Pre-Show: A Change in Attitude

tldr: Life is looking up. Here’s why.

Right before I left for Nationals, and well after my frustration post for Saturday was written & scheduled [Here I Am], I figured out two things.

Discovery 1: Theory
Dottie has the soul of an artist. Or, at least, what I imagine the soul of an artist to be. She is the aging ballerina who still lives to dance. She may lack the raw power she once had for jetes and pirouettes, but she has arm extensions that make the angels weep.

As a counter-example, Sam has the soul of a technician. If you ride him a certain way, he will canter brilliantly. Doesn’t matter where or when: in the covered ring, in the big ring, at home, at a show, on the rail, off the rail. If you do x, he will do y.

A few days before the Alabama Charity Show, I had a great lesson on Dottie. ‘Ah ha,’ I says to myself, ‘I know how to trot Dottie.’ Went to the show. Did the exact same thing. ‘No! No! No!’ says Dottie, ‘This is a totally different situation. We must dance THIS WAY.’ Which left me sitting in a lump, thinking, ‘Whaaaa?’

Still struggling with the double bridle and still struggling to get my shoulders back. [Show Report]

Dottie is a passionate, spontaneous individual who creates her reality in the immediacy of the moment, instead of relying on a set of rigid formulae that might have no bearing on current conditions. As a person who fell off the left side of the Myers-Briggs personality test, I am far more Sam-like in my outlook.

My narratives for Dottie included elder stateswoman or maternal guardian of her young riders. Not a bit of it. The rider’s role is the male dancer, lending support when the prima ballerina takes center stage. You might need to support her more than you would a younger dancer, but Oh, she is worth it. Once I started thinking about her this way, her whole personality made sense. We got along famously. [The Power of Narrative]

Dottie is not a diva. She doesn’t demand attention and adoration. She’ll take it (won’t we all?), but she doesn’t require it to function. She simply wants to dance.

Discovery 2: Tylenol
Lately, my meltdowns have been accompanied by crying jags. At one point before a lesson, I was crying so hard that I was shaking. I slugged some Pepto for my stomach. As I stood at the bathroom counter, I remembered when pain-relief had turned out to be the answer [Antibiotics as Mood Elevator]. I took two Tylenol.

The tears stopped.

I don’t know why this works. I don’t feel pain before I take pills. I don’t feel less pain after I take pills. I simply stop crying. I don’t know why it has to be Tylenol. I’m not messing with success. I do it. It works. That’s good enough for me.

One possible reason may be the body’s response to chronic pain. Apparently, if the nerves keep sending the same pain message, the body stops listening.
Nor do I see a point in going to the doctor. Modern medicine has a hard enough time with chronic pain. They’d never cope with chronic non-pain.

I am not stoic. I am the farthest thing from stoic. All of this happens on a level below my consciousness. As I have said elsewhere [The Old Grey Mare], I live in my head. I tend to leave my body to get on with it. I may not have been paying sufficient attention.

In a related experiment, I took ibuprofen before bed. Sleep has always been my answer to any problem. Stress? Yawn. Stomachache? Nap. Sick? Go to bed until it passes. So, I was sleeping enough hours, probably too many. It’s possible that my mystery non-aches were keeping me from sleeping well. I’ve been exhausted all summer.

I still stress. I’m still me. Now, when I start spinning out of control, I can console myself that the cause is physical rather than existential.

Sadly, the solution has limits. My system can only tolerate so many meds [Let The Blithering Begin]. All I need to do is invent a chronic OTC analgesic that does not rot my stomach, or worse. My medical advisor tells me if I can could do this, the world would be my oyster.


Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


2 thoughts on “Pre-Show: A Change in Attitude

  1. I am so far off that personality test it’s not even funny.
    I hope you can find a way to destress. Even with meds I can’t. Chronic, severe physical and mental pain is hard to live with. Wish I could help.

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