My own personal pain journal

So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.

It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity,  fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.

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Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going. 

I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.

Just…Fuck me.

I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.

It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!

I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.

We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! 🙂

I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.

So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.

To quote Charles Dickens:

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

You know this doesn’t just happen to anyone

Good god, this weekend. We have snow coming down, temps dropping to -4 with a wind chill of -10?! Here, on the Island of all places? PLUS my weekend was kind of…really sucky. Drama-rama…

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From last year- not this again?!

Friday started off great though, I had a FUN dressage lesson and I loved it! We were having a blast, Oats and I 🙂 We worked on jumps (in dressage?! They were teeny tiny), and focused on ‘contact’ and not letting Oats choose the take off spot. It was really cool and a good exercise to feel his hind end power! What a neat lesson.

And then on Saturday, all hell kind of broke loose..I went riding, and Oats was fine, fun to ride and everything was great. I got home and took my dear dog Gidget out for a walk around the block. I was listening to my headphones, we were cruising down the sidewalk when a dog ran out of someone’s yard and ran aggressively at Gidget (who is fearful of dogs), and grabbed her throat?!!! WTF?! I could NOT believe what was even happening? It was such a blur. I was trying to grab Gidget to pick her up, and she was trying to run away, and this fucking dog was on her throat…Gidget was shrieking. It was terrible! I screamed so loudly my throat hurt.

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Who dares to hurt the love of my life?! No WAY will I let that go. 

The asshole owners got their awful dog back, and then yelled at ME that they already apologized. WTF? No, no no it doesn’t work that way. I yelled at THEM that they didn’t SOUND very sorry, assholes!! I knew exactly where the dog had come from too, so I had the house number. They then got into their car and drove off?! Three of them. Good god.

One of their neighbours had witnessed the whole thing and asked if Gidget was ok (she was, thankfully), and then told me that she knew them, and that their dog was ‘very nervous’ and I said it isn’t nervous, it’s aggressive and that is NOT OK, it wasn’t restrained, no leash, no collar, no nothing! Again…WTF??

I chatted with her for a bit- she was really nice! She was telling me about these cute little dogs that look like Ewoks, so I am going to do some research to see what they look like 🙂

I then went home, got in my car and took photos of their house and the witnesses’s house. I called Animal Control, and reported it verbally to them. They asked me to email them a written statement and attach the photos I had taken, which I did. They were very kind and considerate, and I was pleased to have them take this seriously- it certainly felt serious, and I was beyond angry with the verbal aggression and lack of caring by the dog owners.

I was also grateful that Gidget was ok (but now she is traumatized by loose dogs, poor thing), and I am very watchful for any more incidents that I may need to report. Animal Control said they were going to take this seriously and go and talk to the owners, which is a great response.

It’s also a lesson to me- since I seem to have regular confrontations, it is important to me that I do not look like a victim. If anyone accosts me, or has something they want to confront me with or get aggressive with me, I will SCREAM and YELL and MAKE A HUGE SCENE!

It gets you witnesses. That is the most important thing. Don’t fuck with me.

Also a question for the ages- why do I always have these weird run-ins with horrible, aggressive people? Like, I put my headphones on, mind my own business, and walk on…and get assaulted verbally by people, or body slammed by one person, or screamed at by drivers, or bike riders, or men on the street. ????? Riddle me this?!

I hate people.

 

Now I’m not so young and looking for a fight

I feel like I held it together really well this week, up until oh…Thursday? Then, everything kind of broke loose and I had what felt like a slow-moving meltdown. I guess I’m glad it took until Thursday?

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Last weekend was pretty beautiful and not that cold! 

Our first full week and work was BANANAS. Events every single day (and into next week too, natch!), my trainer received some really terrible news and had to cancel jump lessons last night (probably good, because I was in a truly horrible mood), my mother decided to make an issue of me not attending a cousin’s wedding (in Feb, in the middle of nowwhere, and by the way I’m not close to them, though they are lovely people), I hadn’t gotten paid yet for Oat’s lease, and when I got to the barn, my jump crop was missing, and when I got home, I ripped the mailbox off the side of my house. LOVELY.

Sooooo yeah.

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I really liked the festival of lights! 

Anyways, I brought this awful mood to Oats in my warm-up, something that I am not happy with myself about, but the good news is that my friends were doing some jump schooling anyways and I did a few jumps and YES that always improves my mood!! Oats was a star and good boy as always 🙂 and the funniest part was when we were cooling out, I dropped the reins and let him go on ‘pony cruise control’ following his friend horse. It was so funny! It definitely improved my mood. What a little sweetheart…

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Friends! 

We are also facing a real bout of nasty winter weather, with wind gusts this AM up to 80 km/hr, snow?? and rain. So far just rain and it’s not cold enough to snow here, but yeahh…Next week is looking VERY ugly- a high of -2? In Victoria?? Noooo! But I won’t get too angsty.

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Very cool! 

I did have friends to hear me out about the work/family situation, which I really appreciate. God, some people just get under your skin, and stay there like a piece of glass! Mostly family! Ha.

Dressage lesson tonight- and I hope Oats feels a little more flexible through his neck, but I’m not holding my breath- we will see what horse we get on the day, right?

Know where you stand: Weekend recap!

This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a performance a friend was in- Reefer Madness: The Musical! And it was SOOO funny! I loved it! She was a great performer, and the musical was hilarious. Of note- the orgy scene was so over the top, I loved it! (and saw a lot more male butts than I thought I would ever see, hahahaha).

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So, kudos the the team at Passion and Performance together with Working Class Theatre. Standout job, and really entertaining. It even sort of took my mind off how my parents are blatantly not accepting of my proud child-free by choice status, and in fact, stewing in their own juices and demanding apologies from me because of something I said a few WEEKS ago. In a fairly non-consequential, casual environment.

Nope, not happening. I was very accommodating and understanding, up until a point. And they reached that point.

So, I’ve moved on to request no-contact and I will not be entertaining any family members anymore.

I feel pretty good about it, and will be reviewing the incident and how to proceed with my awesome equine counselor tonight. I feel good about having a game plan to protect myself, and my emotions/feelings.

In other news, riding was great this weekend, and Oats worked really hard for me! I did run and both runs were…universally terrible. The wind was so insane on Sunday I swear it was the longest run ever, getting blasted backwards for oh, 5km? Yeeeeesh it was nasty. I did hills on Saturday and they sucked too. The only redeeming thing about my runs is that I did them?

Ha. Makes me extra glad I didn’t do the Marathon Shuffle!

 

 

If I fall, let me go

I’ve probably alluded to this in the past, but I do not have a super fantastic family relationship. I have had my fair share of emotional trauma courtesy of my family, and I love them despite this. It makes it hard to enjoy the holidays, and hard to spend time with them a lot, because of the bad shit that has gone down in the past.

I now must do a kindness, and it’s going to look like a lot of pain and hurt. But trust me, making someone very clear about who you are, and what you are doing is very kind:

Luxury goods are only consumed when we’ve got enough. You shouldn’t go shopping for a Birkin bag with your last dollar.

It’s easy to believe that kindness is like that. We need more reserves, perhaps, before we can expend some of what we’ve got in this generous way.

You’ve had a hard day, it’s raining out, the world is changing, your boss is mean to you, the checking account is overdrawn, you’re on deadline…

But… Does every need have to be filled, every emotion in place before we’re capable of being kind?

Do we have to have enough money, enough confidence about the future and enough of everything else we crave before we can find the space to offer someone else a hand?

It turns out that the opposite is true. That kindness is a foundation for the rest. That investing time and resources in extending ourselves shifts the rest of our needs in precisely the right direction, not only putting us closer to satisfying those other needs, but enjoying the journey as well.

Kindness rewards the giver as well.

Lately, I have been struggling again, chiefly because I feel disrespected as a woman, as an independent thinker, and that my entire ‘personhood’ is diminished and made powerless by them (my parents).

I hate it. I’m having a rough week dealing with this, and it 100% distracted me yesterday at work so I made some pretty big screwups. It also affected my riding lesson, as I was literally shaking with rage. Thankfully, because I have been working on managing my emotions in the saddle, all it meant was that I needed to do some mindless jump-jump-jump and nothing too technical. My coach understood what I needed, and I didn’t come out to my lesson with angst in my hands and a chip on my shoulder to take out on Oats. I’ve stopped that now.

It boils down to this- when someone says they do not want children, believe them.

Why push, force, coerce or judge? Why try and manipulate? Why go behind my back? What is the end goal here? Someone who has kids and hates them, is resentful of them, doesn’t want them. Why would that be a desired result? It’s not fair for anyone, least of all the child.

It’s not up for debate. It’s not up to YOU to choose for them. You can say what you want, ONCE, and leave it alone. And you can feel however you wish, I’m not here to stop anyone’s feelings.

I’m being pressured and threatened. I’m going to put a stop to it on Saturday, on a day I have deemed my personal rubicon. I wish I didn’t have to, confrontation is the least of what I like, but now it’s become perfectly clear- I must do this now, and fast, and get ahead of this issue. I have discussed this with my equine counselor, and we have worked on a simple strategy to manage this issue in a calm, firm manner. No apologies, no anger, no defensiveness.

They can’t pretend not to hear me, or ignore me outright, when I am in their face telling them it’s either this, or they lose a daughter too.

 

I would like one of everything, please.

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Me with my horse- gimmie gimmie gimmie!

Rode yesterday, and I would like to say it was a good ride, but I have to be honest and say that my expectations of Oats led me down a bad rabbit hole for a bit. Weirdly, when I’m jumping it’s all ‘Wheeeee can you believe it! We jumped that jump! Whoop! Look at us go!’

And when I’m flatworking, it’s like, “Why are you leaning on my hands?” “Balance yourself, horse!,” “UGH can you get over his lousy transition? or “Stop balancing off me on your forehand and breaking into trot from the canter!!”

So yeah, my expectations tend to vary widely…and I want a lot more from Oats on the flat now.

This causes problems for me, because I know it causes me to not be fair to Oats. He is still trying. I do not need to drill, hammer home any points, or overwork one thing- like cantering in balance, or transitions.

I should be more generous with his attempts, and at letting it go when it doesn’t go well. Asking things of him the way I am right now? I’m not happy with myself!

Why can’t I have the same outlook for dressage/flatwork that I do for jumping? Whee!! Yay!! Look at us!!

Sweat was dripping down my face, yesterday was hot hot hot and I was kind of irritated with Oats. I felt tired, felt like I was doing more work than I should be–and that he should step up to the plate. In reality, I probably should have taken a big step back and recognized that I was tired and the unseasonable heat was affecting the both of us.

But, we did end on a very pleasing note- some light leg yielding with his head to the wall, and wouldn’t you know it–he was super! I did it once each direction, and called it quits. His lateral work is starting to really come along, in ways I didn’t know was possible a year or maybe 6 months ago.

So this is what progress looks like. It’s interesting- I wish I could be more content?

Your family loves you when you cross the finish line regardless. But they love you a little more when you win.

Saw this and kind of made me laugh- is it true? Well…Maybe in your heart of hearts, it is.

I had a weirdly challenging week. Things made me laugh and cry, on the same day. It was both not stressful and incredibly stressful (ie- job was fine, personal life wasn’t.) Not normally the way things go.

Wednesday, I chatted with one of the gym regulars, a guy I see pretty much every day at my work gym and he mentioned to his colleague that he didn’t know my name, but that he called me Super Girl in his mind, because I worked so hard at the gym, and he thought that I looked like the actress on the Global TV show ‘Supergirl’ Melissa Benoist. I was very flattered and it pretty much made my day! Wow! What an nice compliment.

On the same day (Wed) I took off riding for a doctor’s appointment that was HORRIBLE and so invasive, physically painful and emotionally extremely difficult. UGH. Even thinking about it makes me cringe and get mad.

Cue stress eating all night when I got home. Instead of a run.

So…yeah. Monday I get poisoned, Tuesday is a good day, Wednesday is both good and horrible at the same time, what was in store for my jump lesson on Thursday?

Well, again a mixed bag.

Work was fine, except I learned they were re-doing Watership Down so I of course had to revisit that and I found it super emotional? I’m not sure why, but even reading references to it (and listening to ‘Bright Eyes’) was making me tear up.

And then, the drive out to the barn was a nightmare. Traffic was backed up, I was stuck in gridlock for 50 minutes. It was insane! I got to the barn at 6:20 and my lesson was at 6:30. FML. I was so tense, anxious, angry, pissed off, edgy…It was a very bad way to start my lesson. I came in wanting a ‘win’…My miserable experience at the Dr’s was still very much in the forefront of my mind, and like, I was just feeling so edgy.

Didn’t help that I was now running very late, it was crazy windy, and I was just…aRGH. So ARGH.

Oats warmed up really nicely, no spooks at all thank god. We worked over grids (and I still kind of dislike them, I almost ate it at the last fence due to jumping ahead…you can’t take grids for granted still, dummy!!).

Our work was good, but the two-stride last week that I mostly conquered I really…didn’t this week. It was kind of a hot mess. And then it was good. And then kind of a mess again?

One note of pride: Our outside line that I kept bungling last week rode just lovely this week! So…Mild improvement on that scale?

HA.

I also felt something interesting: Oats kicking it in to a higher gear. It felt so awesome, this power that he suddenly was able to open up with. Wow, I wish I could get that feeling every time!

So, to sum up- I came in on an angry, anxious and difficult personal time this week- and managed to not completely screw up my ride, with my  mostly forgiving and saint-like pony.

 

Constructive Anger

So, my day yesterday started by slipping on a bag of dog crap that someone considerately left in the middle of the sidewalk…

and then having a run in with the van at the crosswalk that I later called about,

and then work (enough said. It was a very very frustrating day)

and then on my way home, got into an altercation with an asshole cyclist,

and then my riding lesson- my dear pony spent a lot of the lesson trying to kill me, and I actually had to get ‘hulk rage’ on his ass.

and on the way home- drove behind someone who was turning left at an advance left on Hillside, who then decided to STOP in the middle of the intersection. I honked and honked, and they waved me, and I was going to go around them…And then they decided to start going again? We almost crashed.

I went home and was like….yeah.(actually was literally ready to throw something at a window).

This is an illustrated example of my day yesterday: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html

I can only hope today is less than half as bad. That is the best I can hope for.

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Zen and the art of horseback riding

Zen and the art of horseback riding

The other day, I lost my temper with Oats.

I was ashamed and unhappy with myself. It had been a long time since that happened (I couldn’t really remember!) and I had hoped my bad behaviour had gone away for good.

I pulled him in angry circles, he was looking for a reason to misbehave because he was tired, and I just pushed.pushed.pushed. It wasn’t productive, and I got off feeling unhappy and bad for Oats.

I vowed that my next ride would be better. A ride that didn’t make me feel defensive and angry, that didn’t have me pushing Oats’ buttons all at once. I have an intensity issue sometimes–too much is too much though. I never have a problem of not riding–I have trouble knowing when to stop!

So, yesterday I went out with a more positive outlook. Oats was still looking to be a bit silly, but I figured- who cares? As long as we’re still having fun!

I also stopped doing the- ok that was 1 good canter transition- let’s try for 5 more game. Now THAT is unproductive! I had 1 and left it at that. I didn’t drill and I didn’t get annoyed.

I did hop over some crossrails without stirrups, to hilarious results. I don’t think Oats likes when I ride without stirrups though…Too much bouncing around or something!

So, I felt much more zen and happy about my ride and about Oats. I spent another hour at the barn with him, doing his least-favourite activity- mane pulling. Poor Oats! hahaha.

Riding lesson tonight, and I just want to continue on my happy riding streak.