DE! We qualified, we got here!
What has this journey given me? Some of my answers have surprised me.
It has made me appreciate what my body can do
In this superficial world, we are constantly bombarded by the pursuit of the ideal body. Whatever that is. (Even moreso after having a baby, or two...you know, you should snap back to "pre baby" magically as if nothing had ever happened. Yeah right!!!).
Like many women, I've been plagued by body image issues all my life (pause for sharp intake of breath, yes...me). Somehow, I got a mixed message that my weight was a measure of my self worth. It led to decades of disordered eating and very flawed thinking. It was suggested to me recently by someone (who should know better) that I should exercise off the wobbly baby tummy. Umm, hello, it's mostly loose skin. Besides, I walk on average 18,000 steps per day, ride several horses and look after 2 small kids. I don't think inactivity is my problem! Besides, as I head closer towards four decades on this earth, it is silly to think I'm going to retain the figure of my 19 year old self.
No, instead, I appreciate my body for its strength. I am fit, I am strong. I can lift heavy things and gallop over fixed obstacles on a 500kg horse. I am back riding at the level I was before two kids. My body rocks, even if I don't resemble a stick insect.
It has given me back my identity
Motherhood does change priorities dramatically. That's a given. But being able to ride and do things I used to do is so very important to me. For a long time, horses have shaped my life, so to take that away from me made me feel very lost. Time on the sidelines when pregnant or with small babies was a huge change. Spending time daily with my horses and having goals to aim for has given me "normality" in a crazy time of re-adjustment.
There is nothing wrong with being identified as a Mother. But for myself, and many other Mums, we are many, many other things too.
It has rebuilt my self worth
Having perinatal/postnatal anxiety and depression (twice, yay...go me!) sucked me into a black hole of nothingness and made me loathe myself and feel worthless as a person. I also lived in constant fear of being judged...the simple worry that my house was never in order would be enough to send me into a spin and I experienced constant hyper vigilance. I would read things into everything that anyone said, because I felt it must be about me and how I was a failure as a mother and as a person full stop. I wasn't worthy of even existing. Get the picture? If you have never experienced that feeling, it is very hard to understand. These overwhelming feelings made me at one stage consider selling my horses - thank goodness that didn't happen!
Alongside finding good medical help, having riding goals has given me another reason to dig deep and keep on going. When there's horses to ride and feed, it's another thing to get up and out of bed for. Then there's the enjoyment factor. Having something to look forward to makes the fog lift and the Black Dog's shadow no longer lingers as a constant threat.
Doing something well has given me a feeling of accomplishment and pride. This is also evident in my coaching, as I really enjoy being able to help others on their riding journeys.
So, no matter how the next 4 days goes....I did it. I got here. I'm happy and proud. And even better, I now have my husband and kids to share this special journey with. Along with my very special horse...
As 3 1/2 year old Hamish said to me the other day after watching me jump -
"Snip is a good horse Mummy. He's your best friend"
Photos by Andrea Dunn Photography