Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Nod to the North

Take a Chance. That was the name of my horse my Grandfather bought for me when I was 12. My Grandfather was dying and I was in midst of a good old fashioned case of family craziness and starting to like boys. Looking back on it now I think it was his attempt to save us both from inevitable heart ache. I wish it had worked.

I had a few months of riding lessons, 4H, and a new best friend, Casey, who had horses at her house, all under my belt. Those credentials made my pea sized pre-adolescent brain think I knew most everything there was to know about horses. Oh my dear Papa. He was so generous with us kids and genuinely took an interest in my new hobby. He rode right along beside me wearing his fedora as I talked my way into owning this little mare.

Turns out taking a chance on Chancey was not a chance I was ready to take. It wasn't so bad getting thrown off almost every time I rode her. I was young and bounceable. I always got right back on. It was more Chancey's random acts of violence that left me paralyzed with fear and afraid to be near her.

I was bit, kicked, chased around, spit at and made a fool of. By the time I admitted I was in over my head and she was sold I had already experienced several anxiety attacks. I didn't know they were anxiety attacks at the time. I just thought I was dying of humiliation. I wrote a last will and testament one night when my heart was pounding and I couldn't breathe. Oh what I would give to stumble upon that piece of tear stained paper today. I am fairly certain I left my prized possessions, an REO Speedwagon album and Honey Suckle Rose t-shirt to my sister Kelly. The rest must have read like a confession - what else did I have? A half dozen different flavors of Maybelline lip gloss and a bottle of Love's Baby Soft?

That was it for me and horses for a while. I dedicated some of the next 25 years to being chased around, spit at and made a fool of by boys instead. Considering that the boys I knew never bit or kicked, it all felt much safer.

Lucky for me Lily showed an interest in horses and over the past few years I have been able to spend a lot of time around them again and I am happy to still feel drawn to what I loved about horses all those years ago. I love to brush them. I love the way they smell. I love that the smell of sweet grain and molasses still reminds me of my friend Casey. I love that I have a healthy respect for how powerful they are. I love that I am around people who are teaching me (and answer all of my seemingly stupid questions) about all of the things that I wished I had learned when I was 12. But most of all, I love that I am not afraid anymore. I have a horse named North to thank for that.

I babysit North once in a while. The only things I have to do are bring him in and out of the pasture, feed him and love him. He is so big. So powerful. So beautiful. So much like a punk teenaged boy with an attention deficit disorder that he frightened me at first and made me wonder if maybe I would be safer being an admirer of horses from the sidelines. Or better yet, watching them on TV. That is not who I want to be though. I don't want to watch from the sidelines. I don't want to be afraid of anything anymore. I want to ride again. So I clip his crazy ass to the lead rope and keep on walking.

I nod to North. He is the best thing that has happened to me in years.
I nod to the therapist who stopped the anxiety attacks.
I nod in the northernly direction of heaven to my Papa with my deepest love. I moved on.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dear 2013

Dear 2013,
I will walk outside during my lunch break just to feel the sun on my face and quiet my mind.

I will slow down and listen better when someone is talking.

I will be the best Mother, Sister, Daughter and Friend that I can be. If I say something stupid or hurt anyones feelings I promise I will say I am sorry. I know my way isn't the right way, it's only the right way for me so i'll keep my heart and mind open to how everyone else takes care of business. 

I will nourish my body with healthy, organic and local food whenever I can. And when I can't, I will accept the fact that I just ate a whole bag of potato chips and french onion dip with as little self loathing as possible and will continue to pray for a cure for the insatiable junk food hunger that comes with my period. Menopause can not be too far away and I'm pretty sure I would rather have a potato chip hangover than rogue facial hair and hot flashes. 

I will try to not be intimidated to be in a stall alone with a horse. 

I will always remember that 2 vodka martini's are my limit. Any more than that requires a babysitter. I am too old for a babysitter and unexplained bruising. 

I will try to remember how crappy eating sugar makes me feel before I eat it.

I will stop trying on jeans and accept the fact that I don't like how they feel or how they make my butt look. I am a skirt person. 

I will write when I feel inspired and hopefully will feel inspired everyday. If not, it's ok. Seriously. 

I will rename this blog. And myself. 

I will try not to revisit things I say good bye to. There is a very good chance that once in a while I am going to have a cup of coffee even tho I parted ways with my dark roasted love in 2012. I know I will hold the cup with both hands and deeply inhale the aroma while I close my eyes and take a sip. And then, in a half hour when my heart starts pounding and my cheeks are flushed I will try not panic, contemplate going to the emergency room or consider the purchase of a defibrillator to carry around in my oversized purse. I will remember remember why we parted ways. We aren't good for each other any more.