I fell off a horse nine years ago, figuratively speaking anyway. And then while I was still on the ground a whole stampede ran through and about did me in.
Nine years is a long time to be afraid of horses.
If you want to get over this fear, I suggest telling the truth to a cowboy. I’m not sure you’ll like the answer, I know I didn’t, but it will be the right answer. Like it or not.
Me: “I’m tired of this, am I ever going to learn how to trust again?”
Him: “You know what I’m going to tell you right?”
Me: “Yeah, yeah, I know cowgirl up and ride, right?”
Him: “Not this time darlin. This time I’m telling you to grow up and stop making people responsible for what happened in your past. You don’t get to decide for them which end of the horse they are going to be. Trust the rider, trust the horse. If you fall off, get back on, find your seat and ride. You don’t take it out on the horse if you fall off, right?”
Him: “So quit taking it out on people. Once you learn that trick, then you can cowgirl up and ride all you want.”
Either I’ve lived in Oklahoma far to long, or he made perfect sense. He hurt my feelings, like a real friend will from time to time, but he’s right. You can’t ride if you can’t find your seat.
Trust the rider (me)
Trust the horse (them)
find your seat and ride.
When you fall off (not if)
Pick yourself up
Dust off the dirt
and start again.
And whatever you do, don’t take it out on the horse.
People ride bikes for different reasons. Some like the fellowship. Some like being outdoors. Me? I want to live. It really is that simple.
Tiffany’s death last fall scared me. We’d grown up together back in Michigan. One day she was Facebooking about the most recent cuteness of her 5-year-old son and the next day she was gone. pulmonary Embolism. That’s not fair.
My mother is 71 and is dying from COPD. She has suffered from severe depression on and off for most of my life and hasn’t had a drink since Aug 12, 1977. I would do anything for her, we even offered to buy her a house so she could live near us and she turned me down. Her depression keeps her from truly seeing and receiving love and some days it’s hard. She has convinced herself she would be miserable here and that she would die within six months if she moved. I have no choice but to let her live her end of life as she sees best.
While I spent roughly 30 years in Alanon, Mom doesn’t have a recovery program and I wish she did. Maybe that’s why I like Anne Lammot so much. She and my mother are a lot alike, only Anne chose a different path. I get jealous sometimes when I read her books. I still read them because I hope they can help me find my path and stop trying to live everyone else’s.
Don’t even ask about my Dad. I feel responsible for him as well.
I started having chest pains last summer and was sent to a cardiologist. When the tests came back perfect (except for a slight murmur) we assessed that perhaps my issues were more on the emotional bend rather than physical. I finally fessed up to some of the stress I was feeling and told her what was on my plate. Her response was a very simple statement. “I’d smoke too.”
Not the answer I was looking for, but she was right Codependency can kill.
I’m one of those people who puts off dealing with things until I can get away from people for a few days and have a private melt down. Then I pull up my bootstraps and carry on as the song goes. I didn’t get to do that last summer. August was full of commitments and I kept telling myself that this would have to wait. I could cope for a while, I’ll deal with it later. As if later will somehow take the sting away.
I should have known I was in trouble when I went in for my annual check up. If my doctor had been any nicer I would have burst into tears on the spot. It’s hard to handle kindness when we aren’t being very kind to ourselves. I had a very difficult time hearing his kindness over the voices in my head and my own woundedness screaming “What do you want from me!”
A middle of the night trip to the ER with stomach pain that made childbirth feel like a paper cut and chest pains that made me throw up scared me enough to change.
I can’t fix the people I love. I can’t make their choices for them, nor do I need to make myself responsible for their choices. The serenity prayer tells me to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and find the wisdom to know the difference.
Instead of buying a house for my Mom, I bought a bike for myself. That’s a good step in the right direction.
Instead of reading blogs on fixing other people, I read blogs written by people who are after the same things I am; Healthy living. Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically. The link below is one such writer. He’s a recovering alcoholic and is open about it. He rides to live, just like I do. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. Click on the link to read his story. Full Circle….
If nothing changes, nothing changes. Let it begin with me.
I woke up with my shoulders in my ears this morning. My to do list is out of hand what with Christmas just around the corner and my oldest due home on Friday. I have too much on my mental plate and need to blow off some steam.
In light of that, I took time out to ride today. I usually ride Prince on Tuesdays. (See photo) This time Janell let me ride Cowboy. Cowboy jacks with me most days, but not today. He’s not a bad horse, he just doesn’t like beginners. I’ve been riding for almost a year now and even though I cannot hold a steady gallop, I’m no longer a beginner. Something about my seat told him I could be trusted. He did everything I asked.
Horses need to be able to trust their riders as much as riders need to be able to trust their horses. It’s a two-way relationship. There is a life lesson in this I’m sure. Janell is teaching me how to race barrels as well as jump. Once I learn those, it’s on to roping cattle. I’m becoming a real cowgirl. I’m 46. This is crazy. And oh so much fun.
J-man wants to know how I can “race barrels” if we aren’t really going at a full gallop yet. He’s an are we there yet kind of fellow.
That’s an easy question to answer. We just do it. It’s not about the speed. At least not yet. It’s about form and it’s about trust. Once that foundation is set, the speed will come. Every hour I spend in the arena, I push myself to go a little bit faster for a little bit longer. I work my abs and my legs by holding them straight. My left leg keeps wanting to curl up underneath me for protection and that throws me off balance, holding it straight is a huge challenge. I work on keeping my eyes up and forward instead of on the ground. I sit as tall as I can and I let the horse go. Every day I ride, I borrow courage from the horse and make it my own.
Cowboy does not give an inch. Every step, every breath, every moment is earned with him. I rather like that.
I prefer to earn my own confidence than have it handed to me.
Cowboy will not let me lope one minute before I’m ready. His resistance is teaching about my own journey in life. So often we are in a hurry to arrive. Cowboy forces me to slow down, breathe deeply, check my seat, stay balanced and enjoy the ride.
In light of that, I’m taking the rest of the year off.
I hope you don’t mind it’s just that I’ve been in such a hurry to make Christmas arrive that I’m missing the journey.
No more twitter. (Ouchies.. I kinda like twitter)
No more Facebook. eh, they’ll live.
and No more Blog. At least not until 2012.
I hope you don’t mind.
I haven’t taken time to harvest the fruit from 2011 or to rest.
I need time to be.
To quote Anne Jackson, the internet will still be here in 2012. Have a blessed Hunakkah or Christmas or whichever you celebrate. I’ll see you in 2012.
Love and Laughter