Distilling the Dream

The past year, year and a half really…no. the past nearly four years now, since Frodo will be four in June. The universe opened a door, and the pressure differential dragged me, slowly, kicking and screaming, through it. I’m not all the way through yet; some days I dig my hands in to the floor and resist, and all that happens is that I get splinters under my fingernails. Other days, I can give in, and the trip is much easier.

Last year, in Brazil, there was a taste, a taste of something to come, something with Frodo and I as a team, a couple. A bonded pair. Then, Tryouts. Again, some glimmers, flashes. And then more of them. Skip forward to Colombia this year, the Americas Y El Caribe. Frodo and I, together, we nailed nearly every single one of those courses, and when we didn’t, again, it was me, sinking my fingernails in to the floor, not able to give over, or to give in.

Tryouts THIS year – the week before, something in the back of my mind, a small whisper, a little voice…”You want this. You want this. This, this is achievable…” I tried to ignore it, and mostly, I did. Mostly, I was able to concentrate on really the one thing Frodo and I do so well, when I couldĀ again (sense a theme?) give in, give over, to the team aspect of things, to the WE instead of the ME.

And, ignoring that little voice, the two of us floated up in the results. I have no illusions about our abilities in the international arena, but then again, maybe I do – maybe I labor under the illusion that less is possible than really is. Frodo is, after all, not the fastest dog. He is not the most confident dog by a long shot. There is no one obstacle performance that anybody could point to and say WOW about. There is nothing flashy or eye catching about our best runs. Even to me, those best runs, which are happening more and more (when I can GIVE IN, give IN Dammit), are slow, dreamy almost. There’s no barking. There’s no amazing running contacts, or amazing contacts of ANY kind, really. Frodo’s jumping is graceful and without effort, but there are things he doesn’t like to do, and I have to constantly be respectful of that.

The only amazing thing, really, when it happens, when I can set aside my ego and just BE there for him, with him, is our teamwork. I have to set aside notions of being a leader, even though I’m the only one who knows where we are supposed to be going. I have to set aside notions of asking him to go faster, be quicker, happier, set aside notions of asking him ANYTHING really.

This amazing thing, this teamwork, a space that Solar and I were never really in togetherĀ in the same way, requires that I relinquish control of the situation and show my belly in a way that I am extremely uncomfortable with. Being vulnerable is just, and always has been, incredibly difficult for me. I’m getting better – I’m not GOOD at it. But I’m getting better. And this is Frodo’s gift to me, and in return, I can help him shine (except he’d rather not shine thank you very much because then that attracts attention, and sliding in under the radar seems to be his M.O.).

The WAO was just a few days after Tryouts; we flew directly from Tryouts, the DAY it ended, to France, and then drove to the UK, and started practicing Wednesday and then competing Friday. Keeping that voice, the voice that whispered “You want this” quietly before Tryouts, keeping it quiet during Tryouts took its toll on me – it wasn’t the travel, or the adjustment of the sleep schedule, or Frodo’s lack of international experience. He was there for me, but our failures were caused EVERY TIME by me not being there for him.

I’m working hard to shut that voice up at the moment. It’s been joined by other voices. In addition to the “you want this” whispers, now I’ve got the “don’t get too hopeful, you don’t deserve this, you’re not good enough, your dog isn’t good enough” whispers to contend with, and they’re turning from whispers to yells. And I believe all of what they have to say, to a point.

Time to distract myself. I know, I’ll get a puppy!

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