I write nothing for nearly 4 months then 2 posts in 2 days! Part of why I hadn’t been writing was I started my Equine Assisted Therapy training in July. I had deferred it due to mum’s health but her improvement and encouragement from a friend that I shouldn’t put my life on hold meant I contacted them to see if I could join and I could! It is fascinating, exciting and resonates with everything I’ve ever thought about animals, their sentience, wisdom and value. I stopped eating much meat as a result. I also found that practicing the body based awareness brought up feelings and experiences that I thought I’d left behind me. My desire to be a good student, to perform and impress led to a meltdown when I thought I’d lost an online assignment. Between the course, work, the horse and family I was very busy but felt fulfilled and on the right path. I was excited and nervous about the first in person horsemanship experience. Worried my failings would be exposed as you can’t fool the horses; and again the need to impress. Then I got Covid and couldn’t go. That was about a month ago. Missing this put everything else in doubt.
Since then I’ve ground to a halt. Mum was ill and then C again, and now me again. I haven’t read anything, I’ve not ridden much, and I’ve smoked more cannabis. I’ve done very little yoga, and no meditation. It’s like a switch was flicked and I’m back in my old patterns with the accompanying sense of “is this all there is to life?”. I can resume in the Spring with the new cohort but I’m nervous about it now. What if mum is sick or dying? Which horses shall I use for practice? It all seems too complicated and my initial enthusiasm has gone.
Writing this now I can see that the performance anxiety is about ego, and the fear of not being good enough or exposed as such. The horses have no ego so they won’t care. They care about authenticity. Also that the cannabis pulls me back into this inertia. I was heartened to learn from my reading that the ancient horse women of Europe used cannabis as their drug of choice, putting it on the coals of their saunas – effectively hotboxing! Perhaps they’re my ancestors! I use it habitually though, and that’s what I want to change but right now that seems too hard. When I was busier it took up less time and space but addiction jumps on every opportunity it can and here I am again in the half-way house.
I know I won’t go back to alcohol though. Two friends got married this month and my best friend B came to visit so I’ve been more social between bouts of illness. Both weddings were 2nd time around and both love matches. The first was not a boozy affair and my friend had got plenty of AF options in. I really enjoyed it but we left early. My social battery (to borrow a young persons phrase!) is really not very strong and I’d had enough of talking. As me and C walked back to where we were staying under the stars I remembered that as a child I would take myself off with the animals, away from the busy house full of people. I only became an extrovert when I discovered alcohol.
The second wedding was awash with alcohol and other substances – much like both of mine were! The one bottle of AF Prosecco got lost so I had a glass of champagne in front of me for the toast. I reasoned that a few sips or even the whole glass in this context would be ok. When we toasted the happy couple I took a sip. It was vile! I passed it to my friend. As the evening went on I danced a bit but felt again as I did as a child; on the outside looking in. Now I know what it’s like to be them whereas back then it was all mysterious and incomprehensible to me. I left early again.
Whilst part of me is wistful that I’m not that party girl anymore; mostly it all seems very shallow and meaningless to me. I read somewhere today that when you embark on a spiritual awakening you can be perceived as boring and lose friends. Boy does that ring true! I try really hard not to be judgemental but I know if those friends read this they would feel judged. I feel similarly about conversations about new cars, new kitchens etc. No wonder my social life is minimal these days!
Thankfully B’s visit was not the same. We saw The Unthanks which was wonderful, ate nice food and she came to meet Puff – something most of my friends have never done. We laughed and talked about all sorts and the feelings I describe above were not there at all. She knew me as a child though we only became close in our teens but I wonder if that’s why we have a more authentic connection? Time with B is always a tonic and I’m so grateful to have her as a friend.
I’m sure I’m not the only introverted person who’s obscured their true nature with alcohol over the years. That little girl who prefers animal company over human is beginning to come out of the shadows. Perhaps she can finally grow up now.
Charles Bukowski – image from https://bekitschig.blog/2019/07/08/who-were-you/