I rode Tucker yesterday, after a spell on the Wonderpony. This time, things were much better. I lunged him, then got on and we took a lovely stroll around the farm. I was still nervous, countering my tension with talking. Tucker looked around a bit, but was obedient and relaxed.
My over-reaction and fear made me think a lot about what has been bugging me lately. Because this fear, while at its height while I am riding, lurks within always. It pervades my social interactions: am I making an ass of myself?(which I probably am, but so are others) or am I offending anyone? (if I am, and they don't tell me, is it my responsibility to read their mind? No.)
I have apprehension about my decisions in life. Not Mr.W., but more about my current jobless state. I have a friend who has repeatedly told me, "If you need a job, go find a job. Even if it is at the local deli." Not really what I want to hear. Where is that brilliant career, that makes lots of money and changes the world for the better? Right.
Ok. I'm a bit delusional.
With riding, the conclusion I have come to is simple. I am afraid of falling. It hurts.
And writing, well, I've been working on it. I have a short story in the works, and some chapter outlines for a memoir. The issue with that is, by definition, a memoir is a narcissitic undertaking, and I dread the day when I write something that reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love. Though I guess that fear is unfounded since: A)I wouldn't cheat on my husband then bitch about him contesting the divorce. Oh, but I could write that from the other side... B)I don't meditate. Though Ms. Gilbert wasn't very good at it either. And I think I could learn without going to India. C) Most important, no one is paying me to dump my emotional garbage into thousands of bookstores and, subsequently, movie theaters.
I spew it out there for free.
I admit there is a wee bit of envy here. And, I'll hand it to her, Elizabeth Gilbert doesn't seem to have much fear. Except in committing to a relationship. I have her beat there.
And I still would love to find a small way to change the world. I could always try to write about war victims in the Congo. Except that I don't know any. I'm sure my family and friends would fully support an expedition there. After all, they only kill roughly 45,000 people a month, rape the women, or take them as "wives" if only as a horrid loophole, and force ten-year-old boys to fight for causes they cannot understand.
My sister wants to go to Africa...
Guess I am not that different, from Elizabeth Gilbert. That could be part of my dislike; she represents that part of myself that is white, middle-class, educated, and feels entitled to unadulterated happiness. Not the happiness that comes from new shoes (though I do love shoes), but the kind of fulfillment from being content and comfortable with who you are and the life you lead.
It's about choices. The kind of choices I am afraid to make.
I think, it is at this point that I must remind myself of a woman I graduated with, a woman I am humbled and proud to have called a friend. She has been profiled in Newsweek for the work she has done to educate women in Afghanitan, her home.
Before graduation, she spoke to me and another friend, about her experiences. Of how a small school, really a collection of tents in a remote village, was burned by the Taliban. After the destruction, the girls gathered to learn, salvaging a few chairs and some books, carrying them to a nearby tree, the only available shelter. Beneath this scraggly shade, the girls continued their lessons. The bravery of the students humbled my friend.
Because of her mission to promote female education in the most radical parts of Afghanistan, she is in mortal danger when she returns home. "Aren't you scared?" we asked.
"No." She went on to tell us that her Muslim faith gives her comfort."No one can take my life unless it is God's plan. And if that is what God wants, there is nothing I can do about it."
I'm not there, yet. I doubt I will ever have that much faith and certainty. And I am not sure that I will ever give myself so completely to bettering humanity. I will always be somewhere in between. I'm going to start small, conquering my little fears. But it gives me something to strive for.