disenslumping myself

I read Cryoburn, which was okay, and then I went back and reread Cordelia’s Honor, which is by far my favourite of the Vorkosigan novels, because Cordelia is my favourite character. I like what Aral says about her: that honor pours out of her like a fountain; but even more, I like that whenever she faces a dilemma, she always chooses the most generous option.

“I’ve always thought—tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“No,” said Vortala.

“Yes,” said Vorkosigan.

“I’ve always felt that theists were more ruthless than atheists,” said Ezar Vorbarra.

“If you think it’s really wrong,” said Cordelia to Vorkosigan, “that’s one thing. Maybe that’s the test. But if it’s only fear of failure—you have not the right to refuse the gift for that.”

“It’s an impossible job.”

“That happens, sometimes.”

I mention this because people have been firing similar observations at me for weeks, which is both irritating and awesome. My self-deprecating schtick has reached the end of its useful life, and circumstances require me to want more, to be greedy, to be ambitious. It’s part of what’s been going wrong with my riding. So Dez had me riding perfect Bella on Thursday night, and she got me tilting my chin up to look ahead over fences, and suddenly I could count the strides in and see how to keep my balance on the landing.

And then today I was on Manny, and Erin had us warm up and nothing went wrong, and then I jumped a crossrail and rolled back and jumped it the other way and nothing went wrong, and then she had us do the same exercise over a huge vertical. Which was clearly impossible, on the hardest horse I have ever ridden, in the depth of a slump, with the fence at the upper limit of what I’m capable of.

So I stuck my chin in the air and jammed my heels down and counted my strides and did it four times.

I was so relieved! I said to Erin: “Can I quit on that?” Erin grinned and said: “No.” She added the skinny hay bale and another rollback to the wall, and Manny of his own cognizance added some huge spooks in the far corner. We jumped around it twice. It wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t fall off. Erin said: “You’re an educated rider now. You can’t go on thinking that you’re just lucky, that you just had a good day. You have to ride like you mean it.”

But I am never sincere about anything, ever! But I have carefully schooled myself to only want things I know I can have! But I don’t take emotional risks!

To refuse the test is to refuse the gift.

Erin is leaving to take a fantastic job in Florida. Florida’s damn lucky to get her.

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