Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's Really on My Mind

So much of myself has been about my horse for the past three years that I don't know what to do with myself now that I don't have a horse.

There, I said it.

For years I tied up my identity into being the single girl with the horse.

Case in point: The description of this blog reads:
A single, twenty-something's journey through life. Here you will read far too much about a beagle named Dixie, a horse named Zydeco, and the ramblings of being the person who owns both. I love TV on DVD, novels that make me laugh, four wheel drive, and my rockin' red guitar

The 'About Me' section of this blog reads:
I'm a twenty five year old university graduate who is shocked and appalled to find herself living in the real world. With her parents. In a bedroom with Clifford the Big Red Dog accents. I am engaged in a love affair with a Chestnut Thoroughbred who takes up far too much of my time and money. It is amazing what a person will do for love. I also am overly invested in my beagle, who sits with me on the couch every time I watch television. I've decided that a Bachelor's degree is not enough for me, and so I'm pursuing the steps to getting a Master's degree. Crazy, but interesting nonetheless.

My facebook 'About Me' section reads:

1) Redneck
2) Brunette
3) Addicted to XL half decalf three milk three sweetener from Tim Horton's
4) Closet Smoker
5) Doesn't do high heels (unless those heels are on cowboy boots)
5) In love with plaid jackets
6) Posts way too many pictures of a horse named Zydeco on Facebook
7) Thinking about getting a Master's --> a lot
8) Hates the cold
9) Can't function without a full calendar
10) Generally in over my head

Do I take him off my bio sections? I mean, I no longer own him, so I suppose I have to take him off.

It's just that I really don't want to.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Three Months Later...

This past summer was a rough one for me. I found out in May that my horse's health was ailing beyond veterinarian intervention, and I had to spend the summer making some pretty hard decisions.

Three months and four days ago, my horse was put down.

Mal has said to me numerous times how proud she is that I've done so well. And I have done well: The day after Zydeco was put down, I picked myself up and carried on with life.

At least once a week I go to my good friend and neighbor's house to discuss the problems of the world and drink beer. We enjoy these nights, and that particular night in eearly October, I talked to him about how I miss Zydo, how I would do anything to kiss his face one more time. I have a tattoo for him, he is buried here on this farm, but I feel like I don't know how to mourn or remember him. At that point in my life, I had yet to sit down and cry over my horse.

My good friend and neighbor is a very blunt and honest person, and his words were "Do you want me to come over and build a fuckin' concrete monument for the damn horse? What is it you're looking for here?"

These comments might come off as offensive to some, but to me they are rather helpful. I didn't know at that time what I wanted. But I knew I needed to do something, to feel something.My good friend and neighbor was making a point: A concrete monument over a horse seems a little over the top.

I feared the whole time leading up to Zydeco's death and for weeks after that if I allowed myself to sit down and cry, I would never, ever get up. I would sit and cry forever and never be able to stop. It would be the end of me.

But that night I allowed myself to do what I thought I would never do.I went home, I got out my old mounting block, the one that I used to climb onto my horse's magnificent back. I filled the pockets of my plaid jacket with beer, grabbed my Iphone and sat down beside the mound of dirt that marks where my horse is buried.

And then I sat down and cried.

A day after, I talked to Mal. Does this make me unhealthy? Was it wrong? I feel a little better, but is it really ok to sit beside a mound of dirt, listening to sad music and crying? No. Mal thought it was perfectly acceptable. She thought it would become problematic if, say, I was leaving social engagements to sit beside my mound of dirt. But one night, one bout of expressing emotion? Certainly this is acceptable.

For days afterwards I felt like a weight was lifted and I thought I was cured.

And now here we are, on into November. I don't feel like building monuments and I don't feel like sitting beside my mound of dirt to cry.

But sometimes I still feel sad and sometimes I really, really miss being able to go down to the barn late at night with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, to sit with my horse.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's not a Panic Disorder... It's a Furnace Disorder...

I'm prone to panic attacks, which is no secret. In the past, I would have panic attacks that would last for months, leaving me ravaged, thin, without sleep, and a worry to all around me. (I really miss the thin part, but that's another issue altogether.)

I know that I'm getting better because now my fits of hysteria are few and far between, and typically last an hour. Two hours, on a bad day.

This evening the events of the past month (Which I've no idea how to blog about. I'm thinking on it) and the fact that I've had to cycle around the neighborhood begging rides off people (More on that to follow) began to weigh on my mind and I flew into full blown panic mode. Sweating, freaking out, feeling nauseous and wanting nothing more than to smash my head off a door frame or throw myself out a window.

I used my typical panic attack strategies (Put a name to your emotions! Define why you are feeling what you are feeling! Label it! Label it! Explain it! Focus on the positives! Tell someone how you're feeling! Rah Rah Rah to yourself that you CAN make it through this!) (Sometimes living through a panic attack, as a panick attack veteran, is a bit like having an overzealous cheerleader in your head. She's annoying and you want to punch her blonde, anorexic, full chested self in the face, but after a few moments you realize she may have a point.)

An hour later I was feeling a little better and reading some Marian Keyes, undoubtedly irritating my mother as I read aloud to her the parts that made me giggle.

After I was feeling a little better I realized I was sweating again and thought, Oh, Dear, here it comes again. But the feelings didn't return, just the sweating.

And here is the problem with our house: The staircase is like a wind tunnel, with icy cold air whipping down the stairs and freezing the backs of our necks. After an inordinate amount of time, the furnace catches on to the fact that we're now cold, wrapped in blankets, and contemplating lighting candles to provide extra warmth. Only then will the furnace turn on.

At this point in the evening, the furnace blasts us with an amount of heated air the likes of which the desert envies. It becomes tropical in our house until my mother goes over and adjusts the temperature.

Usually on the way to adjust the furnace (Which happens about five or six times per evening) my mother trips over a dog, a small child, a sword, her laptop cord, my father, or the blankets that have been thrown aside as the heat assails us. Swearing ensues because she is feeling agitated by the heat. She will then re-seat herself and wait for a more livable temperature.

Now that the furnace has been shut off, the wind-tunnel that is our stairs kicks in and we slowly begin putting on our sweaters, wrapping up in blankets, and waiting for the process to repeat itself.

Moral of the story: Not everything in life is a panic attack, but sometimes it takes a minute to realize that this is the case.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good-Bye, Stupid Car....

Eleven months ago, I wrote off my Jeep.

Then, I cried.

For days.

Weeks, even!

Four weeks after the accident, I bought a Saturn Vue. I had good reason for this: My anxiety around driving after my accident was out of control, and when I drove a Saturn Vue afterwards, I felt very safe. It handles great in the snow, I love the manual transmission, it doesn't spin and roll around, and I don't have massive panic attacks while driving it.

Seven days after I bought my Saturn Vue, it had to go back to the shop to have all of its bearings replaced.

And thus began a cycle of idiocy that I can't begin to understand. I have replaced door locks and sway bars, more bearings and more door locks, transmission clips and tires. That car has shaken its way to and from work, refused to drive at faster than eighty kilometres an hour, and occasionally refused to function in first or second gear. If it gets very cold, I'm stuck taking off from third every time because the transmission just won't go into first or second.

What a damn good thing that I'm so good with a clutch.

Today I attempted to go to work and my car was having none of that. It hemmed and hawwed over getting out of the driveway and once I made it to the highway, I was running in lower RPMs in second gear than I was in fifth.

I thought to myself, do I want to risk driving this junk bucket all the way to the city?

Cursing, swearing, crying, and in second gear, I pulled a U-turn and headed back home.

I stood in the hallway weeping over my car. I am so sick of this: I am so sick of not knowing if I will make it from A to B, if I will be able to shift gears on my way there, or if I will be able to make a return trip. My car is in the shop at least once a month and now that I have a regular day job, I can't just call and be an hour late while I arrange for my mother to drive me to work.

And about that. About asking one's mother to drive one to work.

I'm twenty six years old. Should my mother really still be driving me to work? Really?

I'm new car shopping tomorrow and I hope to be back in a Chevrolet by the time the week is out.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Rite of Passage...

I have one day left of hunting deer during rifle season and after that I'll be heading out to the bush for archery season.

I didn't have any success while hunting this year which left me feeling rather deflated once again. I haven't ever even SEEN a deer while in the bush, with the exception of the deer others have pulled out.

On Sunday morning my father thoughtfully started my car for me before we headed out to the bush. I loaded up my gun, a pocket full of ammo, a thermos full of coffee and a ridiculous orange hat and headed to the bush.

Three quarters of the way there, I looked at my ignition.

It was at that point I realized that my father had thoughtfully started my car with the wrong set of keys. The keys that have my gun lock attached to them were sitting in the kitchen.

A more prepared person would have a set of wire cutters or a screwdriver or THE PROPER KEYS on hand.

Not I. In a fit of rage, my mother and I turned the car around and went to retrieve my keys. I was now missing prime hunting time and my opportunity to see the perfect deer.

We returned to the bush and I was rather pissed. The sun had come up at this point and there was little likeliehood of seeing deer. I now have a day job, something I've been praying for since time began, and as a result, I have no free mornings to go hunting.

In a huff, I began stamping my way to my spot, clanking my thermos against my chair because I was certain no deer would appear.

Then I heard Big Brother's voice.

He had shot a deer and needed my deer tag. It was my last day in the bush and using my tag was the best decision since elsewise it would go to waste.

My elation at that point knew no bounds. A deer! We had a deer! I would now get to miss out on time spent sitting not seeing any deer and get to go help pull a deer out of the bush.

At this point, Big Brother asked me if I wanted to clean it.

CLEAN A DEER? I get to clean a deer?

It would be an honor to clean a deer. It would mean the acquisition of new skills and a lesson that has been passed down through generations of hunters. I would get to use my hunting knife for the first time and see if I could actually do something with some modicum of success.

Big Brother talked me through the process. At first I felt exactly like I did in tenth grade biology when I was dissecting a pig. You have to make smooth, clean cuts and not harm the meat or the intestines.

Things started to get a little yucky when I sliced open the rumen with my ultra-sharp knife. I wasn't strong enough to cut through a piece of bone and I wasn't strong enough again to properly clean the windpipe. Big Brother stepped in a time or two so he could lend a hand when the perfect deer he had shot was at risk of being ruined by my lack of experience.

Afterwards we stopped and surveyed our work and had to take pictures of our job well done.

I've been praised and congratulated every time I've told the story of my first field dressing/deer cleaning experience. I recounted the story to one friend of mine and upon hearing that I managed to clean the deer without vomiting, he actually invited me to go hunting with him come archery season.

Some people say that hunting is barbaric, wrong, and disgusting. And I suppose that they are right, there are elements of all those things involved. I, however, just had a bonding experience with my family and was granted the opportunity to engage in a cultural aspect of my lifestyle that I've never had access to before.

And I feel pretty damn good about myself.

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