This is a Ride, Not a Fight

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Personal video Not a poetry or artsy video. Nor it is it particularly wonderful or artsy.

I haven’t made one of these for a whole. Taken 2012/2013. Was going to use this year only but didn’t have enough footage. Sorry about the jello vision in some of the newer clips, my mom doesn’t know how to use my camera and it was too complicated/I forgot to teach her to turn off the image stabilization during video at the time. Also somehow there is no video of my doing anything else besides walk/trot/canter….I do leg yield too! Eeeeh, that’s about it….

Music: Citywide Rodeo by The Weepies

Yes, I know I suck at lunging (still learning) and getting onto horses (no excuse for that, really…)

Horse: Czar (and one clip of Shorty)


I was originally going to use stuff from 2013 only but I didn’t have enough footage.

I don’t know. It so often feels that everything is a fight. A fight to the death – a fight for life, a fight to get what you want, a fight for everything and everybody. And everything seems so far away.

I often feel that I’m not good for anything. There doesn’t seem to be any particular skill I excel at. I suck at some thing and am okay at other. But just okay. Not great. Just okay.

Though I’ve been riding for about 11 years, it doesn’t feel like I’ve really…done anything I guess. I’m still the rider I was many years ago. Granted, yes, I’ve been riding school horses once per week for the last year but still. I haven’t jumped since around 2008, and never got that far anyway (I think I cantered 2′ courses for 2 months) as I don’t know anymore really. I was tired of failing. I like riding on the flat better anyway.  Less thrill, less spill (until you get chucked off) and a lovely way to put fixative qualities to use (other than freaking out).

I do hope that things will be great, will be just as imagined. But the just seem so far away that I….don’t know. But this is a ride, not a fight. There’s no need to resist right? But I feel like I’m clinging, desperately afraid that what is going to replace what I know would somehow be worse.  But this is a ride right? Put your heels down and ride straight, even though sometimes it’ll all go flying through the air again.

As for this fall and beyond? I’m trying not to think about it. I can overthink things until the cows come home (and then ride the cows). Tired of being stuck in places that I don’t seem to belong. Tired of bouncing off the walls. Tired of everyone being better, somehow.

But it’s also hard when you’re not even sure if there is a horsy future ahead. Horses are expensive. Collecting large quantities of monies is difficult – possibly impossible. I’ve never part-leased or leased period, yet alone owned for that reason. Sometimes everything seems impossible.

Anyway, I’ll shut up now.

Waiting to Take Flight

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I’m twenty-three. I pace incessantly down the small corridors of my dwelling, as if I’m a horse confined in a tiny paddock longing for greener pastures. As if I was a bird, grounded and caged.

I long for greener pastures. I long for the skies.

I daydream of the day that I’ll take flight. When I’ll leave this place of stagnancy. One day, when I when I can take my pony and we’ll ride far away (okay, so maybe not so far away…) in search of paradise. One day, when I’ll be doing something useful, that others will care about. One day, when I will be with more like-minded people instead of endlessly clashing over things that no one else understands. One day, when I’ll be free to live my life amongst the beliefs I choose.  Oh and of course the horsy 😉 … even though it’s be years since I’ve jumped since I’m too afraid to fail among other issues (although that’s okay, as I don’t think jumping fits my personality that well so it probably won’t be my main focus regardless). But symbolically, I’ve been grounded, pecking at the round.

It all seems so far away now, so endlessly far away. Impossible to reach.

I feel myself bouncing against the walls of the confined spaces, as the walls close in. Uncertainty reigns and Chaos creeps. Doubt hangs in the unmoving air.

I want to fly. But yet I do not.  I’m not sure if these wings can send me airborne and keep me there. I am a fledgling, having not figured out the mysteries of flight and hopping along the ground, still being close by to be fed.

Oh I’m a different bird, no doubt from the rest around here (and I’m certainly not Big Bird).

But I’m tired with the confinement, the lack of understanding that surrounds, the humdrum of the days that roll by, unyielding to my pleas to slow.

Some days, I’m not sure if I’ll ever fly, if I’ll ever leave the ground, make it over these walls. I’m not sure if I’ll get lost up there or if a storm will pick me up, carry me away where I’ll crash-land somewhere, far from home, alone.

But is this home? I am uncomfortable, as if I’m a strange resident creature of the neighbourhood. I don’t like the children – their insistence to interact with me when I am so far in my own world. The stares. And the – although I haven’t had it in a while the “are you okay?” comments. That always drives me nuts.

I’m not okay, my wings flapping against these walls.  The walls, unmoving.
Unsure of what is to become of me – who I’ll become, what I’ll be, where would I be? Is this enough? Am I enough?  To get to where I want to be? Wherever that is now…

I don’t know. I keep an eye on the darkening sky above, wondering about its omens. My mind sneaks into worst-case scenarios when I’m not looking, while Fear and Doubt run amok.

And I wonder, when will it be the day to fly away…

So unpopular, people need be paid to virtually chat with me too?

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I don’t have friends.  Now apparently, I can’t email someone either and get fast replies unless they are paid to do so.  According to the person arranging a possible new worker, anyway.  Because I’m that unpopular and almost no one will ever spend time with me unless the are paid or have time to spend with me with regularity. As if I wasn’t rejected enough.

If it’s something functional or for scheduling, I NEED a reply right away as I need to plan out my day…week…whatever. Or at least I like to. I need this information, to ease the uncertainty, to make something uncertain certain. Thus, all functional/schedule based emails need to be answered right away or get edgy awaiting them as then I won’t know what’s going on. I become disorientated, uncertain in my crumbling framework of possibility, unsure what is going on next. (My mom doesn’t help these matters either, constantly asking if something is confirmed).

With some exceptions, people only ever hang out with me if they are getting paid. Yes, I apparently I need to pay people to be my friends. I’m just that unpopular. However, I found a way around that a bit – emails! I’m very good in written communications so email  etc is perfect for me. But I don’t get many emails back so I LOVE it when I get replies.

The rest…it can wait, but I LOVE it when reply reply fast. It makes me feel more connected, less of a non-friend. It makes feel that somebody cares. That somebody cared enough to reply back. It makes me smile. I love it. For once, I’m not the only one. I write things to Solitude again and again, but he will never reply. Nor will Fear or Loneliness or Uncertainty or Happiness or any of their friends. Personified entities are great to write for and with but they suck at replying. They also suck for chatting/texting etc.

But the idea that people need to be paid to answer my emails or chat to me online makes me feel even more unwanted. It’s already bad enough that I can’t seem to get anyone to hang out with me without paying them. Apparently, I’m so unpopular that soon people will be charging to answer my texts, emails and online chat. Would it be a nickel for your thoughts, now that the penny is dead? (Yes, and the text costs twenty cents – well,  media theorist Marshall McLuhan did say that the “medium is the message”…not the content). People email, text and social media their friends all the time, I’m sure…oh right, I can’t have friends, that’s not a service I get. Not a service that I’ll ever get it seems.

I don’t get what’s wrong with that. I get that I am annoying. But I don’t get what’s wrong with that, really…having a stupid primitive desire for feedback, validation and comments. Oh I’m annoyed that I have that desire too.  And sometimes, I have looking for feedback. That’s why I’m an English major (I get feedback on my essays and am annoyed when I don’t get it…even when I get a A-) and why English flat classes and hunters at horse shows seem pointless – they are judged competitions but they don’t give feedback per se.

But I like instantaneous communication. If only, I had people to practice it with…

I blame the stupid book that I never finished, House Rules for that realization. In it, the character is made fun of with peers claiming that his social skills tutor is paid to hang out with him (turns out she isn’t)…I kind of got fed up with the book and I never finished it. But I bet the author had no idea how hurtful that sentence was for a person in which that is basically the case. That’s when I realized, that yes, people generally need to be paid to hang out with me with any regularity. There are exceptions and people have hung out with me outside those parameters (especially later on)  but that’s fairly generally true.

And it’s depressing.  But wow, it’s true. I have no real friends.

I tend to use workers as friend analogues, since being paid to hang out with me is the closest I’m ever going to get. Sometimes, it actually does work…many people still have email/online contact with me (yes, they have replied) and I’ve even hanged out with some of them in person even after they have finished working with me…without being paid! It almost always happens, actually (some more than others). So I don’t know why it seems to be so hard to get anyone to work with em or hang out with me or do anything with me….well, other than that I have the social skills of a pet rock that can hide. A sarcastic pet rock. A snarky, annoying, demanding pet rock. Some people don’t get the snarky humour and hate it.  Whatever.

I’m so alone. My family doesn’t get me and they don’t like any of the things I like.  Horses won’t befriend me as I’m not a horse or a horse whisperer (and I’m not there enough or their sole and/or primary rider). I don’t have friends. I can’t have friends.  Not real ones anyway. I’ll just have imaginary ones and that way, there would never be a disagreement ever.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever have friends. In a way, life seems easier without them. I may never have close friends. I may will never have a BFF. Not now, possibly not ever. Besides I have lots of hobbies to do on my own.  Still, the feeling of being rejected by the world floods into these dark, lonely spaces.

I haven’t met a friend since elementary school (and much of the time they were younger than me…or I hung out with adults). I haven’t had close friends since early high school. Even when was hanging out at the barn helping day camps one summer, I never really befriended the other two younger girls (they 12, I was 16). Sure, they let me hung out with them. That was about it. It was cool, I suppose – it was the closest I had for friends in years, people to hang out with. But that’s it…I knew those two were closer to each other and everyone else than me. I was the third wheel, the person that was there just because I happened to be around. That didn’t last too long though – I more or less got “laid off” since they only wanted 2 helpers per week and I was not it. I was so not it. Even if it wasn’t because I sucked, it was because that others had other people they would rather hang out with.  Because  I was out of place again – they were all younger than me, richer than me and better at horses and riding than me (I had other issues with riding at the time but that’s still how I felt).

I don’t make friends. It doesn’t work for me. Or at least it hasn’t.

So I try for friend analogues. I may not be their “real”  “friend” (both words are disputable as far as meaning is concerned) but they can perform some of the functions of one. Emailing makes it feel less like I’m some sort of job for them and more like a person. If they don’t like it, then too bad. Others seem to manage fine. Sort of. Maybe not. Who knows. They don’t HAVE to reply unless it’s a functional email (scheduling, planning, need to get information). Information by definition is a way to decrease uncertainty according to some thinkers. That works for me. It’s not the same as knowledge, that is different.

Right now, my best friend is Solitude.  I wish I could replace that with some sort of equine (even though Solitude will always be my BFF in some way). But it’s so not happening now…

The Odd Duck Out

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Photo: I’m not even sure what kind of duck this is (the rest are definitely mallards).  Based on my research I believe it may be a “manky mallad”  of some sort but I am not certain. Still, odd duck – even more fitting! Photo shot and edited by me. Reifel bird sanctuary, Summer 2012.

I have always felt like the odd duck out. The odd coloured one. The one that people had a strange fascination towards but still never befriended me. The ungainly ugly little duckling that no one wanted to play with (growing up didn’t make it better either).  The one who is even unsure of who one is. But still, no matter where I was or who I was, I never quite fit in. Duck. Duck. Duck. Weird duck. Duck. Duck.

For one, I am not good at math nor have a May birthday (much of my family is). I am a girl (unlike my any of cousins as a very young child). I am quite literate and occasionally artistic (my family isn’t). I like horses and of course, my family doesn’t either. When I was a child…no one really wanted to play with me. At least, not the “typical” children. Like the odd duck, I never really understand why no one wanted to play with me but I accepted it. I mean what else you do, demand people to play with you? (I may have tried it. If I did, it did not work.)

I never had really close friends or best friends (if anyone becomes my BBF….congrats, you’re the first)…all my friends were always quite light, superficial. I only had friends as a younger child. By high school, although there were a few acquaintances within classes, I had mostly become a loner.  Undergrad – both my lower levels at a local college and my upper levels at a local university was a massively isolating experience.  People talk about social lives in college/university, but I don’t think most understand how profoundly isolating it is when all you do is go to class and you don’t really have any social skills.

I ride horses too and I’ve been riding for a while (never said I was good at it…but I stay on most of the time).  Did I make any friends there? Of course not! Even common interests cannot bring me together with a friend (even though it felt like I sucked at horses compared to everyone). I did eventually had some acquaintances when I hung out at the barn…but still never friends and it was not uncommon that they ignored me. I always felt like the tag-along…thing anyway even though I was older than them. I wished for a equine friend but that didn’t quite happen either. I guess you need the horse to do that…or better horse or friend-making skills. However, I got bullied around by a young horse ….interesting but not quite the “special relationship” I was looking for. Class divides (oh they exist so much) aside, I’m also nearly the only flat-only mostly recreational rider in a barn full of jumping show horses…things that I don’t do. Even if I did jump (and I don’t for several confusing reasons), I’ll never show at that level. It’s a sport for the privileged and I will admit that equestrian is elitist…and I am so far from that socioeconomic class, it’s not even funny. That would likely never be a part of my world. Oh yes, the inferiority complex is alive and well (not as bad as it has been though).

I never had pets as my family is not into animals so I had relatively limited exposure to them. I rarely had any close friends. I was always the odd duck out, alone. Whereas it got better for the ugly duckling, it got worse for me as I got older. I did not become a swan, instead I became more isolated, odder. The one that people ask if I’m okay or lost as I wander out, or stare out into space, mind lost in thoughts. Eventually, I would be the one that people may be slightly fascinated in (at least during high school) but remain distanced. As if I was wearing different feathers, a different pattern than the other ducks that everyone looks at but find it’s too different for them. I stand aside, never fully included and never fully belonging.

I go to school but I am isolated, distanced even though we are all in the same place. It’s as if I occupy a different dimension than everyone else, momentary disseminating and reappearing randomly. Sometimes we see each other, but we hardly ever interact. The two dimensions rarely  “Integration” is a misnomer. I may have gone to class with “typical” students. I may did the same academic work that everyone else does. I did “integration” periods in elementary school and was eventually fully integrated by grade 10. But again, “Integration” is a misnomer. Just because I occupy the same space as “typical” students does not make me part of their world. The rest of the ducks make friends, socialize, while I waddle off, on my own in search of my own pond. I still haven’t found it.

But I’m tired of not belonging, in nearly every space.

Yet,  I don’t want to be like the other ducks.