Shore leave… ?

By the life skills equivalent to baling wire and duct tape, I am holding this place together. I write, occasionally sell a painting and give daily riding and horsemanship lessons. I trade lessons for part of our hay needs. I trade tack and tools for hoof care when I can’t keep up with it myself. I do my own Vet work as well as the hoof trimming. I am the captain of this ship. My brother says that a lot about me.

I’ve added filling out forms for Medicare and Medicaid, scheduling doctor and hospital appointments, juggling payments to over a dozen medical providers and the making of my own toiletries to my repertoire. I must tell you, after my “used for decades” crystal deodorant became irritating to my underarms, I found that pure zinc oxide not only healed them but is a deodorant as well and adding patchouli oil made it even better.

With a band of parents-of-students and caring individuals covering for me when there were 40 hours of tasks to be done in 4 hours – I have seen the best of people. We are a tribe. A love based group supporting each other in ways I could not have predicted.

Every business coach has told me to make a 6 month plan, 5 year plan, 10 year plan… Crikey, I can’t think about 10 days in the future. I am surely not a businesswoman. Yet, a friend told me that my life was chaos, but she said that I handle chaos quite well. Hmmm… a compliment, I think (meant as one I know), but I would like to try handling overwhelming quiet and napping and traveling about the countryside. Probably not to be for captains.

This has been a day of writing (and power outages, with unsaved docs to be rewritten later), a day of reflection and contemplation. I am alone. There are 7 horses and 3 dogs in my life… and a brother whom I see briefly in the evenings before he retires to his house across the stable yard. Students come (today there are no lessons) most days and I talk with some friends now and then. But, I am on my own in the grand scheme of “holding it all together”.

I have a friend who speaks of “cut and run” when someone decides to move and start over… I’ve thought about it. I don’t have that option. I’m the captain. I’ve built this ship from nothing and she sails brilliantly, if modestly, into the world of compassionate horse and human relationships. I have envied those who stand with a partner or a spouse and share the command of their ship – the responsibilities and the authority. But my lot has been as the sole commander through most of my life. And it started at a very young age.

My mother will return to us and her home here in a matter of weeks. I do not know what duties that will include for me again. I know that I will do the best I can. I remind myself of bucket baths when I lived in the shack, of hauling my own sewage across 2 acres when I worked in EAP, of being homeless, of living in a pasture with my horses and pooping in a bucket of leaves… things have been a lot worse! I love my little home and I love my life. The one thing I can be in charge of personally is my own state of mind. I find that music is a huge factor for me. What I listen to day in, day out can influence how I feel and how I relate to this world around me.

I don’t give up. I think there may be an indoor arena or a Jaguar or an incredible life partner in my future – and that’s not crazy because, in actuality – I have had those in my past! I have been the captain of a multi-faceted, ever morphing ship that confuses the willies out of me most days and keeps me believing that everything is possible. Onward…..

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