Whack, whack, whack goes life, bashing me in the solar plexus. Take that. And that. And this. Here is an upper-cut to the jaw and there is a blow in the kidneys and there is a sucker punch.
Woo, I say, reeling backwards, all my defences down. Ah, I say, that hurt.
Keep smiling, I tell myself. Smile and smile and smile and take the blows.
I keep smiling.
Then I stagger away, bloody and bowed.
I quite often see posts and articles and memes on the internet which say that things can only hurt you if you let them. This is buggery bullshit. It is meant well. It is intended to be consoling. You have power over your own mind, says this encouraging school, and you can choose whether to take something to heart or not. You can choose to see the thing in perspective and to let it go and not to let it wound you. You are the captain of your soul and the mistress of your fate.
This is not true. It is nearly true. What you can do is learn to talk yourself down off the ceiling afterwards. You can learn to console yourself and to stop yourself obsessing and to bind up your own wounds. But you cannot prevent the wounds in the first place. No human is impervious. Hurt hurts. It’s what you do with it afterwards that matters.
I do work. Work is the thing. I do book work and HorseBack work. I update my red mare page and my happy horse page, which I set up to go with the book I wrote about, you will be amazed to hear, how to have a happy horse. On that Facebook page I put everything I know about keeping your dear equine peaceful and contented. So I feel in some tiny way that it is adding to the sum total of human happiness, and of horse happiness too.
I watch a race at Sandown and talk to a friend. I do not tell the friend about the punching and the biffing. No need to dwell on it, I think. Kick on.
I can fall into the beckoning pit of thinking: why now, why me, why that? Or I can examine myself for cuts and bruises and find that they are there but they are not fatal.
Hurt hurts, but it does not have to be the end of everything. And now I am going to walk the dogs and give the horses their hay and look at the gloaming and take a deep breath and start again.