Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This morning on the way to work, I was thinking about something funny. I was remembering this elaborate prank Jennifer and I had in college that revolved around the punchline of a joke. The joke wasn't even that funny, but was made all the more hilarious to us for that very reason.
The joke was told to me for the first time by Russel John, the improbably redneck I worked with at a summer camp in '96, and I brought it to College Station, after which we worked it into a prank call situation...way past the point of being funny.
So the joke is something like this: This boy goes to the circus, and there is this clown that keeps taunting him. This darn clown just will not leave him alone, calls him names, embarrasses him, teases him mercilessly. It really affected this boy, but he had no idea what to do about it. Every year when the circus comes, this same clown goes after this boy, and he tries all these various things to get the clown to stop, but he can't. He ends up spending years in therapy working on this, and finally perfects his comeback. He goes back to the circus as a man now, and sees that clown, and this time he is ready to show him how all those years of therapy helped him learned the perfect way to deal with him. So when the clown starts messing with him again, he pulls out all the stops, and says....
"Fuck you, clown!"
I was laughing about this in the morning, laughing about an incident involving the punchline and Holly the Ho', laughing about all those college years. I was laughing all day, over other things. Hilarious moments involving me in the parking lot, observed trying not to pee myself with laughter, laughing over lunch, good times in the workplace, smile on my face. At the end of the day, though, there was this conversation, so to speak, that kind of changed my tune. It was a good conversation, but it got my mind rolling as I left work, heading into the traffic and the rain coming down. At first I was fine, playing my favorite tunes and getting deep into Keely Karoake hour like most days drive, but then something broke. And maybe it was just the rain, or maybe it was the deeper damage, but the dam broke and the tears came down.
During this time, there was a missed phone call from Jen, and even though I was on a stretch of road that I don't usually talk, I called her back, because I really needed a girlfriend. I told her what was on my mind, barely able to talk with the emotion of it all. She totally understood where I was coming from, the distorted sense of self that is the remnant of my broken marriage.
"Most people during this time are feeling sad because of what they lost. You're not sad for the loss of your marriage, you're sad for the loss of self you experienced in your marriage. You're sad because you are finally getting away. Thank God you are finally getting you and your children away from that."
We talked about this concept of beauty, the damage to my psyche that was caused by the mental cruelty of this man I lived with for ten years. "All this time, your girlfriends have been trying to tell you how beautiful you are, strange guys in bars were telling you that...I'm sorry it wasn't enough for you. It wasn't enough to overcome the way he treated you."
She told me to go ahead and cry about it, it was part of the healing. As I drove, all I could think about was how I wanted so badly to smash all the mirrors in my house. Hands clenched in fists of rage, wanting to strike out at the memory of him pushing me into those mirrors. "Look at yourself in there. Just look at yourself in the mirror. You're so ugly, how could anyone want you? Just look in there, see it?" And I am mad, not just at him, but at myself for falling into that, for looking in there and seeing what he saw and believing that, for letting that be the image I held in my head as the truth.
And it's all of it that I was crying about, the healing from all of it. During the fall, I was processing this stuff, seeing the sand castles he built in my mind starting to crumble and go back to the sea, the constructs he made to keep me under his control slowly disintegrating under the high tide. I was thinking about San Diego, and an experience that showed me what a liar he was. I was thinking about my parents, and their relationship with me that set me up for later damage. "It's the reason he chose you, honey," the counselor said. "He recognized something in you that was weak and he could prey on."
And prey he did. In some part of my mind, I see that his intention was to make me feel so bad about myself that I would never leave, but that doesn't make sense, in some ways, either, because he placed no value on me. Why would he care if I left, when he didn't care about me when I was there?
That makes me feel like all that time, he wasn't really seeing my true worth, and it makes me angry. It reminds me of the Vanilla Ice Cream guys, and how they saw me the same way - all about what they could get, and nothing about what I could give. In some ways, those Vanilla guys from college had boosted my ego, but they failed to see that there was more to me than this perceived superficial beauty and bedroom skills. None of them ever saw anything I wrote, or engaged me in intelligent conversation, or went riding with me. We never talked about books and ideas and the things that interested me. They never even knew I loved animals. How little they knew me, after all that time of working next to me.
Well, none of them but Ryan. Today I also remembered how I felt when I moved back to Texas, how for some reason coming home made me think about Ryan. In my mind, that was a sad feeling, that coming home emotion, because I thought that no one would ever see me again the way Ryan saw me. Those days were over and done, and I mourned the loss of my beauty, along with all the other pieces of me I left in my past. Over the past months, though, I've started to see that my beauty was simply part of my light that I had been hiding under a bushel all this time. And like Alicia said, it's time to start letting the light back in, and open up the parts of myself that had been closed off from this pain.
When my mom and I were in counseling, we talked about some of these things. She brought up that my sisters had been envious of the way she touted my beauty to them, that they felt insecure because she had been telling them all this time about my "classical features", about my intelligence, and they felt that their worth was unrecognized because of what she was seeing in me. "But don't you think I should have been the one you were telling that, too?" I wanted to ask her, because I never heard a single positive thing from her regarding myself. And it's those broken pieces that upset me today, the fact that those closest around me and who are supposed to love me the best are the ones who destroyed me the most.
This weekend, I was at Jen's house, and there was this man there who knew me during the time I was with him. We talked about beauty, that day, too. I told him how my insecurities, how these sand castles did keep me from leaving, how all I could see about myself was this cracked rear view. I told him how I was scared that man was right about me. Julian looked me up and down, and said, "That's not something you need to be worried about." He told me how hot he thought my pictures on Facebook were, and that made me laugh, the last laugh in fact, because this man I was married to said roughly the same thing. "Funny," he had written, "how that now that we are not together anymore, you look a whole lot better to me."
That makes me want to take some rocks for target practice against the mirrors. It's like we were at the circus, and he took me to the fun house and convinced me those distortion mirrors were my true reflection. It makes me want to come up with a great comeback against it.
Fuck you, clown.

Friday, February 19, 2010


It's the patterns that I am after. I want to see how the patterns line up to form a whole. It seems like all those little coincidences have to mean something. Maybe I'm just always looking for signs. Whatever it is, I find it here at the fortune teller's. I know I've been thinking about this a lot, and some of my more conventional friends wouldn't understand. It is hard to reconcile my attraction for the esoteric with the outward expression of my Christian mindset.

I think, though, if you dig deeper, you will find that it is not really that far of a stretch.Personally, this is true, because I've been an open minded seeker of truth for a long time. I've flirted with expressions of spirituality within unconventional means. In order for religion to satisfy me, it must have an element of magic, of deep mystery. I left the religion of my upbringing and tried on several vestiges of faith before I realized that Jesus has enough magic to fill that need.

In terms of seeking the answers of tarot, there is an element of the Christian faith that feels that this is something akin to the devil's work, something that results from black magic perhaps, something incompatible with the confines of faith. Some of my friends think the answers of tarot may be within the realm of a a message from God. Still others may see it as a way of bringing the subconscious into the conscious mind. A way of clarification. A guide, you may say, to the signs. Or maybe it's just magic.

However, when looking back on the history of tarot, one might find that it is not so far off base from Christian roots. It is interesting to note that the first decks of tarot cards emerged from a mystical sect of Judaism, otherwise known as Kaballah. There is a theory that tarot decks were developed somewhat during the invasion of Israel by the Greeks, during a time where it was forbidden to study the Torah. Secret messages or symbolism began to emerge on the cards as a way to communicate the Torah amongst the Jewish people. Many of the early mentions of tarot cards were in relationship to priests, and during sermons. So not so far off.

The question inherent in the seeking of the tarot is, why the step away from faith and reliance on God and turn to another source for divination? Are we just not relying that he will show us the way out of the desert? Why can't we just trust him to reveal only what we need revealed, when we need it? I think maybe the mind just needs a little help to get what's in the background to the forefront, or maybe we get impatient and just want to know now what will be.
At any rate, on this day, there was a card that came up in the reading that had a very interesting interpretation. The woman laughed about it, and said there were about six cards in the deck that indicated the same kind of thing. My friend and I were impressed there were actually cards with that meaning.
Afterwards, I wondered about the meaning. I wondered about all of it, but mostly I got curious about that card, The Devil card. I was curious because it tied into a background conversation I had been having with E, regarding my inability to really control my impulse to reach out to talk to someone. The card in the reading seemed to suggest that there was a stronger temptation, of a more carnal nature. I considered if the card was somehow suggestive not of the physical reality, but the imagined reality, or inner drivings. Or was its meaning simply my shameless pursuit of conceptualized happiness?
So I dug deeper into the meaning of the card itself, from various sources. If you want the truth about something, you have to look at it from all the levels. At least that's the way I work. The fortune teller nods to this. "The problem with you is, " (and doesn't it make you curious when people make such statements about yourself), "you can see things from too many levels, nothing is ever right or wrong." What is truth, except all this vacillating?
So I want to know all the levels to this little Devil. The interpretations vary from source to source, and nobody specifically mentions the word the fortune teller uses. The imagery on the card is of a Pan-like Devil with a Goat Head (the ruling sign of this card is Capricorn - the Goat). The imagery also shows a man and a woman bound to this goat man by shackles. Interestingly, the same images of the man and woman are present on The Lovers card (which, possibly, may be one of the other cards with a similar meaning). On the Devil card, though, the man and woman have chains around their necks and are tethered to the throne. Some interpretations make note of this, saying that the card serves as a reminder that we are bound by choice, e.i. the couple can easily reach up and pull the shackles off. This metaphor is extended across various meanings of this card, interpretations such as freedom from restraints, and manifestations such as obsessions, addictions, unhealthy vices - the things we actually have control over, but sometimes feel like they control us. Basically, though, the card also speaks to the side of us that needs to let go of inhibitions, and "Put convention aside and be empowered by revealing your passionate nature."
The card also has some interpretations that involve tapping into a creative side, or becoming more in touch in the God within. It suggests a throwing off of constraints of the past and moving forward. Lust and temptation, however, are part of the equation, with a suggestion of Pan's draw towards primal urges and release, but with a reminder that this can be tempered with strength from the emotional, mental, or spiritual realms.
It represents a choice, basically, between the appeal of the physical world, or the exploration of higher planes of existence.
I consider both of those.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


: to spring back on or as if on collision or impact with another body
b : to recover from setback or frustration

I've been having this circular conversation with a few folks lately. Really, this conversation started back in October. I was sitting in my backyard with my old boyfriend, Noah, who is still one of my best friends. He had just moved back to town, and I was filling him in on all that was going on. Here I am, fresh from the barn in my boots and jeans, telling him about the ins and outs of my heart. I remember being surprised that when I talked about the pain, no tears were coming, because I was still hurting from it all. He was, as always, rational to the point of flaw - he caught himself talking about the neurology involved in my emotions, and we had a good laugh as he realized out loud that I was speaking emotionally, and deserved an emotional response. I asked him, then, when it would be acceptable to become involved with someone else.
"Your relationship is already over," he said, "the time is now."
But I knew he was wrong. I was still processing the pain of rejection and the elements of un-doing in my marriage. We talked about this often, argued about it, discussed it across Facebook chats and dinners out. He debated his side well, but kept his emotional distance from me (smart man). I think we both knew where I was going with it, during this time. He was sensitive to my vulnerability, and I was trying not to make him my crutch. I needed something, and he kept trying to suggest that the door was open for me to seek it out there, but I knew in my heart that to do that now would be selfish and to no good end.
I felt I needed to be sexually validated by someone outside the relationship, to overcome some of the issues in the marriage (you're so ugly no man would ever want you), and also had this strong desire to be emotionally attached to someone else (nobody loves you, nobody will ever love you, because you aren't worth loving). I wanted to prove that this man who hurt me was wrong about me, needed to prove to myself that it was possible to have what I wanted. I needed those words to go away in my head and be replaced with positive validation, and during this time, I keep seeking that outside myself.
One night during this time, say in November, we went out all night downtown with some friends. That was a crazy random night with mysterious connections, but the best part of all was meeting up with Raj, a friend I made a couple of years ago. Raj is a magic man, sagacious and suave. This night out, we sat in the corner of a greek cafe and Raj and I had a long talk...about Truth, Beauty...and Sex...fabulous subjects. Raj touches me deeply on some intellectual level, but this night he also gave me verbal validation for my attractiveness, which helped me feel better. That was a strange night of walking around Montrose with beers and bands and goth kids, and bar hopping and Denise and her sister drunk at their apartment, and then the long drive home with him, with Noah. The night ended in the early hours of morning, with my headlights shining on the street and he and I talking...there was some emotional context to the evening, another fight I was having with my husband, another decision to run away from. I was crying about it, and of course he let me cry on his shoulder. We have grand affection for each other as friends, and that night he stroked my hair and told me he loved me forever and ever, giving me the emotional validation I needed without the hint of sex. I remember asking him that night, "But why? What makes me worth loving?" Tell me, my old friend.
"Because you are a good person, and you never give up. You keep fighting."
I was struggling with the desire to seek validation without involving someone else, because the time wasn't right. I needed to smooth over the scars and start healing, but from the inside. Mari gave me a number to the hotline, and I had called and talked to some girl, who told me I needed to find that validation inside myself. It's pretty simple, really. No, really, it was a struggle, but something I needed to focus on, on finding the ways to feel good from the inside out. It was work, work on self, work on image, always working, working, working. It was a time of metamorphosis, and I was in the chrysalis stage. My cocoon was blasting Britney. I was focusing on getting in touch with my inner diva, working on achieving self validation for the self's sake. I needed my soul to bounce back before I could be complete enough to seek what the heart desires.
During this time, I was going through the Bargaining stage. The Man and I were trying to work it out. It was an earnest effort on my part, but it was causing me huge anxiety. I talked to Noah about it, and to Raj. They both supported this effort, because they've both had significant relationships hit the dust, and wished their women would have tried harder. They also understood the flip side of the coin.
There were temptations in there, but I was resisting. The Dirty Mexican was working overtime. "You're like a volcano waiting to explode," he said, "and I want to be there when it happens..." Some days I considered. The "no" turned into a "maybe". It wasn't the full picture, though. His attraction was somewhat gratifying but only part of the picture, like Noah's platonic love and our affection for each other. Still I wanted to keep people out of the wake of my broken heart.
And then, the coin flipped. The string broke. It was a fragile marriage, under too much strain. C-r-a-c-k. It didn't end for the traumatic reasons, but for the minor ones in the end....but that's okay. All that time gave me a chance to work through the stages of grief, to process the relationship, so that when the end came, it was with the sigh of relief. Thank God that's over, now let's have some peace tonight....
And then the conversations started. People kept wanting to warn me about the rebound factor. Mostly, though, these were people who didn't know my history or my thinking process. My girlfriends never asked these questions, they knew I had been processing, and waiting.
Noah and I talked about the rebound factor. "See, the thing is, " he said, "Rebound is for people who haven't processed their old relationship, and who get involved without thinking things through. You've already done all that processing. You've been thinking this through the whole way, and examining all the aspects. It doesn't apply."
But still, the question sits there, so I take a look to see if it truly doesn't apply. I find this quiz, this silly quiz that was really more for people half my age, but here's my results:

Your score is 10. Congratulations! You're really ready to start something new with somebody new. Good for you! The danger zone has been crossed and you've made it to the other side a stronger person. You've learned from your mistakes and you've let go of a relationship that wasn't working in favor of finding something better. Well done! Life is to short to dwell on the past... welcome to your future!

Sometimes I talk to Raj during my lunch break on messenger chat. Last time we talked, he wanted to know, basically, if I had acted on my urges to find that validation outside myself. His surprised reaction was amusing. The thing is, though, once I came out on the other side, I realized I had found the validation inside myself, and it was that transformation that made me able to be comfortable with the idea of waiting for the right person, and the right time.
Everyone has their opinion, but nobody knows me more than I do. Alicia and I talk about this one day over a random beer in the feed room. She's seen me suffer and try to pull myself around, and she is cautioning me, in almost the same words as the fortune teller. Go slow...but go.....Alicia's thoughts run all jumbled and in no seeming semblance, but this day she tells me something profound that I listen to intently.

"You've been walking down this hallway, closing the windows, shutting the doors, walking in darkness. It's time to open them back up, let the light back in. You have to walk back down that hallway and open up all those parts of yourself that you shut down to keep the pain out. He can be a part of that, but not all of it. This is still your journey, this is for you, and I want it for you."
So do I, Alicia.

Some of us still bounce back.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

For some reason, I've been thinking about fish a lot lately. I have no idea where this has come from. I keep trying to think back to see what started that thought, but I can't remember. Vague recollections of conversations with my son, and an anatomy class at work. The images in my head were there before that, though. Even though I have no idea where it originated, some part of my mind is focused on it, this idea of fish swimming upstream, fish on a line, fish straining their gills against the bright sun.
And strangely, my "assistant" brought this up the other day. He is a very quiet person, but sometimes he starts telling me a story, or an opinion on something I shared with him, and his message is always simple and profound all at the same time.
This day he was telling me a "fish story", in a way. His story was about a fish caught on a line. The fish was pissed. He was thrusting and ducking against the reeling in, even though he knew he was caught. He described the struggle of the fish against his demise, "because the worst thing is to be a fish out of water."
That line struck me.
Then, last night, I was on the porch with my best friend and her husband, and he is giving me his opinion. This would make anyone who knows him laugh, because M is always giving his opinion. It's just that most of the time, we don't agree with it. Same thing last night. I thought he was off base, and he was giving me shit about it. All so typical it had us laughing about it.
Then he throws out some mental bait.
"The thing is, for so long you've been a fish out of water..."
My best girl and I set out down a dark country road, on a quest for grub and smokes. I am laughing and telling her some story, and she turns to me and says, "It's good to have you back."
She tells me she missed this girl, the fun and happy one. She talks to me as I drive into the blackness along lines very reminscent of my conversation with my old college roommate last night. The three of us girls have a history together. She tells me how hard it was on my friends to watch me, to struggle to support my decision in the past to stay in the marriage. We laugh about my line, about how it was either a testament to my loyalty, or a testament to my stupidity. She tells me how different I was during that decision, how the life was just sucked out of me.
"And now, you are coming up for air."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

So, the guys I work with like to talk. Occasionally, I hear snatches of rumors regarding myself. Today's rumor made me laugh, as if I wasn't already. My "assistant" told me one of the guys told him I had gone crazy. Crazy, he says, because every time they see me, I am laughing.
And this seems like a departure from the me of the past, the one who they used to occasionally find crying in the back hallway, or with the long face of a sad life. They aren't sure they know this "me", but they like it. "You always look good," says one of them, "but when you smile, you spark. You look much better with a smile on your face."
And I know the reason why I am so happy, and I know I should just let it be, but you know I have to examine it closer. I really search myself to see if I am just acting happy as a way to cover some deeper emotional issues. Really, should I be this happy right now, with what I am "going through", or walking into? I want to make sure this is a real emotion, and not a "masking" emotion. Why do I feel so good? Why am I not hurting more as I walk away from this bad marriage?
The fact is, I was hurting. I hurt for a long time, but the acute pain of letting go already happened for me the past six months or so. I knew it, too, when I was going through it. I could recognize the different stages of grief as they rolled over me, and named them, one by one. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. I think I finally reached that fifth stage, and that is why I can just let it slide right off my shoulders at this point.
I know some of my friends don't understand why I like Dr Phil, but you know, sometimes he says some incredibly wise things. The one thing he said once on his show that I really paid attention to was this: "The time to get divorced is not when you are hurting, and not when you are mad. The time to get divorced is when you feel nothing. That's when you are ready."
I know I held on to this decision for far too long, but the fact is, I really didn't feel nothing until just lately, the past couple of months. I still felt love, I still felt pain, I still felt rejection, anger, sadness and all those miserable emotions that I carried for so long. I still felt the burden and anxiety of trying to hang on to a sinking ship. I know that during the summer I was just trying to stay afloat, so I wouldn't drown. Then, it was time to act, but I couldn't. I was still in the thick of the process, and I still cared about it.
I know there was a point when my Anger began to cease, that I started to head into Bargaining, and I didn't want to. I saw what was happening - I was trying to re-negotiate the terms of affection to be able to stay in it, even though it was so not right for me. During this time, some of my friends became concerned for me, because they have been ready for me to get out for too long. One of them gave me a number of a hotline I could call, to discuss these emotions with someone trained to deal with them.
When I called the hotline, I talked to this woman for about an hour about these complicated emotions. I told her I was ready to start the healing process, and I was wondering how I was going to be able to heal emotionally from the scars I was holding on to. I told her how I kept running to him to be the salve, even though the injuries were his own doing, and it made no sense. "You can't start healing until you get out of it," she told me. "Meanwhile, let's see what we can do to help you feel better about YOU." She gave me some suggestions, and we laughed about them at the time, but you know, it worked. I had to reclaim some parts of myself that I lost to this. And maybe I am still working on that part, but you know, I am closer to "fine" than I have been in a long, long time.
There are no tears about letting go at this point. There is no hurt in my heart, no anxiety about the future. Sometimes, though, there are still tears, not shed of anger or frustration, but of realizations, and expectation of future joy.
Last night, I shed some, unexpectedly. Something magical happened, and I don't know if anyone will really get this, except maybe Jen. I was about to go to bed when it happened. I started chatting on Facebook with an old friend, a former roommate. This roommate and I had gone through some real shit together, and I would say at one point in my life that she was my "frien-emy" (and yes I know you read this, but you have to admit it is true).
She told me to call her, something I would never have done at that hour, but there we were, on the phone, and she cut right to the heart of it. She told me things I never knew, like the true reason she didn't come to my wedding. She told me things we never discussed, like the good she saw in me. She told me how much it bothered her to see me unhappy for so long, and what her perception of my marriage had been, the things she couldn't tell me until I was ready to find my way out. Her words touched me more than my three best girlfriends words ever did, because they were so rare. She and I never really shared those kind of sentiments with each other, but here she was, telling me the value she found in me, and the value he should have seen in me, and what she hopes for me to find out there. I loved her across those phone lines, and I smiled through our conversation, but when I hung up, the tears came hard. How could I have been so blind to have not seen what she saw, in all those years?
But I'm gonna try. My history is my past now, and there's a new future waiting out there. I'm ready for it, and I am not going to look back anymore. So here's to moving on, and here's to letting go, but most of all, here's to being happy.
Come on, get happy....

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The sky was doing amazing things tonight. The kids and the dogs and I were out in the gully, burning off some energy and discovering new ways of getting our feet wet. Pink and purple whisps of clouds were moving across the sky in both directions. I ran back over to the house to grab my camera to record what I was seeing.
The funny thing about the camera is that sometimes it just cannot record what it is I am seeing. I want to capture it somehow, make the moment last, look at it and savor it later. It seems that the times I want it the most, the perfect shot is most elusive.
Even the dogs were difficult to capture on film tonight. They were just too fast for my shutter speed. There would be the perfect shot, their coats sharp contrast to the green of the grass and the purple of the clouds, and by the time I got the camera at the right angle, the moment was gone.
I wanted to save those clouds for later, but even in the going in for the camera, I missed a few glorious minutes, and suddenly it was fading fast. Time is short, beauty is fleeting, and happiness is epheremal. This is tonight's theme, this, and dogs in motion:

That white blur at the top of this picture is Scout in flight.....

My beloved Rascal. I will miss him so much. We are looking at the twilight of his life right here. I give him only another couple of years. He's a saint among dogs, I've always said....

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I can't even remember when I started this love affair with horses. It was sometime before permanent memories started; somewhere mixed in with memories of sitting on my mother's lap listening to her read stories and being tucked in with my sister and brother. It was a part of my childhood legacy.
So, when I was five, I was given the choice between dance classes or horseback riding. Hard choice. ;) There were many, many years of lessons. Never a horse of my own, liked I dreamed, because my family wasn't THAT rich. There were years of horse camp and grooming other people's horses and dreaming of my own.
I knew I would find the right horse one day, and I thought many years of what this first horse would be like. I didn't make this dream come true until I was twenty one, and bought Bullseye my own damn self. Bullseye will always be "the horse of my heart", but, he is gone from my life.
So, my youngest child started asking for a "neigh" when he was about two, and I missed horses. I told Michelle about this lament often - I had ridden with her in high school, and she still had the same horses. Occasionally I would go riding with her, and I yearned. She told me this year that if I really wanted a horse again, "this is a good time to buy". The bottom fell out of the horse market due to the slaughter ban, and then the recession hit. Low-end horses were bottom dollar, people were practically giving them away.
So, that's kind of how I ended up with December. She was a bottom dollar price on a warm day. I chose her with the kids in mind, but it is me I think who is getting the most lessons.

I was thinking about that today when I was riding her. I was musing about the fact that I ride her bareback more than I rode Bullseye in that manner. I love bareback riding best of all, but I mostly always had a saddle on his back. Why does it seem like I do this more with her, I pondered. Well, it's a trust issue....
I tried to trust Bullseye , it's inherent in our story. However, over time our trust got broken. It's complicated. But December, bless her heart, I trust her. She is smooth as silk to ride, and completely unflappable.
Or so I thought. Ironically, five minutes after I thought that very thing about her, she DID spook at something, and at the worst moment - coming around a corner at a canter. Mind you, the arena is mostly mud right now. She sees something out of the corner of her eye, and makes a mad bolt to the right in fear.
But my body responds automatically without even having to think about it. Sit back, center myself, work the reins in her mouth to guide and calm her, heels down for balance, my seat on her bare back telling her to slow down, calm down, and go this way, and this speed....
I think the fact that I don't even have to think about it is amazing. It makes me think there is more strengths inside me that I haven't had the chance to use in a while, but it doesn't mean they have gone away. They've just been dormant, but when given the opportunity, they will come back just as automatically.
I think, that's it, that is one of the powers the horse has - to teach us to trust ourselves.

So, it's Matt's birthday again. That got me thinking about the last birthday of his I celebrated with him, and what happened that night, something I wanted to write about because it affected me on some strange level, but I didn't feel comfortable talking about for a long time.
And it may be a radical departure from the previous entries, maybe it's just that "angel-devil dichotomy" I have going for me, but I think I'm ready to confess....
Matt is the husband of my best friend. He's funny, he's wild, and his personality is a lot like mine (which is why, we joke, J married him). He also happens to like strippers.
So, it's his birthday two years ago, and he wants to go to the strip club over on my side of town, DB Cooper's Mansion. There's a crowd of us - the two of them, the two of us, Pegs and her man, and some casual stripper friends of Matt's, who are flashing long legs and short skirts.
The night started out slow. We were drinking, chatting to pass the time. I was wearing the cleavage shirt, and unusually flirty with my husband, who was not the slightest bit interested. So, I went to the stage with Jennifer, and we slipped dollars in the thong of Matt's stripper friend, who had managed to get herself a moonlight appearance at the club, since we were there and all and she just happened to have her dance-wear with her....
As I flirted with her while watching her moves, she rolled her head, sending her soft brown hair cascading down my chest, and then she touched me, and it was somewhat titillating....
But then it was time to go. We had to go get the kids. I'd had too much to drink, and after a crazy moment in the bathroom, I wandered out with every intention of finding my husband and making him drive me home....
But, when I came out of the bathroom, and passed by the stripper's changing room, a girl was standing in front of me. She was a hispanic girl, dressed in a leather dress that didn't leave much to the imagination. She had her hips thrown out, and beckoned me over....
"Hey baby," she says, "I want to show you something", and she put her arm around my shoulder, and began leading me off.
"Where are we going?" I asked her.
"I wanna give you a lap dance, baby," she says.
I told her I wanted to find my husband. I didn't feel comfortable going off with her alone (maybe it was that whole gut instinct thing). She walked with me to our table, but he wasn't there, and she pressed on.
"Let's go, baby, I want to dance for you"
So we get in the VIP room, and then she is acting paranoid. She blocks the entrance to the door with a chair, and peeks out to make sure no one can see her. Then she comes to stand in front of me, but instead of dancing, she looks at me, and suddenly leans forward, pulling my shirt down so that my breasts swell out, and starts kissing me....
I have no idea what to do with this. Really, I had no concept of what was happening. All I could think about was, "is this what usually happens in VIP rooms?" She whispers some naughty things, and tries to undress me. She tells me what she wants to do to me.
Then she backs up, and says, "And I charge $200 for that."
What? I am trying to make sense of what is happening, but it looks more and more like I am getting came on to by a ...well, I don't want to make any illegal assumptions...but....yeah, I think she just propositioned me....
And I have no idea what to do with this. She comes back to me, working harder this time. She runs her mouth along my neck and down to my chest, and then...she bites me...in a very personal spot. It was time for me to leave.
I throw twenty dollars at her on my way out the door. She sits down, dejected. "What's this for, baby?"
"For the dance?" I have no idea. I felt like I owed her something. What's the appropriate gesture in this situation?
I walked past her and found my husband, growling and mad. "Where have you been?"
"Let's just go. Let's get out of here."
On the way home, we have a grand fight. He wants to know why I am acting so weird, and when I tell him, he asks me why I am lying to him. This goes round and round. All the while, I am wondering about him, about the times he goes to the strip clubs without me. Is this what happens in the VIP room? I keep wondering, and we keep fighting. He doesn't believe a word I am telling him.
The next morning, I show him the bruise that the bite left on my right breast.
"Wow, I guess you were telling the truth."
But I can't tell him the truth, not really, about how my interaction with her awoke something in me, a hunger, not for women, but for that feeling....that feeling of being wanted.....

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Okay, this was one of the very powerful signs from my journey through Spring the other day. It takes some background information to understand why this image was so powerful to me.

So, this is the apartment that my husband and I lived in between his first and second overseas deployments, somewhere back like five to seven years ago. It was us and the first kid and the first dog, and it was a hot mess back then. This is where I lived when I worked with Ms J that I mentioned in the previous entry. It was before I moved to the house I live in now, but was two years in this house before I left the job J and I shared.
When I moved to the new house, I also got a puppy, my Scout dog, and he was a terror. One day, he decided to "get himself some religion". I've told this story elsewhere in this blog, but here is a shorter version: I was sleeping in on a Sunday, and realized slowly that the door to my room was ajar, which meant the puppy was roaming loose. I walked into the living room, and...what bedlam. Pillow stuffing and torn littering all over the carpet, and worse of all, my brand new fancy leather Bible, chewed and laying agape across my end table, with puppy teeth marks all over the edges.
The Bible was laying open to Job 42: Job Is Restored
That was the only page that was torn, and I taped it back together. The damage to the spine may be permanent, though, as every time I open my Bible now, it naturally falls open to that page. For a long time, I wondered if God wasn't trying to tell me something. I pondered Job a lot in the past five years.
There are a lot of different ways of understanding Job, but this is the way I understand it, short and sweet: One day Satan and God made a little wager about Job, and God let Satan test him. All kinds of terrible things happened to Job, woe and misfortune. Lots of dialogue happens between various characters on why this happened to him, posing the question, "is misfortune always a divine punishment for something?" Job remained faithful to his God, and in the end, was rewarded.
Job was restored. The Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

I drove past my old apartment complex on the way to the dentist. I expected the old apartment to look like it had all the times I have driven past it in the past few years - vacant, empty, run down, the whole complex falling apart at the seams.
This time, though, I was in shock as I rounded the turn. All the units had been freshly painted, and there was a new complex name on the sign.
Bought out.

That's how I feel.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


So, I have prayed often for a sign from God, specifically asking him to reveal his will about a certain issue. I'm not sure signs were ever there, but sometimes I wondered if they were just too subtle for me to understand. I started confessing that to Him, too. I told him I might be a little obtuse. I told him I needed like a billboard or something, something very clear and right there in front of me.
So, the morning the big decision was made on this issue, I was driving to the feed store. I kept turning over in my heart why I felt so much peace, and...happiness. I felt just plain happy. So I start wondering, God, is this a sign?
Then I looked out, instead of inward, and I saw this billboard.

And you know, then I start thinking, maybe these signs have been there all along, and I am just extremely dense. I mean, really, it should have been pretty clear what God's will was when the minister took my hands one day, during a private session with her regarding some other issues. She looked me deep in the eyes and said, "I know you've been praying for a sign from God. Here's your sign.... Leave him." But still, I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. I had to look at it from all the angles, and that took some time.

Anyways, I start wondering what other kinds of signs are out there, what else have I been missing. I drive circles around Spring, running through it with eyes wide open. Here's what I found:I spent some time in the bank, and on my way out, I heard someone call my name. It was a woman I worked with for three years in my past career as a vet tech for dogs. She had been the receptionist, and we never talked all that much, but we had gone to lunch some. I told her what I was doing in there, on our way out. She understands, she remembers me being sad, even then. She looks me up and down."You look really good, for someone going through all that."She tells me that was because God was working through me."It's because He finally gave you the courage to leave, baby. He did that for you, and He will never leave you now. He's with you."And that, finally that, made me want to cry, but not because I was sad, but because I was so damn appreciative. That tricky God. He gave me what I needed when I needed to have it. And it makes me think of Exodus, and the bible study we are doing at church. I think maybe that is where I am right now.

The story we are studying is the part where the Israelites are wandering through the wilderness, and they became famished. They were hungry for meat and bread, and God made them a promise to care for them. At night, quail flew down and landed at their feet, and in the morning, bread rained down from the sky, and "each was given unto their need". And that's a bit how I feel right now. Like manna from heaven just rained down upon me.

There is more I could say about this, Part II forthwithcoming, more photos to share, but...that would take me too deep in this. And it's a good stopping place. Pacing myself....

Monday, February 01, 2010

There was a farmer/had a dog/and Bingo was his name-o
That little ditty was my introduction to "pacing yourself" during a race. Back when I was a "miler", that's the song I used to maintain the right speed for the distance. Three laps of this steady stattaco, and then the fourth lap, let the tune speed up a little faster in my mind, increasing speed by some imaginary 10% at each 100 yard line, until the last straightaway, where I would really let it fly.....
I was thinking about this last night as I started a running program again. I have always loved running, and sometimes I think it is for the same reason I love jumping horses - it's the sensation of flying, I think. It's also a good way to jar loose all those ideas in my head, give them some time to come together to a coherent whole. Sometimes, it's just the focus on nothing but breathing, and that relaxation it brings, that I think is the best part of this solitary sport.
I was a little apprehensive. I hadn't been running for any kind of a distance for over a year. I'd been dancing, but my version of dancing involves some stopping between songs and distractions. This girl from my neighborhood, a woman I know from church, had been running with a group of women and was already at a level I hadn't done since my peak. At the same time, I had a little competitive drive to see if I could keep up.
We met out on a semi-light track in the dark night. She was all business, filling me in on how the running group worked, and leading stretches. She had brought her Ipod, lucky her. I left my earbuds at home, so it didn't help that I had my Ipod with me. So, we decided to talk to each other instead. It was cold and damp on the dark track, the lights from behind the bleachers shining in random half-lit moments.
We talked about some things, the things she never knew but somehow did, the things that hadn't made sense in a long time but now were perfectly clear. We talked about the hard stuff, and she stopped and looked at me. She wanted to give me a hug, and we both thought maybe I would have to cry about that. But no, let's go, girl, it's cool. It actually feels better to keep moving ahead.
Since she knew better than I on how to pace this, I let her set the speed. She started out slow, but steady. I lost count of the laps before she suggested we walk. "How many miles?" "I think about two..." (damn)...we start up again...And it's my eye watching her shoulder, watching for signs to slow down or speed up. I try to think if my Bingo song matches, but no, it's an altogether different rhythm. It's the comfortable pace of conversation, it's the turning of the head, the listening. Running with her was nice, because I didn't have to do the thinking for us; I only had to follow her lead.