Wouldn’t it be great if your basic, run of the mill reality pill could be cleverly contained in a delicious little fruit flavored nugget? Or how about a chewable Gummy Bear brand? A tutti-frutti, candy coated, saccharine free morsel of deep understanding that not only leaves you with a new, profound, subterranean grasp of the universe, but fresher breath, a whiter smile, and a look in your eye that says “Hello world, you’re welcome.”
A timely delivered reality check is more like trying to swallow an expired, powdery, aspirin tasting hunk of oversized shame that immediately starts to dissolve before you’ve had a chance to drink anything, and then continues to leave an acrid aftertaste for days.
Seriously. DAYS. No matter what you drink, or how many tubs of Ben & Jerry’s you stuff down your pie hole you’re stuck with the memory of that stupid pill.
Sometimes before a jump lesson I’ll get all geared up in my brain. I’ll have my little inner-team huddle going on, my locker room pep talk, my humble yet knowing smile that says “I think we all know who won this game” wink, wink. And I’ll be so sure that when I broach the idea of A MOVE UP he’ll be like “Well, duh? Of course you’re ready. I mean, just look at you.”
Oh, stop. You flatter me . . .
What actually happened is he looked up at me on my horse, raised an eyebrow, and said “How many rails did you have last week?” I happened to have two, I reply. Eyebrow lifts a tad more (which is actually really impressive; when I lift a brow I go all in right from the start). That’s when I start my rambling diatribe of how the poles were wet from the fire truck hose and the sun was really bright and it made everything shimmery and the first few horses had stops at THE VERY FIRST FENCE and it was tough to get a read on the distance and that one stride was super long . . .
That’s when he told me to stop talking. And when a former Olympian turned Olympic selector tells you to stop talking, you stop talking. Like, yesterday stop talking. Like zip it lock put it in your pocket stop talking. Like shut up shuttin’ up stop talking:
So I did.
I stopped talking and I listened. I listened and I learned and I felt that hideous little misery encrusted morsel of shame start to dissolve at the back of my tongue; knowing there wasn’t enough Mint Chocolate Chip on the continent to erase the taste, and knowing that he was exactly right. Shockingly, that same tiny little bitter pill that tastes like defeat today somehow morphs into success tomorrow. I don’t know how it does it, but it does. And I accept it.
I just wish it came in tutti-frutti.