Fear and Horses, a Shame Story

My old guy. Trust.

This is going to seem unrelated to the title, but I am participating in a 5 week course on finding your Fierce Feminine. Things in my life have been intense this year. Lots of family stuff coming up, changing, a lot of anger and hurt directed my way by people who have no apparent capacity for self-analysis or any reason to do more than find a scapegoat and who think I should continue in the role that’s been one of my lifelong duties for my family.

In a previous post, I mentioned all of the things I want to do, the callings that I hear in my dreams. The herbs and Reiki and priestess work are all enjoyable ways in which I can help others. These are things I can do to make money, a couple of them are anyway, and I would love most of all to help moms and kids find their health and balance.

Right now you may be wondering: So what about the horse? It’s coming.

I have had my own horse since I was a kid. My mom had horses. My aunts had horses. On family vacations all I ever wanted to do was ride horses. That’s all I ever really wanted to do period. As an adult, horses have kept me sane, used up all of my money, made me feel warm and calm and safe in ways that few people ever have. My identity is very much wrapped up in the being the lady who has horses over there, on the river.

In May of 2012, however, a horse caused me to be very seriously injured. A horse I bought for his extremely calm, quiet nature turned into a rodeo bronc and on about the 6th buck, I bailed off and hit the ground hard. I’m a big girl.  Drop all of my bigness 10 feet and you have impact that’s going to break something. Thank goodness I had a helmet on or I would likely be dead instead of nervous.

Still, I want to ride. I just can’t let it go. I’ve gotten on my old gelding once since then, very recently, and felt just fine. I trust him. Even when he’s being rotten, I trust him. Building that kind of trust with another horse is  going to take some doing. Especially now.

So last night when I called in to the teleconference, the issue at the forefront of my mind was this fear, a legitimate one, of dying. More specifically, I am less afraid of dying than of not being here for my family. That is the specific terror that makes my brain go into, ‘Oh shit I’m going to die if I come off this horse,’ mode. But talking about that fear in front of 30 strangers on the internet, 30 strangers who probably all have these high-flown, deep, altruistic, glistening reasons for being in the teleconference? Well, that’s where the shame comes in.

You see, ALisa opened up my feed so that I could talk. It was kind of difficult to admit that what was coming up for me, in spite of my best efforts to make something more acceptable the focus, was that I want to ride but am afraid that riding horses is going to be the death of me and take me away from my family. (Aside: look folks, Cancer Sun and Moon. Okay?) It was kind of embarrassing to take this out of my dungeon and show it to everyone. It was like they were all holding gold, frankincense and myrrh and here I was, holding camel dung. <and here I laugh ironically> ALisa correctly identified this as a shame story and immediately, I felt relieved. Yes, yes, that’s exactly what it is.

Yesterday my husband and I went to look at a horse that I have previously ridden. He is a beautiful, young, spotted Saddle Horse. His name is Whiskey. He’s sweet and honest and yet he is young and I was scared shitless for at least half of the time I was on him.

You must understand that this isn’t just about the horse and broken backs, it’s about mojo, it’s about feeling like a lot of things in my life are running out from under me. It is, sometimes, about feeling invisible to people who cannot see the strong, capable, fierce woman that I know I am.

I want that validation, at the same time that I want to shun it and feel complete in myself. I want to get on that mother-fucking horse and ride him until his knees crumble. I want to find myself in the mountains again, following the tracks of a mama and a baby bear and to know that my horse and I can get through this together and that my baby who is with me, just like that mama bear and her cub, will also come through whatever we have to face without being bucked off, run over or run out on. That she, as well as I, will come through with her horse intact.

Now go back and replace the word ‘horse’ with the word ‘power’.

The woman who showed this horse to us yesterday says that most of her clients are me. Me being any middle-aged women who have been on the same horse for 15 or 20 years and who want to keep riding, but who are afraid. Many of us have sustained serious injuries as a result of riding. She seems to be evolving into a mentor who helps women work through fear and learn trust again, as much as a riding instructor.

So here I sit with my shame story, my fear, two horses and two women who, whether they know it or not, have coalesced to help me work through this. Either I will ride or I won’t but what will happen is that I will pull this fear and shame out of the slimy bag it’s stuffed into and I will look at it, deal with it and let it go. It is time.

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
This entry was posted in health and well-being, herb/herbalism, horses, personal. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Fear and Horses, a Shame Story

  1. terryperrel says:

    An intense post, warrior woman.

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