A Happy Beginning

“We carry belonging with us in our heart.” ~Brené Brown

The need to belong is a basic urge all humans feel. My entire life, I have felt different, and I have felt like I don’t belong anywhere, or in any one group. I’ve had numerous painful fallouts with friends, especially groups of girlfriends, because when a group turns into a clique, I refuse to lower my vibration to that level. I have tried to find belonging in various clubs in high school and college, and in various social groups since then, but I have always felt apart. The only place I’ve ever felt true belonging is with my horses.

My journey since college graduation has been windy and uncertain. For eight years, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this one precious, amazing gift that is life. At times, I felt sure I had figured it out, only for that path to come to a dead end, but I never lost faith. When a door would close, I knew the universe had something else in store. The only two things I remained sure of during these past eight years is my love and passion for horses and yoga. I knew that no matter what, I had to keep horses and yoga in my life.

An idea began to form that maybe one day I could have my own business incorporating horses and yoga, but I thought that would be further down the road after some other career that I would find. Well, it looks like the universe has its own timeline, and the time for me to have my own horse yoga business is NOW.

I’m ecstatic to announce that I’ve found the perfect, most serene and beautiful farm to lease—there’s even a space that I’m going to turn into a yoga studio! The farm is located here in Virginia among the gorgeous mountains with thousands of acres of ride out, a huge outdoor arena, and great paddocks for turnout. The barn itself is pretty much my dream barn, too. Once I took the leap and trusted the universe that the time for me to start this business is now, things have been falling into place so easily that I almost have a hard time believing it’s real. But real it is. I wake up happy every morning. Moving into this dream and making it a reality has reignited something in me that has been dormant since some trauma I went through around age 10. I feel joyful again. I’ve released my fear. I’ve let go of doubt.

Where there is light, there will also be darkness. My facility is going to be a training and boarding business that focuses on helping people develop deep, meaningful relationships and bonds with their horses. In addition to mounted riding lessons that focus on teaching centered/balanced riding, I’ll also be teaching programs on the ground and in the round pen that teach people how to communicate with horses on an energetic, psychic level. Needless to say, my barn is going to be different, and that’s how I want it to be. I know it will attract the right people and horses.

The dark side to all of this is that I’m finding out who doesn’t believe in me or support me. True friends are happy for others’ success. True friends believe in you no matter what. True friends support you in your endeavors. The thing is, I don’t need anyone else to believe in me, because I believe in me, I know what’s true in my heart, and I know I’m on the right path. I DO have wonderful, amazing people in my life who believe in and support me, and the few I’m finding out who don’t, well, that’s not my problem.

I’m grateful for every single chapter of my life, but I am so excited for this next one. This isn’t a happy ending, this is my happy beginning.

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Embracing My Bitch Self

A friend and I got into an interesting conversation over dinner the other night. Old wounds were brought to light and I was reminded that I still have healing to do. My friend asked me why I lie down and take “it.” “It” being confidence-crushing, self-esteem-erasing emotional abuse. He reminded me that I’m stronger than that and I don’t need to be passive when someone attacks me. Last year I was assaulted. The assault was mild, but my psyche was still affected. During the assault, time stood still. I froze. I had no reaction. I didn’t fight back, and I wish I would’ve, I wish I could’ve.

In college my boyfriend at the time once held me down after I refused his sexual advances. I thought he was going to rape me. In those moments, too, I froze. I wish I had fought back, bitten him, kicked him, screamed at the top of my lungs. Instead I was lost in the surreality of the moment, frozen by the disbelief that someone I trusted might actually violate me in the most horrific manner possible. He didn’t, but I still got a taste of that fear.

As a child, I had an emotionally-abusive stepfather for a few years. So many times when he was yelling at me or my mom, I wanted to scream back at him, I wanted to shove him out of our home, I wanted him to be gone and I didn’t care how. But that’s not what nice little girls do, so I kept my mouth shut.

Physical and emotional abuse make the victim feel powerless and helpless. I’ve held my tongue during many incidents of emotional abuse for fear of only making my aggressor angrier. The thing about remaining passive, though, is that it doesn’t work. We need to learn to stand up for ourselves, and if the aggressor doesn’t back down, to remove ourselves from the situation. I know that isn’t always easy or possible, but it is necessary. We need to stop worrying about being “nice,” “ladylike,” and passive. We need to own our space as women and remind the world that we do, indeed, have a right to take up space, to speak our minds, to control our bodies, and to fight back when we are attacked. Men can be victims, too, and right now we all need to stand together.

After an emotionally-trying 2016, I’ve decided to embrace my “bitch self,” as another friend called it, and make 2017 the year I fully accept and love that part of myself. My bitch self speaks her mind, doesn’t take shit from anyone, doesn’t sugarcoat the truth, acts with purpose, takes care of herself first, stands up for others, doesn’t try to temper her passion, loves fiercely, and cuts out those in her life who would try to bring her down. I encourage everyone to embrace her (or his) bitch self this year. Those coming into power in this country will try to silence us, hold us down, take away our rights and freedoms, so we must fight. The world needs us. We need each other.

All I Needed

I needed you

but you needed to be

somewhere else

So I put off needing you

for a little while

But then the needing crept back in

and I asked you

I asked you to return to me

and you said

“Not yet”

So again I put off the needing

shoving it aside

telling myself I was okay

Convincing myself that I could

stand needing you and not

having you

a little while longer

But something happened

every time I needed you

and you weren’t there

I had to stand on my own

I had to be there for myself

and every time

I fell apart

I put myself back together

without you

Eventually I realized

that I never had you

and that I never really

needed you

I only needed myself

So I want to thank you

for showing me how to

stand on my own two feet

how to truly follow

my heart

and be true to my soul

and for showing me

that all I ever really needed

was me

From Breaking to Becoming

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After you left

I forgot the sound

of my own laughter

I forgot

how to move my lips

into the shape

of a smile

I forgot

how to take

a deep breath

I forgot

how to stop blaming

myself for everything

bad in this world

I got lost

in the shadows

of my own soul

and forgot

that I even had one

Slowly miraculous things

started to happen

I’d go hours without

thinking of you

The moment I remembered

would stab my heart

but each time

I got stronger

I survived

I am still here

I remembered

I had other reasons

to live

to love

to laugh

My world stopped revolving

around the sun

of your false promises

I became

my own sun

and nothing

will ever

put out my fire again

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