|That is right... I made some horrible Paint illustrations for this blog!|
As you mature, you learn. Fire is hot, Florida is the lightning capital of the world, Florida has 7 venomous snakes, you are allergic to bees - don't pet them, caves are fun until you have to dig your dad out and you get skewered by an old mining ladder... Important things!
When you take up horses, you learn new skills. How to read when a horse is going to: stop, buck, rear, bolt, spook, or drop a shoulder at a jump. Most of all, you learn to read emotion and intent. When to push a boundary and when to sit and wait.
|More amazing Paint illustrations. You're welcome.|
You reach a stasis. How to be reserved and cautious, and also open and asking.This happened for me in my early 20s. Finally intelligent, experienced, and open enough to realize that working with horses was walking a balance among the emotions of humble/confident/surprise. You hear horses make you humble a lot and they definitely made me humble considering where I started.
And then, at least or me, life happened. I would get hurt, I would let that hurt fester into a gall, and my body would grow over it like it never happened. A broken bone, a concussion, a scary fall. All water under a flooded bridge. Then more life outside of horses happened --- graduate school pressure, and crazy jobs ( I was both bitten by a lemur and yelled at by an Air Force General in the last 5 years.... for work). Finally, what broke the dam was a #MeTooSTEM experience that left me suddenly jobless and scared.
After everything, I fell back on my only constant -- horses --- and found that my comfort level had shifted in flight. Suddenly, small things in and out of the saddle created panic. I could not understand why I felt so afraid and so angry all the time -- even at the smallest things. I went out seeking answers through doctors and therapists and found out I had PTSD. Which makes so much sense. At least one source of stress was immediately eradicated. I was not going crazy I was just different now.
With PTSD, I feel like I operate completely differently compared to how I used to. I used to have a comfort zone that I pushed through into a zone of uncertainty and that was growth. Passed that was my limit --- and probably something I should not be crossing anyway. Now, I feel suffocated by this film of anxiety and fear that I have to break through to get to my comfort zone even with normal tasks. If I manage that, then I can start to push through to growth. Recognizing this definitive difference is a huge milestone for me. For years, I have been comparing pre-PTSD me to post-PTSD me when it is not the same critter at all.
|Pushing out of this BS|
Life happens to all of us. I think we all have a little PTSD -- whether that be from bad falls, car crashes, or some asshole. I think horsemanship in my 2nd act is all about figuring out how I need to adjust to who I am now. What about you? Are you meeting yourself where you are now? Have you accepted who you are today? it is still a process for me.