Feelings

Ok, I’m ready to admit that this covid situation is starting to wear on me a bit. It has sucked BIG TIME since the beginning, of course, but I am of the “you can’t control every situation but you can control your attitude towards it” persuasion so I was trying to focus on the positive and keep perspective. And in the beginning, that wasn’t too hard. I love being out at the farm all the time, not wasting 1.5hrs of my day commuting, and not having to put real clothes on. I’m also really good at handling solitude, and indeed I prefer it.

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These did make me smile, I ordered them a while back and forgot about them so was happily surprised when they showed up

I have it WAY easier than many (or even most) other people, which I am acutely aware of and immensely grateful. But even I am starting to feel a bit “over it”, which I always feel majorly guilty about and thus don’t ever say out loud, because I do have it way easier than many other people. Like… oh no, poor me, stuck on the farm with my horses. Even I want to roll my eyes at that idea. If you’re going to be isolated somewhere, there is no better place to be. So for the most part I’ve tried to just sit in my corner, not complain, do my part to try to help this pass as quickly as possible, and be grateful.

This weekend it finally started to break through my wall a little bit though. It’s the uncertainty that’s getting to me, I think. The fact that everything shut down right when the SO was about to start a new job, which got put on hold, which technically makes him unemployed. And the fact that I work in the oil and gas industry, which in case you haven’t noticed is absolutely in the shitter in a big major bad way. Cheap gas is fun when you’re filling up your car, but it’s slow death to our industry. Pay cuts are likely imminent, and perhaps reduced work schedules. We’re just trying to weather it, at this point. I am really sad that we had planned on ordering our tiny house right about now, and that’s on hold for the foreseeable future, at least until SO’s job starts or he finds another. I miss seeing my friends. I miss being able to go have lunch with my dad. I miss traveling (RIP Ireland trip that never really even got off the ground). I miss the opportunity to go to horse shows, even if I didn’t take them. I miss chips and effing queso and chicken tikka masala.

But I am SO SO SO SO SO SO grateful that I don’t have to miss this face

On the other hand, every time I start feeling like I want to indulge in a little self-pity, I think this whole thing has been a really big reminder not to take anything for granted. That life can change in an instant. That we are entitled to nothing. How when you strip all the “noise” away, it’s easy to see what’s really important to you. All the things I miss so much are such huge luxuries that it just sounds silly in the grand scheme of things. And that ultimately, I’m an insanely lucky person, even now. Especially now.

Still, sometimes the feelings sneak through, even when you try to barricade them behind positivity and gratitude. A little bit of anxiety and gloominess seeped out this weekend. Which… admittedly might have partially been triggered because I binged all 6 seasons of Schitt’s Creek and a long book series simultaneously and finished BOTH the same day, which kind of left me with an even greater sense of loss because I’m totally one of those people that gets really invested in fictional places and characters. I’m still not over it.

A Wonderful Quote: You Know You've Read a Good Book | Darla McDavid
ME. BIG TIME MOOD.

Thus, naturally, my drug of choice that’s been helping me cope? The horses. They always help.

In one of those classic “can’t tell if I’m losing my mind or finding myself” moments, I may have dressed up Quinnie and Henry in some wildflowers. More than once. It’s the prettiest time of year in Texas, at least, and one day while I was headed out to fly spray Quinnie and bring Henry in to ride, I found myself stopping to pick some flowers. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve done that. Probably not since I was a kid. Both horses got flower crowns. I’m noticing little things like all the different shades of flowers, because that’s what you get to do when life slows down.

Quinnie is now demanding a bouquet every time she’s fly-sprayed

Presto also got his replacement ball at the end of last week, and it’s his new (same) BFF. How would it even be possible to watch him play with his ball and NOT have your spirits lifted? This kid is a one man comedy show. During particularly frustrating work conference calls (of which there are so many now) I can step out onto the back porch with my laptop and watch the horses, which instantly lowers the anxiety level.

I’m also still able to ride, and there is no amount of Xanax that would ever have the same effect as swinging up onto your favorite horse does. I have to admit that I’m enjoying this pressure-free time with Henry, where I don’t feel like we HAVE to have a lot of structure, or we MUST work on any particular thing. I mean… I’d already been doing that for a few months before any of this started, but now I don’t have to feel guilty about it. I haven’t even put a bit in his mouth in like 2 months, and I could not possibly give less of a shit about it. I’m just having fun with my horse, exploring, tuning out the world for a while, and doing whatever we feel like doing that day. And sometimes instead of riding I just sit there and watch him out in the pasture, grazing with his friend, and I get a full recharge of happiness from the fact that he’s happy.

Sometimes Presto follows us down to the ring and watches, which is equal parts cute and creepy.

When I’m looking between those ears, I remember that this too shall pass. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Life might look a little bit different afterwards, but things tend to happen in the way that they need to. Maybe this is an opportunity for a “reset”. If nothing else, it’s definitely changed how I see some things.

Hope everyone is hanging in there, especially if you’re not able to get adequate horse time.

21 thoughts on “Feelings

  1. I’m so sorry work has become such a stressy shitshow for you! I hope things can level off so you have more clarity/certainty in the near future. It sucks to have to press pause/adjust your mindset on so many things you’d accepted as “probable” in your mind. I’m like you in that I can control my attitude but not situations, and I always do my best to choose a positive attitude because it’s so much easier on me and better for my health in the long run. Still, it gets hard sometimes! Fingers crossed that we’ll see some easing into more “normal” territory over the next several weeks.

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    1. I’m hoping that SO’s new job comes through and they’re actually able to hire him soon. That was going to be a big pay increase, and he needs the job history before we go apply for the tiny house loan. And the purchase of the tiny house was the key starting point for everything else we had planned, so… Hopefully it’s just “pause”, and doesn’t have to last too much longer. I can’t control any of that, so I’m trying not to linger on it.

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  2. yeah. I have been WILDLY fortunate to have been able to continue to ride my horse, but it’s really not the same. Time at the barn is regimented and filled with small, careful steps. On Saturday, after a nice long hack, it was warming up super nicely, and another boarder was getting some help with her green horse. Before, I would’ve taken all my tack to the viewing area next to the arena and watched her lesson while cleaning and conditioning. My currently 2 hour time limit at the barn probably would’ve ballooned for 4 or 5 hours of just being there and enjoying the horses, my friends, and all of it.

    Also, in the spirit of just laying it all out there, I REALLY miss XC.

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    1. I feel you. It’s definitely weird. I am really glad that I had already sort of backed off of things anyway and didn’t have any major riding goals or show plans, I’d be having a harder time with all this if I had. I had good timing in that regard. I am starting to miss things though, which I guess is good, because I’d gotten a little bit tired of it all last year. It’s good to miss it sometimes. Just hopefully not for too much longer. 😉

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  3. I think we’re all allowed to wallow a bit and feel sad/confused/anxious right now no matter what our personal situations are and how “good” they are compared to others. I’m glad you have the horses, but you’re right, that’s just one piece of the life puzzle. And not knowing about your job, your SO’s job or really, anything else is super f’ing stressful. I was looking forward to lower gas prices for my drive xc but I keep hearing about how the west is going to suffer because of them. So, cheap gas for this drive will end up biting me in the ass down the road.
    Hope you’re doing ok and know we’re all in this together, if that helps. I want Tikka Masala tooooooo

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  4. ugh so glad you get the opp to stay at the barn where Presto and Henry are!! That helps immensely but it sucks about the tiny house and SO’s job etc and your own job unease.

    I am the same way with a book i really, like i am so sad after finishing 🙂 HA. ALSO I am saving Schitt’s Creek but not sure why. I relate so much to that family some reason (HAHAHHA) and want to wait to see it all (to be fair I have only gotten to season three due to me rationing it 🙂 HA Also love the wildflowers on the horses. They all look so like wtf 🙂

    We drove out yesterday to drop the title off for my horse trailer (Yes sold it a month ago and jsut finally got the title a month later) and we just put it in the trailer no one was home so no contact, and then we just drove around. And ugh. I am ready for a return to normal. We are not night owls and dont’ go out much but it is so depressing seeing all the restaurants trying to survive and all the shops closed (Except LOWES WTF IS WRONG WITH LOWES??) The Lowes we went by was like a normal spring weekend. HUNDREDS OF CARS> PEOPLE THAT IS NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING! I havent been in a Lowes in 2 months. I also give Tractor Supply all my money I can since they are so much better than Lowes about social distancing and limiting people in store and having curbsite pickup. Lowes is making money hand over fist at the expense of their workers and the idiot people flocking in there.Rant over. for now 🙂

    HAHAHHA we got home and sighed in relief. I may be a total homebody once this over. 🙂 Except for horses 🙂

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  5. Yep. This. 100%. *sigh* And on top of all the stuff you said above, there was a mass shooting in Canada yesterday and while I’m not affected (except a bit through work), it is almost just too much. Ugh. I’m actually going to head out the barn (at home) and get some vitamin H to cheer me up a bit.

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  6. Also super thankful to be living on the farm, for Val and the other animals (baby chicks!), and for the stability that morning and evening chores bring – but it definitely took extra effort to cope with anxiety this weekend.

    Anyone else having issues with concentration? My mind has been an absolute sieve. (okay – even more than usual ;D) Paperwork, accounting etc has to be scheduled for peak brain power times, which appear to happen randomly, and I see the ability to multi-task rapidly fading in the rear view mirror…

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  7. I relate incredibly much to this post. Luckily I haven’t lost my job either, and I feel SO grateful to live at home with my horses. I feel guilty being tired of this, when I know it hasn’t actually derailed my life even close to how it has derailed other people’s lives. It’s rough, and I am definitely looking forward to maybe regaining just a little bit more normalcy soon, even if it looks different.

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  8. But inquiring minds need to know what book series!

    Seriously, I feel this in a lot of ways. For the most part I feel like i’m a pretty positive person, I kind of have to be to balance out my husband who usually takes any minor inconvenience as OH MY GOD THE WORLD IS ENDING. And since he’s essential personnel and still working, and views me WFH as like… napping all day? (yes he made the mistake of saying that to me ONCE)… I feel like I have to be extra positive for him, but sometimes it does still suck. Even though I understand I am in the extremely enviable position of having a stable job, the ability to work from home, my horses literally in the backyard, etc etc… but the situation still sucks, no matter who you are. I think it’s natural to feel grief about the things that are happening or that you’re missing because of this situation, even if your grief looks different than other people’s grief. Hugs!

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  9. All feelings are valid, which is something my therapist says when I’m beating myself up for not feeling the “right” way about something. I’m very lucky in that I’m able to work from home and see my horse whenever I want, but I also feel anxious about the future and sad that the things I was planning for this year probably aren’t going to happen. Some days the anxiety and depression hit harder than others, and I’ve been trying to allow myself to feel my feelings without judging them or myself for having them. It’s hard, and it’s even harder when it feels like we’re living in a strange parallel universe where everything looks the same but nothing is quite right.

    But horses are great, and I’m so happy we have them.

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  10. I am also one of the very lucky ones with a stable job (that I was able to easily transition to work from home), a daughter who lives with me to keep me company, a loving BF who isn’t going away even though we haven’t been able to see each other in person and last but DEFINITELY not least, the ability to still ride. My area (40 mi. west of St. Louis) has not been hit especially hard and it’s a small barn with very few people around at any given time. Seeing my lease horse twice a week and working on our show prep (for June, God willing) has been an absolute lifeline.

    Nonetheless, I’ve certainly had my gloomy days. It’s easy to start feeling a bit rudderless and resentful and worried about WAY too many things (especially my mom who’s in FL, over 80 and not in great health). But I’ve got several coping mechanisms: first, I’ve sort of been here before. The isolation/worry/no partner around part is nothing new and in fact, in the past it was worse because of severe financial instability. So I know I am strong enough to persevere now. I also FREQUENTLY remind myself of my blessings and all the good things I have in my life. Making an actual, physical list is very helpful! Finally, I’ve found exercise and/or fresh air are the best. If it’s raining it’s critical for me to at least do my daily yoga. Sometimes I don’t want to but I always feel SO much better afterwards.

    I’ve been reading a lot, too and am having to ration the last book-on-CD I got out of the library for the car (which I’m rarely in anyway). I feel you on finishing something really good… I totally inhabit books, especially those with a lot of character and place description. If I truly love them I just go back and read them over and over because it’s so comforting to disappear into a familiar and beloved story.

    Regarding your job – oh yes indeed, I feel you here. I hope things get better for you. My son is an officer on a Crowley crude oil tanker, doing the Valdez > West Coast route. Currently they are discharging cargo in Port Angeles. He was supposed to get off around April 1, having done a 75-day sailing. Nope… as of now the company is saying no crew changes until May 15 at the earliest. Upside: he’s making bank. Downside: he’s rather over being at sea and having zero days off for four months straight. :/ Not to mention, I’m worried about him HAVING a job in the future. They are not pushing the ship to maximum speed right now, put it that way! I’m very scared Crowley will mothball part of the fleet if prices get any lower.

    On a more positive note, boy does Henry ever look SUPER-handsome in that new bitless bridle! I LOVE it. Absolutely worth every penny. Hoping you will review the new bareback pad you ordered, too – I think you’ve gotten it by now?

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    1. That’s one thing I didn’t include in this whine – aaaaalll the stuff I’ve ordered over the past couple months is international, so I haven’t gotten anything. Not my Mattes pad (It left Sydney 3 weeks ago and hasn’t been heard from since), not my new bitless bridle (the country of manufacture can’t get shipments out), not my bareback pad (it’s… somewhere between Germany and here). It’s all kind of a big bummer lol. Can’t even successfully distract myself with retail therapy!

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    2. RiderWriter, I just wanted to say howdy neighbor! I’m about 100 miles west of STL. Doubly glad for the distance right now since that appears to be one of our state’s hotspots 😦

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  11. I am doing mostly okay but I did have two minor anxiety attacks last week.
    And I feel so guilty because I am in a really good position.
    I can work from home most of the week, my job is not in danger, no one is talking about cutting hours (yet)…
    And I am doing okay on my own. Not feeling lonely, I mean.
    And yet, the situation is starting to get to me..

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  12. One of the best things I have read was something along the lines of “it is ok to feel disappointed or sad over losing x thing while knowing full well you have it lucky in other ways”. I’ve been lucky to remain in work though the stress of running at half volume with two ladies that I love working with depending on me to pay them so they can pay their bills has been really, really tough for me. I hate money and I hate thinking about it and it seems like that is all I can think about the last several weeks as I check my bank account constantly, check their hours, check the next day’s schedule and try to make it all work out so none of us go without. I’ve been fortunate to live on my farm with the horses out back and an arena to ride in if the spiders from hell ever stop biting my horse and making him lame. Got the garden planted this weekend and the new dry lot sorted too. I took all next week off to decompress from the stress of it all. Hang in there.

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  13. I think we are all wandering back and forth between trying to be grateful, positive and downright distressed and depressed, sometimes several times per day. I am also quite fortunate, in that I am retired, my husband is semi-retired so we have our income still. This was going to be his final year and while we are financially secure, with the stock market tanking, we have lost a large amount so he may need to keep working til we recover some of the loss. I am trying to get to the barn several times a week to keep the red mare fit til shows start up again. There is only a handful of boarders and when there is more than one of us, we practice social distancing. I have my better days when I get out to ride, do my yoga and go for walks. The fresh air and sunshine seems to be the best medicine. We are blessed to have a very close family who normally gets together often so I am really missing my grown sons, their wives and our grandchildren. We are staying apart for now and some days it feels unbearable.

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  14. Such a strange time. There’s so much to be grateful for, but there’s still a lot of things that it’s okay to be sad or frustrated about. Things will get better, I’m just not sure when. I hope things work out with both of your jobs. That uncertainty is very stressful.
    Thank goodness you have the horses to keep you sane though!

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  15. I feel really similarly to you. I’m really introverted, so I’ve been absolutely loving the chance to really recharge. I still have a job, and I’m well off financially… I really have no reason to complain. I’m in a lot better of a situation than most people. But I’ve missed my horse – our barn was closed, and just started letting us come back out today. We can’t spend long, but just being able to hang out dropped my anxiety levels a lot! And I miss traveling. Most of all, like you, I hate the uncertainty. I’m also in oil & gas, so that hasn’t helped either.

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  16. I work in the oil and gas market as well and it is a hot mess. I’m trying, like you, to just remember that things will turn around. It just might be some (painful) time. I miss horses, I miss shows, but most of all I’m incredibly grateful to be safe and healthy.

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