Through a few unexpected new friends I was encouraged to write more about my story. I recently learned that my story was memorable and poignant. And all this time I felt invisible and unseen. Surprisingly, when you can’t see yourself, you think you are invisible to the world around you. I did write about what happened to me at the beginning of this phase of my existence. I however remember very little of those blog posts. Yes, I saved them, but I can’t bring myself to read them again. Finally, after 2 years, I am not crying every day, all day! In fact, I am actually happy most of the time! I have popped my head up out of this pit and am finding a brand new me!
I will quickly explain what happened, and hopefully you won’t feel this is too clinical and sterile in the telling. I have lived through it, this is my past and I am choosing to not revisit that place, or live there any longer. I fully believe we are only victims through choice! So, quick rundown of why I lost it two years ago, fell apart, literally went insane. I lost everyone and everything I once I had. Only four friends stuck with me, and for those four, I am most grateful! You know who you are and I will eternally love you with my undying loyalty! Thank you for NOT believing me when I told you to consider me dead and gone!
Okay, deep breath, I have been a professional horse woman my entire life. Yeah, that seems wrong to say, given I have done other jobs, all odd and different. But mostly, I have earned my living through horses. One way or another, I have managed to live that life, day in and day out, with the horses and for the horses. In true savant mode I became known as only ‘horsey girl’. I won’t go into details but through extrapolation you can figure it out. I showed, I catch rode and did almost every English discipline, I rode endurance, I bred and raised foals, I was trained as a saddle fitter, I taught equitation and dressage, I started colts, I ran a carriage business, I opened an eBay store and sold tack and apparel, I rode horses all day, every day. I pulled and braided manes, I groomed, I mucked, and I bartered and traded, and acquired the horses and equipment I needed to succeed. I put in 14 hour days and often the longest nights imaginable. My life was my horses and I became all that knowledge that I acquired along the way.
I discovered that although I loved all equines, I was not IN LOVE with all of them. I finally did fall madly in love with a half Andalusian/TB colt that I bred and raised from birth. His name was Navarr. He was my soul mate! He lived to only the age of 11. I unfortunately was the one to choose when his life ended, and that very act was the beginning of my demise as the horsey girl I once was. We all know that the final straw is not the beginning. I of course continued on. The wind was out of my sails but I was rowing, and I was strong, so I was able to keep it up for quite awhile. My dog died next, my eleven year old Bernese mountain dog that was my heart at my feet, or rather my knees because she was so big! Okay, moving along, still strong. Still rowing. Losing a dog is inevitable. We will always out live them, still hurts down to the depths however. Ah, then my mother died. Unexpectedly and quickly at age 62. She was my best friend, the only other soul on earth that ‘got me’. Okay, at this point I might be out of the boat and treading water. But I am a very good swimmer. I was still staying strong!
20 years at the same facility in a small rural area, and the only indoor arena for 100 miles! I was known and established and my horse development and lesson business was starting to flourish. I was ten years into my study of Parelli Natural horsemanship and I was finally to a point I felt that most of what I was doing was at an unconscious, competent place, and I was a very confident PNH level 4, in all 4 savvies. I had acquired two young horses as weanlings, and both were almost 4 years old each. This was my 5 year plan. Sell one of these youngsters and take the other one with me, so that I could become a certified instructor. I was four years into this five year plan. One big problem, the owner of the facility that I leased was, and still is the Mistress of NO. Not only was the discipline of natural horsemanship something foreign to her, it was also something to be criticized and condemned. Through a series of new mandates, one of which was the extrication of anyone under the age of 18 allowed on the property, (the kids were my mainstay!). Okay, so loosing the kids as part of my business was devastating to say the least. But then, add in the decree that my dogs were no longer allowed with me on the property. Now to some of you that are non-animal people this would seem trivial. To me however? This was that final straw. My dogs are always with me! The previous 20 years at said stables were no exception. Everywhere I go, everything I do, my pups are with me and always have been. They are model prisoners and the best behaved canines on the planet. Just for those thinking they might be ‘brats’. They are NOT. And so, I was pretty much forced out of that facility. Again, you can all offer your opinions on the fact that I could have picked up and just moved it all somewhere else. All I can tell you is that I went through and explored every possible scenario for relocation of my horses, my business and even my very existence. I considered leaving my home, my husband and the area entirely. Nothing was viable. Plus, I was tired from all the rowing and treading of water.
My world imploded. Without a way to make a living, I was unable to support even one of my horses. I didn’t so much walk away; I pretty much just gave up and went under. I died. The Kelly I once knew, the horsey girl savant, well, she gave up and left. Threw her hands in the air, took her jacks and went home. Stopped playing entirely. Obviously I didn’t do well with failure! Obviously I was out of balance and unhinged and all that crap. I receded down inside like the most extreme RBI, (right brained introvert), you have ever met. And I am innately a very extroverted human! Big problem, without that former self at the helm, I was pretty much a nobody, a nothing and nonexistent. Not just to this body that I own, but to everyone around me. I disappeared entirely. No horses, no identity, no emotion, no stimulus. I was nothing more than a husk for over a year. I literally didn’t get out of the chair unless it was to cook and then eat! I am a tall gal, and even though I am in my forties I never once had to worry about gaining weight. Oops, that sure changed in a hurry. So now, on top of my depression over losing my dream and my animals and my life, I was getting fat! Good grief, could I have been running into the stick?
I also was sick physically, but that was minor compared to the mental anguish and insanity. I don’t like to talk about the physical stuff. I think most of it was nothing more than manifestations of my own self disgust, and lack of all desire to thrive and go on living. And so, it all comes back to my mind and what was going through my head. Which was not pretty. So, after a year of watching TV and blogging about my misery I started seeing glimpses of a personality. A year without horses really is a year of lack and nothingness in my book, but alas, that was what I was dealing with. I went for acupuncture for the migraines. That was the first time in a year that I left our house or property. Yes, it was an entire year that I stayed home and locked in my own personal form of an asylum. On days when I was asked, I forced myself to go out and work in the yard. I hate yard work! I called it nature walks at the mental institution. When I had to paint boards or stain the deck? I called it arts and crafts day. My corgi made me play ball every day and for her I am the most grateful! That little dog really did love me unconditionally. She is my new heart, and she is indeed at my feet! A lot of you will know her from Facebook as Ginger Bunk Bunk Standley. Even through the haze of my introversion I felt the need to anonymously stay connected.
So, the acupuncture seemed to help the headaches. And a huge side effect was the reopening of my heart, my brain, my soul!! OMG! I woke up! Where had I been? It was truly like coming out of some strange fog of insanity. I started writing again. I have always loved to tell stories but never really did it seriously. All of a sudden I couldn’t stop the flow of words. It poured out of me like I was giving birth! About 4 years previous, I started a story about an angel that came to earth to rescue his soul mate. I only got about half way through his story and then was too busy to continue. Apparently my mind was still writing that novel. But now, the story was about the soul mate that needed rescue. It became about me. I named her Payne. I wrote the book. I wrote her story from a ‘what if this happened’ place in my mind. I was able to live there, in that world for months. It somehow healed me. I was able to ride horses and play with them on the ground and give lessons to my students through my written words. Did I mention that it healed me?
I still don’t have a horse I can call my own. I haven’t ridden one in over a year. I did ride briefly about a year ago. Through prompting, I was asked to interview for a position as a rider at a huge warmblood breeding facility. I didn’t think I was capable at that point. But again, through prompting I went and I magically squeezed into my very stretchy riding pants! I showed up and they stuck me up on a big and very young warmblood mare. In a halter. I got on and rode her. It was fun. I fixed a few things I felt needing fixing. She softened and relaxed and I was later told she had many issues and had been quite ‘un-rideable’ by a few others that had tried. Encouraging to say the least. I guess I hadn’t lost it. It felt so good to ride again too. That communion that happens when a horse not only allows it, but partners up with you. Man, there are no words! But I didn’t feel as if I could live in a camper and ride 10 or more horses a day in 100+ degree summer temps. I was far from fit enough, both emotionally and physically, to attempt to take that job. And they did offer it to me! Again, all of it was encouraging to say the least.
So, I came home and kept writing. I finished my first book! OMG! I did it! And I like it! And so far, everyone that has read it likes it! It will be out as an E-book sometime in the beginning of 2013 on the Barnes and Noble E-Book site. The title is ADVENTURESINPAYNE…. (Also the user name for my Facebook page). I am super happy to tell anyone asking, more about the story and the world that I have created. I can tell all you natural horsemanship groupies, YOU WILL LOVE IT!! (Although it is geared towards an ADULT audience, it would carry an R rating if a movie).
So the more astute of you will be wondering how I was able to sit on a couch and grow fat for an entire year. This is where I must thank and declare my undying love and loyalty to my rock of a husband. Yes, I was a hideous individual to be around for far too many moons. He hung in there for me, and with me, and he supported my ever growing ass through all of it. He has been working 12 hour days and 2 jobs and we are hanging on. But only barely so. I really should find a job. I should go out and try and earn something, even if it is nominal. And if my book doesn’t make me anything, that is exactly what I will do. But in the meantime, I have hatched a plan. It dawned on me, that for the very first time in my existence I am unencumbered with responsibilities. Granted, that will change as soon as I am forced to start working again. All of which I must do if I want another horse in my life. But in this very moment, I am free! I am broke but I am free! I have always dreamt of seeing Scotland. I posed this question to myself. “How can I afford to travel and see Scotland?” All I really have to share is my years and years of horsey related knowledge. And the simple fact that I am a really good teacher. I will own that! I am! I put my whole heart into teaching and I am observant. My brain is like a computer when it comes to anything horsey and I can usually find the answer to any problem!
I posted something on the savvy forum declaring I would work for food and lodging. The response was immediate! I got invites to Australia and France first off! WOW! How interesting and exciting. Hmm, how would I afford the airfare? Then a friend of my step mothers heard about my desire to travel abroad and she donated $500.00 to my cause. Out of the blue, I don’t even know her! So, I have that in my savings. Not nearly enough to fly overseas. Someone from the savvy forum suggested I contact a gal in the highlands of Scotland. Through her and her connections I was invited to their country for however long I wanted to stay. They offered me accommodations and food and incredible hospitality and even excitement. They are all on their own personal journeys within our Parelli world and all were/are excited about me sharing some of my knowledge with them. Wow, now I have even made friends with most of them. Gotta love social networking! Still one big problem, I need to earn at least another grand before I can afford to do this trip. My goal is to go for the entire month of May in 2013.
The same new friend that suggested I write more about my story suggested I ask for donations and contributions to my ‘cause’. I still feel balky about asking for money. From experience, I know that people only give when the situations are catastrophic and beyond grim. I am not one to whine much or ever beg! At least not anymore. Granted, I did whine quite a bit for that one year of mental illness. But hey, that is the past. Right? But now, in this very moment, there really isn’t a thing wrong with me. I am healthy once again, mentally and physically. I am working out and have lost almost all of the crazy time pounds. I am fit again, emotionally, physically and mentally. I am grateful for where I am in this current life and I can finally say, “Oh, that’s why!” Again, I decree that it is all about finding BALANCE! IN all things!
Okay, so I am not running into the stick anymore. I am licking and chewing my way through this new part of my existence. I have discovered my inner author. I would most like this to be my new career so that I can have a horse to share my life with. Not the life I had before, nope, I am not going backwards no matter what. No, my new life will have a horse in it, but I will be a well rounded individual because of that fact. However, before I start back down the path of owning an equine I want to make this vision of seeing Scotland a reality. The only way I can do so, is if I get help. I don’t need much. If only a hundred of you donate $10.00 to my cause I can make this trip. Whadya say gang? I am totally in LOVE with our PNH community! You guys all rock in my world! Anyone even trying is a winner to me. The instant responses I get to my random and crazy postings are always refreshing and eye opening. There really are others out there that “GET IT” … GET ME! OMG! Could it be true that we are not alone? With all of you I don’t feel alone or invisible. For just that reason I want to thank you all in this moment and share my gratitude for the camaraderie. We are all on this journey together even if we are at different places on the same trail. :]
Apparently i can write a story but i can’t copy and paste a generated link for a donation box through payptal. my user id is firstname.lastname@example.org through paypal… any and all DONATIONS are greatly appreciated…. sigh…
P.S… for all those out there that might possibly read this and not understan what i am talking about; Parelli Natural horsemanship is a form of horse development that increases the humans awareness of how, as predators we effect and cause issues within our prey animal equine counterparts. As individuals, until we can change, our horses will not improve and become partners. For all of us that have drunk this particular kool-aid, it is a religion to us! It is the church of the horse and it is and unimaginable journey of self discovery. It is about the relationship and nothing else. Ask yourself, if there is any thing or anyone that stimulates you to the point of making the relationship the most important thing? Well, with our horses, this is what we do, and we are all on this path of learning their language and becoming true partners with them. :]