Posted by: Judy | May 29, 2012

Back to the beginning…

I’m hoping that by starting at the beginning, I will somehow create a new picture or a more complete picture. Not the beginning, beginning, but the beginning when things started to change. Today’s post is about laying the ground work. I’ve collected a lot of puzzle pieces over the last ten years. I want to see what’s revealed now.

I spent so much of my life stumbling along. I’d make plans, and God would laugh. I reach the point where I decided planning ahead was a fruitless activity. What was the point if something was going to come along – something I hadn’t anticipated – and change everything? Because it always did. I couldn’t even plan my life a week in advance sometimes. Planning a day in advance was a challenge, from time to time. Occasionally, planning an hour in advance was too much.

So I lived my life a bit at a time. What happened happened, and what didn’t didn’t.

It’s sounds flaky, and by all accounts and purposes, it was flaky. That being said, I was blessed with some amazing experiences.

I remember, in my late 20s or early 30s, someone trying to minimalize my personal sorrow over being single. (I’ve mentioned it here before, but for anyone new reading, all I ever wanted to do was marry and be a mother. It didn’t happen.) They told me I needed to take the opportunity to fulfill my dreams because once I was married, it was all over.

Wait… What?

By that time, I knew I’d seen more and done more in 25 years than most people did in a lifetime. I’d fulfilled every dream I’d had up to that point and several I’d never imagined. For example, this was before I owned a horse.

Though my philosophy of planning was flaky, it served me.

For years, I talked about my wanderlust, then I decided it was time to take off the gypsy boots.

So much of my life was in quiet turmoil. I would pretend all was calm on the surface. I adopted a dog. She became a grounding force in my life. Being flaky didn’t cut it. She had to be fed and walked and cared for, every day, no matter what. She was a constant. Then I adopted a horse. The dog was incredibly flexible in comparison. Then again, I wasn’t the typical horse owner. I boarded my horse not far from home. Every day, for five years, I drove out and grained and groomed. We didn’t ride much. Riding wasn’t the point of our relationship. There is something about the association with an equine, unlike with my canine. My vet once quipped that if reincarnation was real, then she wanted to come back as my horse or my dog.

My dog adored me. She would do anything for me. My horse was disdainful and not particularly trusting, but there was a bond between us. My dog was my angel child, and my horse was my problem child. I loved them both, and they both taught me different things, and yet it was the same: Old dogs can learn new tricks, and trust is earned not by what you say but by what you do. Healthy relationships are worth the pain and time and effort.


Responses

  1. Beautiful post, Judy. What a blessing to be able to own a horse. I love horses. I would love to have a dog too but I am allergic to them. Being around animals makes us more rounded people. My parents were never into pets, the only thing close to pets we ever had were some chicks and baby ducks that as soon as they were big enough they went in the pot. (You can imagine the trauma for us kids seeing my father chase the ducklings with an axe). As far as my father was concerned animals were food or workers- as in guardian dogs, etc-. I started liking dogs later in life, mainly because for some reason they seemed to like me, if we were in house where there were dogs, they would always come and sit near me. Same with cats, once we went to a friend’s for dinner and this kitten came and sat on my lap and did not move all evening. It really puzzled me until someone who owns dogs said to me: animals can tell what a person really is.

    • They are discerning creatures. My dad’s a farm boy, so he was of the same mind as yours. Yes, owning a horse was a blessing, an unlooked-for miracle and a lot of hard work. 🙂 He taught me hard work wasn’t about punishment.

  2. Wonderful post, Judy!
    I, often times, find myself remembering what “used to be”, before I took my first step into the unknown. As you, my constant was the dogs I adored over the years. I have one who died from cancer several years ago, that I still miss and think of often.

    We have a couple of differences…I’ve been married a couple of times, though I could never make it work (abuse was one major reason). I had my kids. I was always controlled in one way or another, so I absolutely COULD NOT see ANY of my dreams to fruition. I’m only just beginning to see some of them begin to take shape. In my case, it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t ever been married. I was too afraid of my own shadow to make any of my dreams come true. The men in my life, only re-edified all of my “lack-of” issues. Lack of self-confidence, lack of self-worth…I’m 45. I’m still, in a sense, stuck where I was when I was 20. One thought, though. Without the abuse in my life, I wouldn’t have found the fight I needed to start pushing past all the fear. Granted, it’s because of a psychopath that I have found that ability, but the fact remains…I wouldn’t be “here” without them. Especially the monster.

    I wish I was like you…able to see your dreams through, in-spite of any uncertainty. Fearless 🙂

    • So many of my unhealthy patterns were started in childhood. It’s only been the last few years I’ve started to change the old habits and patterns. I’m not grateful for the abuse in my life; I’m grateful for making the decision to make different choices. You could have done what so many have done: Chosen to stay where you were. You didn’t. That is huge, amazing, fantastic.

      I have to admit, seeing through a lot of my dreams felt like falling off a log. Opportunities presented themselves, and I took them.

      Oh.

      A lot of the things I did weren’t because I’d always dreamed of doing them, but because an opportunity presented itself, and I thought, “Why not?”

      Marrying and children was the only dream I planned for. I took classes, read books, watched programs. Everything else seemed to fall into my lap, and I simply picked it up. I didn’t have to plan, just show up.

      My writing is the first time I’ve had to decide to pursue it and work at it for years without seeing success. In fact, I remember the first rejection letter. I was devastated. The difference was that I didn’t give up, thinking it wasn’t meant to be…

      Wow… hadn’t realized that before…

      Thank you!!

  3. thank you, too! “Wow… hadn’t realized that before…”…that is exactly what I’ve experienced in talking with you and others. I get a lot of those “wow” moments.

    It’s a wonderful thing that you haven’t given up. I believe it’s the things that you have to fight for, that will become something priceless in the end. Something great and wonderful. It’s like an entity is fighting against you, because it doesn’t want you to succeed and is fearful of your potential. Keep writing! You will be a force to be reckoned with, and your books will help SOOO many people! (as we all well know, it’s in the writing..while it helps others, it also helps our selves!)

    • I think it’s in the sharing, and writing is sometimes the easiest. 🙂 I’m certainly grateful to all those who have shared this journey with me.

  4. I agree with the vet, being your dog or horse would be a wonderful life. Hugs, I know you miss them both. They were both so blessed to have you in your life and you were so blessed to have them. You have done amazing things and your are doing more. You made a huge difference in my life. Counseling is tough and you assured me many times that I could do it. Thanks and hugs.
    Ruth

    • (((Ruth)))

  5. Lovely post Judy, this stirred up some memories for me.
    Some of my closest bonds have been with horses and dogs. My first little dog was a spaniel; a neighbour offered my parents the runt of the litter. He was a sickly dog, and rest of the family couldn’t be bothered with him but we bonded immediately. Though I only had him for a short time, he meant the world to me.
    I remember my father raising his hand to me one day and my little dog growled at him and stopped him in his tracks. I was so proud of him for trying to protect me. In fact he was the first sentient being to do that for me. He was a tiny little thing with the heart of a lion. Animals can certainly teach people a thing or two.

    Molly x

    • Thank you so much for sharing your dog here, so heartwarming. ((Molly))

  6. Old dogs absolutely can learn new tricks, as my learning to play guitar is proving to me. Not that I doubted it. Wouldn’t it be horrible if we all stopped trying to expand our experiences and selves and stayed stagnant and complacent?

    As for those folks saying that life ends at marriage & motherhood, I say “bollocks”! Where Is it written that I become a non-person when I forge a bond with another person? I get itchy when people say that their lives became in service of their children and homes and jobs outside the home. It’s a choice to sacrifice everything, but not a necessity. In fact, martyrdom tends to breed resentments for those of us who are not saints.

    Balance in all the things, in as much as we can achieve it, leads to more satisfactory lives. I only had one kid because I didn’t think I could handle more. I don’t feel bad about this decision despite so many people pestering me about giving my son a playmate sibling when he was younger. Frankly, my son always said he didn’t want a brother or sister unless he could put then away when he was done playing with them. (I thought this was rather astute and hysterical coming from a 5 year old)

    I’m glad you are not afraid to flex your wings and stretch yourself. Giving up dreams is not a good plan for a happy life unless those dreams are unreasonable or they give way to new, different dreams.

    Be proud of yourself! Fly!

    • Thank you! I’ve always thought it odd when people complain about losing their freedom once married, and I think of how curtailed a single person is. Doesn’t a person marry because they want to spend their life with one other person? Doesn’t marrying give you the freedom to do exactly that? If a person thinks they’re a servant, they have no one to blame but themselves…

      Oh, wait… we’re back to having healthy boundaries.

      I suspect a lot of children felt like your son, but had to figure out how to live with the reality.

      You’re right about the need to have dreams.


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