I'm currently not riding right now; I've had to stop in late 2010 because of health problems that have made it unsafe. Problems with an untreatable, proximal positional vertigo being the main one as well as excessive weight gain, unpredictable heart fibrillations that cause dangerous lightheadedness, and a still as yet undiagnosed muscle atrophy, weakness, and neuropathy, have made it difficult to make any progress on anything let alone dressage. I don't really know if my riding days are over or not. I hope that I can return to normal health. But I just can't feel confidence in that happening as things seem to continue to slowly decline. And to make it worse, other than the vertigo and heart issues, the doctors can't seem to find anything medically wrong with me.
I've really been missing my time just being around those great creatures. Grooming, hugging, leaning on, sitting on, smelling their sweat, picking their hooves, pulling their tails, giving them treats, whistling little songs to them while they crowd around me out in the paddock, rubbing them on the brow and behind the ears until they practically fall asleep while their snotty snout is pressed into my stomach. I've gotten so close to them now that I have gotten the point where I wish I could be one. It's that way with all the animals I've ever made a connection to. I see them as innocent, free spirits, always in the moment, with wonderful beauty and pure unconditional love. Who wouldn't want to be them?
Not to get too far off subject, as if there ever is a subject on a free-write post, but ever since I was 5 years old, I've spent much of my waking imagination in silent contemplation wondering what it would feel like to actually be one of the many animals that have occupied my waking sub-conscious. I say 5 years old because that was how old I was when I had my first lucid dream that involved an animal. It was a tiger. In that dream I also became a tiger and experienced an intimate and spiritually deep connection to the tiger that appeared to me. I also felt a strong desire to never want to leave that dream and have pondered the experience off and on for decades since. I don't know why I still remember that dream so vividly 35+ years later, but it was a life changing experience. One in which I don't really know how to explain, and it continues to be meaningful to me now, as well as many other similar experiences that I've had since, both in waking and non-waking dreams and meditations. And aside from the apparent, if not superficial, similarity to the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, it was nothing like Calvin & Hobbes, although I really do love that comic.
Only in recent years have I bothered to seriously look into these dreams to find out more about their possible significance and meaning. And quite surprisingly, I've found many communities for that aspect of my life spanning from Therianopthy, to Native American spiritual traditions to the Furry Fandom. So at this point, I can honestly claim I'm a furry and oddly enough, I actually couldn't care less about all the stigma and stereotypes associated with furries. They are my people, drama and all.
just to get it off my chest I suppose. I haven't had a pet in my life for over 10 years. That last one was a female tuxedo cat, who I still really miss. We had a very special bond, as I've had with all the cats I've ever had. She was always begging me to hold her up to the lights so that she could get at the moths. I don't think I've ever gotten over her death. She was suffering from an Alzheimer's like disease and it totally fucking sucked to see her go through the states of confusion she often went through. She was only 12.
|(1989-2001) picture taken circa 1994|
Anyway, I wish I had the strength to just go down to the riding school again, but I also can't shake the feeling of being out of place there as if I don't belong. It was easy for the most part to forget about that feeling when I could just jump on my horse and trot around the arena as it was just me, the instructor, and the horse. But when I'm not riding, I become acutely aware of the dozen people there, and I am the only male. And of course, the troublesome pink elephant in the arena that I wish wasn't there despite the common stereotype that all male dressage riders are gay. I don't live in a gay friendly part of the country and there is always someone reminding me of that fact.
Some days I really hate my circumstances. I really resent the shit my life has now. And quite often I forget that in many other ways I have it really damn good! It's as if one aspect of my life got amazingly better while others have reached their shelf life and are about to expire. And it's those expiring parts that I never had the chance to make something of them. For each day that passes, I find something new to regret.
But, to avoid making this post a complete downer, I will include this cropped picture of me wearing my riding boots. I'm on a horse.
|Yeah, yeah, I know, toes forward!|