Stuck.

My daughter was stuck. I had put her on the plane to go see her dad, like we do every Christmas Break for the past 6 years. This year was different. This was second time she would make the flight by herself. No flight attendant to make sure she was at her correct gate or to make sure she made the next connection. So she was delayed leaving and got stuck at her next airport because she missed the connection.

Stuck.

That’s what I called it. I was told that wasn’t the right word because she was leaving on the next available flight. 10 PM. She had to spend the after noon hanging out in an airport. It isn’t fun for any of us; but I was concerned because that was my baby who had to go to the help desk and figure this all out by herself. I mean her dad guided through it all; but it still is very worrisome for her mama.

It really sucks when things don’t go according to plan. I am always annoyed and have slight moments of panic attacks. I don’t handle change of direction with the most graceful of spirits. I am admittedly high strung. I like a schedule and I like when people keep their word.

I have been stuck lately. It must be the winter blues. I am not sure what else to call it. I have been doing my morning routine thing: Wake, energize, and work out. It’s something else. I am trying to put my finger on it. I think it comes down to feeling stuck. There’s talk of forward motion but no action behind it. I can write out my goals, talk about my dreams; but without any action I too am just stuck.

My daughter eventually made her way off to see her dad and had the best time on her vacation. She is self reflective that when she tells you the story; she will also tell you how she didn’t take in all the information because she was panicking about being stuck. I think she did great and I was so proud of her being in that situation and handling it. She had to handle it on the way back home as well. She was tired and frustrated; but she made it through.

I know I will make it through this moment in time where I feel stuck. I always feel stuck in winter. I want to hide out in my sweats, not shower and just cover up in a blanket. Or I feel like there’s no better time to get all the indoor projects done because I am stuck inside. It’s the motivation I lack. I just have to remind myself that things don’t always go as planned, and I will never have motivation to do anything if I am waiting for that to strike. I have to create it with action of just starting.

Nothing lasts forever. Not being able to fly when you wanted to or get there when you planned, but you will still get there. Some days you sleep in when you had planned to work out; that’s called self care and rescheduling. When you feel stuck in life a little grace and a little self care goes a long way ; along with doing. Action always makes our brain feel better.

Nothing last forever. Not even Winter.

Merry.

Man, December is hard. It’s never been my favorite month as an adult. I am sure as a kid I had different feelings. Snow, sledding, presents.

I think it started when my Grandpa decided he had a good run and decided to go to that big pasture in the sky with his dog Lady. I still miss him so much it makes my eyes sting and my feelings run down my face. And then Betty had to join him to make sure he knew where he was going and they loaded up the ol’ RV and drove down the road.
Then my ex-father in law fought cancer and decided it was all his body could take; so he stuck one more feather in his hat and whistled his dogs and they took him home. I miss his phone calls around bull riding and NFR time. He would always call to tell me it was on and hang up. He loved those Brazilian Bull riders. I think it would have fun to take him Vegas one time for the NFR.

Those are just three people I miss most in December. So, putting up a tree and wrapping things up is a hard task when I would rather just skip it all. Adulting. But I know it’s not all about me and I have to remember this is not the way anyone who has passed on would want us to live. Life is too short to walk around in a pity party. Those aren’t my favorite parties anyway.

So I create those routines around December that make me remember that it’s about love. I make cookies, I put on Hallmark channel (Because what’s better then watching small town happily ever after every time?), decorate a tree, and watch my favorite Christmas movies. I make everyone in my little family suffer through my sappy moments and sit down with me to watch the movies.

This year I choose to live in love. I choose to look at the snow flying as a good thing. I pray that we have moisture stick and this spring we see grass perk up and grow. I choose to see the cold as a good thing because it teaches me to appreciate those first warm Spring days. I will choose to live in love. It’s easier to see the Angels in my life when I actively look for them. If anything loss has taught me that life is short and to keep your eye on the love. It’s every where. Some days you have to look a little harder and squint a bit; but it’s there.

December is lonely but it doesn’t need to be. Lead with love and get out of your own way. Family is what you make it and someone may need a little more love this month. Just live a little more like a 6 year old. Full of excitement, writing letters to Santa, and sledding until your cheeks are rosy and your smile has gotten too big for your face. You are always welcome at our house.

48.

Another trip around the sun. I started my morning with my work out and breakfast made by my favorite guy and personal chef (California style Eggs Benedict). Tonight I will have dinner with my family. It’s my favorite tradition along with my dad calling me and singing happy birthday to me (He will do it for everyone, so if you want on the list let me know.). I will also have my German Chocolate cake. It’s a tradition and it’s my favorite thing. I only get it on my birthday and I enjoy every bite.

I am having a hard time with this one. I can’t really put my finger on what has me in the dumpster about this aging thing. I am grateful and thankful, don’t get me wrong; but I also have a sense that I have let myself down. The only person I am comparing myself is too is the person I was last year.

The goals I set for myself always seem lofty and this year I didn’t dig into any. I have set the goals of writing daily and I putting out this little blog. I have been doing this for two years so I think my goal of writing was achieved.

I am also so hard myself on where I think or what I think my body should look like. I have come to terms with this. I like food. That’s it. That’s the whole glorious problem. After my youth spent not eating healthy enough and getting by with a Rees’ Peanut Butter cup and Dr. Pepper, I have decided to treat myself better. That is probably not an excuse, but it seems to work out when I balance pasta with spinach. My goal for the next year should be portion control, because at this point I am just working out to maintain. Not to lose or gain.

Working out is my habit. I have to frame my mind around that because when I don’t get up and move my body; well, anxiety and depression seep into my day. Every thing becomes harder and throat punching people becomes more tempting. I do it from the comfort of my living room. That’s the best part of my day and my alone time. I understand how important it is for my body but not to the point where I stress it completely out and throw my lower back out: Which I did recently. Nothing will make you more thankful for you health than an injury or sickness. It’s still important to me to have that routine. It makes me feel better about life.

Here’s to 48. I am learning to be braver as I go. I am learning to say no with more conviction. Oddly enough I decided this would be the year of yes. Yes to more adventure. Saying yes to things that excite me and push me to get out of my comfort zone. Mostly to learn to let go of things I cannot control and living in the moment.

I will work on being a kinder human being with less judgement; but some of you make it really hard. I’ll pray for you. And me.

I will work on stopping my mouth from saying things before my brain thinks it through; but I like to be just as surprised as you are about what just came out. I like to believe I have the spirit working in me and sometimes the message needs to come out. You may not like it but it doesn’t mean I don’t mean it from a good place. Most of time.

I have learned that mean girls are every where. They will continue to show up in my life as lessons. Lessons on standing up for myself and letting that shit go. Lessons in throwing mud in their eye because some people just don’t know when to stop until you do. I tell my daughter almost every day as she leaves for school, “Be kind, but take no shit.” I think that’s the only lesson I need to keep carrying forward with me.

Cheers to another trip around the sun. Laugh more and loud. It’s contagious. Be yourself and speak your truth. You will find your tribe and you will let go of those not meant to be in your tribe. Keep growing and challenging yourself to be better than you were yesterday. Say yes to adventure, whatever that looks like for you. If we cross paths, which I hope we continue to do, I have a high five for you followed by a hell yes. We all need a pep talk and nothing is more grounding than a high five.

Oh and eat the damn cake.

Work.

I have been thinking a lot about work lately. Mostly because that’s my hobby. I work. I try to write on the side, but let’s face it; I have been working. My brain suffers from decision fatigue and often my passion is put aside because of , well, work.

My former employer use to say to me, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Our experience was that a busy person didn’t have time to make excuses. They needed to get the task in front of them done because they were twenty more behind them piling up. There is no procrastination or fear from a busy person. It just needs to be done, so it gets done.


Who else is going to do it?

Aha. There’s the rub right? Could it be as simple as slowing down and letting go? Or letting someone else take over the project? To relinquish that control to someone else who may not do it to our way, but will get it handles all the same. Are we really that busy or are we unwilling to give up control?

Questions to ponder.

For me personally, I am often unwilling to give up that illusion of control or be patient enough to wait for someone else to do it. I am often pissed off because of it. I don’t understand why they just can’t get it done. I am busy and I also don’t have time to wait for it to get done. I have other hats to put on so this task needs to be taken off my plate.
I get pissed at the most mundane tasks at home. The dishes piling up along the counter when all that needs to happen is the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Small, unimportant task, but it needs to be done. If I ask it may happen or it may take too long. At that point I just do it. I think my sister once told me it takes under three minutes to unload and load a dishwasher. Three minutes. I think I have three minutes I can get it done and move on.

The problem with being the person who will just do it means no one else will step up and do it. They will happily point the finger and blame you when it doesn’t work or turn out, and claim amnesia about being asked; but still won’t do it.

My boyfriend and I own a restaurant. I don’t like to say I own it because I don’t do anything with it. It’s not my passion; it’s his. He loves to cook and he loves people. It’s his passion and food is his love language. The only thing I contribute to it is my ability to have an amazing resting bitch face and a pep talk when needed. I have no experience in the food world, except I know customer service. I have realized through this business that having the ability to be customer service oriented is a super power. I have also realized that laziness is a real thing. The amount of insane bullshit excuses he gets from his employees is unreal; even my sixteen year old daughter realizes she has more common sense than these twenty-something year old boys. (No I won’t call them men yet because their ability to scream “why me” is beyond me.) They are quick to tell him how unfair he is being or that he doesn’t do enough but are also quick to shout “I quit” when confronted with lack of respect and laziness. I think my kid summed it best when she said, “So they want the paycheck without the accountability.” Wise words coming from a sixteen year old.

I keep saying I need to be trained and start working in the business because I know my ability to work. I know I can do it. How ‘busy’ do I want to really be? And at what point do I have to say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” (Also I have been told I am scarier than Halloween.) I don’t think I am scary. Besides everybody, it’s pizza. It’s the easiest job you’ll ever have; but it’s not. Because food needs to taste good for repeat business and customer service is an art. Personal accountability has to play a part. The employees can’t always screw around or text their boss and whine about how hard it is. It’s a fine line and it’s exhausting.

My dad is busy. Full time busy. I am not sure what all he does in his day besides worry about cows and hay and check on everyone else or offer to help. He is busy. He is also a full time control freak. He would rather just do it himself than have one of us do it or god forbid ask. He can’t help himself. He’s busy and it needs to be taken off his list. He often ends our offer of help with a question, “Are you sure?” It’s not that he doesn’t think we can do it, well a maybe a little of that, but more of will you get it done. My sister is the same way. She is a “here I will do it” So imagine working with these two control freaks full time? I have learned not say a word and just do whatever it is they finally decided and agreed.
An example of how big of a control freak my dad is he even will tell me how to back up the side by side to pick up a calf. I didn’t do it right by the way, but it still was done. He’s busy.

I guess I will end this by saying it’s great to be that busy person. We need you to be. We want those people who are always on the go; but every once in awhile we also probably need to take step back and let someone else be busy. It will still get done. I promise.

Dream.

I woke up from a bad dream. I starred at the ceiling and tried to recall all the missing pieces before the fluttered away into the atmosphere.
It started with a very large, tall man grabbing the back of my hair and pulling backwards down a hallway. He then turned me to face forward and held a knife to my back.

As you can see I don’t have fun dreams. I have never had ‘sweet’ dreams. I have always had what I would call survival dreams. In every dream I can recall from a teenager on my dreams always involved me in a dangerous or precarious situation. Almost every one involve a ‘bad’ guy with a gun or knife. They used to wake me up in a start. Heart racing and scared out of my mind. Until I started digging into how I could change the story line in the middle of the dream. Lucid dreaming helped me to overcome the scariness of the dream and figure out what I should be doing to save myself.

So in my current dream; I am not sure the sequence of events, but I called for help and we flipped this large man on to his back. The knife went to floor. And he got smaller. He wasn’t large and scary any more. He was now a boy of maybe 9 or 10 years old. We were now standing outside in the rain with my hand at the back of his neck to keep him from getting away. He began crying and saying he didn’t want to go with the man. A vehicle pulled up and a tall man got out and took the boy and put him in the vehicle. He told me thank you for calling him and that they would take care of it. As they drove away, my friend asked why he was crying. He did the damage. I said that we all have our demons and everyone is afraid of something.

Lucid dreams.

I tend to self reflect a lot. I read and listen to podcasts on self development. I’ve probably mentioned this before. It depends on my mood and what I need to learn. There are some days where I don’t want to listen. I don’t want to hear it. Those are the days that I walk away feeling better and I have that a-ha revelation. I am my own worst critic. I am harder on myself, but I am also confident. Not in all things. Mostly in owning my feelings. I will own how that made me feel and I will also express regret over my ego over ride.

It happens. I am human after all. I didn’t claim to be perfect; just confident.

Lucid dreams.

Learning to override a bad thought, a bad or bad words said to me took some time. It’s a process. I am much better at it now. I have learned not to take everything said to me seriously or personally. I can usually work through it and re-group in less time it takes me to drink a cup of coffee; or some things I am still working on getting over and letting go. Hurt feelings. People talking shit. Again, I just remind myself that everyone has their shit they are still working through and some people work through it by hurting others. Doesn’t make it less painful. It just means I can put them in aside and realize it isn’t all about me. They have work they don’t want to do.

We all have work we don’t want to do. I suppose that’s why it’s called work.

This is not an excuse to be an asshole. I have been told on a number of occasions that I am in fact being a bit of an asshole. *Shrugs* Some days I am. I’ll own that all day long. It’s not okay. It’s not an excuse. Some days the situation calls for me to be asshole. Then again….maybe I have some work to do.

Lucid dreams.

Fleeting.

Feelings are fleeting. They last for only a minute. At most.

I’m admittedly am a highly emotional human. I feel life and enjoy most of every thing life has to offer.

I am optimistic. I like to laugh and I don’t take myself too seriously.

I use to. I use to take myself so seriously that I got in my own way. I was afraid to succeed and I was afraid to try.
It was easier not to take on the new experience because I was afraid.

A fleeting feeling such as fear had me stopping from living.
Oh I had a good time. But it could have been better. If only I let go a little more and said yes to more of life.

Yes to adventure. Yes to becoming the dreamer I am. If I fully embraced how I was meant to stand out; I wouldn’t have worried so much what others thought. I wouldn’t have been upset of about the fact that I don’t.

My feelings about myself began to change when I learned to let go. I let go of the feelings of trying to fit in. I started living life on my feelings of where I fit in.
It started with something as simple as planning my own birthday celebration.
I love celebrating those huge moments of existing on this mud ball we call home. I had these big ideas about how a birthday should be spent. The problem was that no one else agreed.
Isn’t that something ?!
The night I had to buy my own Chinese food and celebrate with a pathetic vanilla cake made for one. Well, I had an epiphany.
The sad, pathetic feeling I felt that day was no longer going to be how I moved forward.

Feeling like I didn’t exist was no longer an option. I now celebrate my years on the planet on my terms. I decide what I will or won’t do. I also buy myself a gift. Who knows me better than me?!
I usually settle for a pair of boots though. A girl could always use more boots, some years I have been lucky and treated myself (& invited others) to live concerts.
I think I saw Keith Urban 3 years in a row. I’d like to think he knew it was my birthday.

Feeling are so fleeting. We can convince ourselves of anything, so why not the very best things. The mind is smart and it will try to get away with talking yourself into a bad day. I don’t fall for that line of bullshit. I remind myself that I am amazing and a bad ass chick; and there is one thing I am sure of it’s my ability to have a better day.

It’s also too easy to fall into someone else’s waves of feelings, good or bad; just be watch out for rip tides waiting to pull you out.
Learn to wear a life preserver and paddle parallel to the shore. You’ll come out of that too.

All feelings fade. Hold on to the good ones and let go of those not serving you. Easier said then done some days; I know. I recommend a walk and a pep talk. Or a good podcast because some days even I don’t believe everything I tell me.

A good therapist and self reflection is a good call too.

Just be kind to yourself on days you need it most.

What.

What did you dream of becoming when you grew up? If you ask my mom, she would tell you weather girl. Since I have no sense of direction and really bad with numbers; that was out. But the one thing I always wanted to be was a writer. I have always had stories in my head. Telling myself a story is the way to calm myself down or get my brain to unwind itself. I can start in the middle or at the beginning of my story. It’s the quickest way I know how to relax. I have three or four stories actually written down on paper.

I have one problem.


Some would call it procrastination. It’s not. I am not putting it off as much as I am trying to get it right.

I get to the middle and I stop. The middle is the boring part of the story. It’s where you have to link the beginning to the end. Sounds simple but did you read the Hobbit? Cause that middle part will put you asleep and make you put the book down before you ever get to the exciting parts.

Perfectionism also had led to me think: What will they think? I am slowly getting over that by writing here. This blog gave me an outlet to get all those thoughts out and down on paper. I send it out into the universe.

I am prone to this ideal in other areas of my life. I like to be organized, but to get me there requires forethought and time. Both of which I am beginning to think has a lot more to do my “undiagnosed/self diagnosed” ADD/Dycalculia.

I get lost easily. If I don’t have directions or have been to a place many times before; I will get lost. I cannot take an alternate route, don’t ask me. I have no idea how to find the road I was once on or need. I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me driving home from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to my house in San Jose. It was maybe a 10 mile drive going the back streets at most; but when a game or concert ended my normal routine was thrown off. The side street I normally took was cut off because it went through a neighborhood, so they re-routed us. This threw me off every single time and this is route I took regularly in all hours of the day! It was so frustrating to me to be so turned around. Every instinct I had was not the right one. I had to rely on my phone map to get me to where I wanted to go. All because I was re-routed.

So when it comes to house hold chores my day can spiral easily. I can start out doing laundry but on the way to do that; I realize the floor needs mopped and the bathroom needs cleaned. So instead of continuing on to point A with the laundry, I am now dropping it and filling a bucket to mop and recalling the bathroom needs cleaned. I will grab cleaning supplies to go clean the bathroom; and that’s when I will hear water. Do you see where this is going? It is a never ending circle of me half ass cleaning my house. I will leave the water running to fill up the dog self water feeder and I always, always, always forget that is filling up because; you guessed it, I have started something else while I waited.

I have little tricks I use. I purge my brain of all the chores I need to get done so I have a check list. I have to write it out on paper and see it, otherwise it just gets forgotten in my phone of notes. I set a timer for ten to fifteen minutes per chore. I have to stay on that task until the timer goes off and sometimes I go over; ADD Brain kicks in and now I am obsessed. This is where a timer helps me out. It tells me to finish it up and move on to the next item.

And whatever you do; don’t interrupt me. I will just put whatever I am doing down and say, ” okay let’s go do that.” I have had someone say to me more than once, “no let’s finish this first.” Because it doesn’t occur to me to just finish project one.

It’s all very frustrating to me. The getting lost. The not being able to do numbers in my head or tell how long something will take.

But writing. There isn’t any of that. It is just taking my brain on a long ride of imagination. Writing is letting it go and letting the story lead while I go along for the ride. It’s cathartic. It allows space for back tracking and edits. I can write a short story or I can keep developing the story. There is no timer. I don’t feel lost or feel like it should be easier. I just know my brain is better at the writing part.

Organizing, directions, and being able to keep score in a game I will leave to others more suited for that kind of thing.

So if you come to visit and notice my lap top open, music on and water running in the sink; I am probably cleaning the shower while forgetting to add clothes to a filling washing machine.

It’s who I am.

adhd_bri — I'm not a “late” person, I'm a “way too early”...
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Just a Bunch of Mumbo Jumbo

Diagnosis.

I am going to take a different approach to my blog this week. I am going to talk to you about something that has been misdiagnosed in me until I was an adult in my late thirties.

I have Dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia is a learning disability that makes math challenging to understand.

I had always had problems with math or numbers for as long as I can remember. I thought I was just slow. I avoided math or anything to do with counting or numbers. I cannot do mental math well or at all. I have a hard time understanding math problems or doing them. I have to really break it down and even things like fractions to this day are hard for me.

I remember as a child that I wouldn’t like to do homework or work on any math problems. I just wouldn’t do them. Or I would procrastinate, and I never asked questions because I was feeling dumb enough already so imagine having to ask again how to add a fraction. I was never given a test or diagnosed because every thing else seemed to be fine. I won’t self diagnosis myself as having ADD but I think I might have a bit of that as well. My grades in school were just okay. Some subjects I did well in; but, others I was just maintaining. I was an average student. Sitting in a classroom never interested me and everyone else seemed to be doing a much better job at learning. It became easy for me to just not perform my best. I often wouldn’t turn in homework or wouldn’t complete it. Time management seemed to escape me. I was separated from the rest of my class in math because I just wasn’t keeping up or understanding the assignments. Without a diagnosis it only made me feel worse about my ability to do something that so many others seemed to have no problem advancing.

I could go on about things in my learning years that I look back on and wonder about. I also can’t read sheet music; which is pretty odd for a person who played an instrument in band since I was in the fifth grade.

I am a pretty smart person. I just happen to lose things, lose track of personal items, or have problems understanding measurements of time. I have several alarms or timers on my phone. I am now always early for things because I midjudge how long it will take me to get there and I hate being late.

I also cannot count back money or count back change. I have to use a calculator. I cannot do it in my head; and I have had the comments said to me like, “Can’t you do it? It’s just a quarter.” And how society is going to hell because no one can count back change any more. Some days I would just nod my head and other days I would say, “I can’t do it. It’s a hard thing for me to do mental math because of my learning disability.” I would try to smile when I said it but shame would often over take me.

Now let’s get to the part where I finally figure out, with some help, what in the world is going on with me. It was like a veil had been lifted and I could see.

I had decided to go to Dental Assisting school after my ex and I first separated. It was his way of helping me with a career and I really loved learning for the first time. I never missed class and made some friends along the way. It was challenging and I really enjoyed it. Until we had to start remembering the numbers on teeth. Yes, our teeth in our mouth get numbered. That way in a chart the doctor or assistant can make sure they are working on the right tooth in the right part of the mouth. It took me longer to learn the order of the teeth both backwards, forwards and upside down. I would often get confused and have to start over or get them completely wrong. It should be simple but my brain couldn’t go from looking straight on to a persons mouth to being behind the chair and count. No one could figure out why this is the part I was struggling with until one of my advisors looked at me and said, “I think you have Dyscalculia.”

We sat in her office and talked about it. She explained what it was and why she thought it related to me. I started having these “AHA” moments. I went home and did research. All of the sudden my life started making sense.

The fact that I had always struggled with numbers of any kind: I cannot find North or follow directions well. I have no sense how long it will take to drive from point A to point B. Even simple things like cooking is hard because I have to measure or work with fractions. I started figuring out how to learn things and used guides to help me memorize things like how the teeth were numbered. I also didn’t feel so bad about not knowing mental math or understanding fractions. I went on to pass and graduate from Dental Assisting. I worked in that field but struggled finding a job; and most of it was me holding me back. My fear of doing anything with numbers is a big hurdle.

Now some time has passed and I recognized the signs in my daughter. I wish I would have known exactly what was going on when she was in the third grade and started to struggle. After I was (self)diagnosed it has been easier for me to notice why she struggled with numbers. She has help built in with her schooling, things like extra time for tests or can take her test in a different room and all of her teachers are aware of her needs. She says she hates to ask for help because she already feels “dumb” and she doesn’t want to stand out any more. I keep telling her that I wish I had all the tools she has available to help her when I was in school; and I always stress she isn’t dumb numbers are just hard for her and they will get easier. She has all the tools and she walks around holding a calculator in her hand, so things are a little easier. We just can’t cook together because if she asks me about measurements we both end up starring at the measurement cup or I have to break it down into parts; which isn’t always a bad thing. We have work arounds. She has more information available to her now and I am grateful for her teachers that continue to help her along the way.

We both are creative. She draws and I write. I would like to think we excel at both those arts. Numbers just aren’t our jam. And that’s okay. God had to keep us humble.

It’s okay to ask for help. Even as an adult. We are always learning. I don’t feel as ashamed when someone asks me to do subtraction in my head. It’s just not how my brain works. I do have stories always going on in my brain. Every thing I do I have a story line. It’s how my brain handles tasks. I daydream, I spend a lot of time writing, and some times those stories are short or go unfinished. We all have our gifts. It’s what makes us unique.

We weren’t meant to be the same so the next time you try to fit someone into your box and they don’t fit; it might be because they weren’t meant too.

*For more information visit https://www.additudemag.com/category/adhd-add/related-conditions/learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/

Selfish.

June is never an easy month for me. It hasn’t been since I made the selfish decision to move away from California 6 year ago; every year I send my daughter back to spend time with her dad. Not just a week. The whole summer. It was the agreement for this selfish decision.

It use to upset me. To be told I ran away and that I was being selfish. I put her first and everyone else first. I had put myself last. That had to stop. So I used a sell of house to finance my future. One persons definition of selfish is someone else’s freedom.

None of this has been easy. From the first few months of struggling with school and her making new friends, to her crying because she missed her dad and her friends; and me repeating that I did the best thing I could for us. We still struggle. It hasn’t been easy. Her anxiety became real and tangible. My anxiety was real and tangible. I questioned myself and my decision making abilities a lot. But she has grown and overcome. Just like I hoped she would. I have been to therapy. She has been to therapy. We both came out of it realizing we are a lot stronger and to trust ourselves a little more.

Everything I did I did was to move us forward. To move me forward. I packed that u-haul with everything we owned, I pepped talked the hell out of her and me. I remained stoic and positive. I was exhausted; mentally and emotionally beat up. I was told I was lazy and I just didn’t want to find a job. People’s words have a way of sticking with you and those words pissed me off. Anxiety held me back sure, but so did trying to be a mom.

Now when I get told I am selfish or arrogant I can’t help but smile. I have said thank you. It took me a damn long time to get here. To get that place where I stand my ground and stand a little taller. If being selfish is how you want to look at it, then you are looking at it all wrong. Selfish for me is confidence, a little arrogance, mixed with fear and a whole lot of self belief.

It’s years of listening to someone run my life and letting them. It’s years of being told what dreams I could follow and what dreams I shouldn’t. That’s on me. Letting someone else have that much control. My anxiety still makes me second guess some things in life. I learn to breath and let it go. I don’t need to have that much worry in my life any more.

It has made me harder. I am more independent. I am a little more selfish, but I always can look myself in the eye at the end of the day and tell myself I did the best I could.

6 years.

I think I am failing every day at being a mother but I am assured by those who love me still that I am not. I think every mother feels that way. At the end of the day I am just trying not to raise an asshole. I think I have done pretty good with her. She has more determination than I give her credit for because I still want to protect from life. That may be a little selfish. I also want to see her get out there and kick its ass. That’s selfish too.

June is hard. I will cry because I worry. I will then go into her room with a trash bag and a box. I donate any clothing I know she hasn’t worn and I throw away the trash. I will get her new bedding and hang up shelves. I will put it all away so it eases my worry and anxiety. So I can open her door and remember how it will be when she comes home. It will clothes on the floor and chocolate. Tea cups left on her end table. It makes me crazy but brings me comfort. I know she will come home tan and full of attitude.

And I will be here. Cleaning her room, taking mini road trips, hanging out with Craig and our friends and family; and being a little selfish with my time.

It’s a good thing. 6 years of growing and figuring out who we are in this world. Learning being selfish is not always a bad thing.

Learning.

I felt the saddle start to slip to the left. It was a rookie mistake and I couldn’t believe it was happening.

Blueberry and I had started galloping across the prairie with our eyes on the lead cow. We just had to get in front of her to get her turned around. Not usually a problem. Depending on the day and the cow. Blueberry is pretty cow-y so he knew what the goal was. What he didn’t count on is a rookie mistake.

I leaned put pressure in my right stirrup as I pulled up on Blueberry begging him to woah. I knew it wasn’t going to end well. And the more I pulled the further over the saddle slipped until I was bracing for impact.

I had my water break and rechecked my saddle. Tightened up where I needed too. We had been gathering pairs for summer pasture. It gets to be a long process because we have to be one thousand percent sure everyone has their exit buddy. Not everyone pays attention. And it was a warm day. We had the first group and were set to get the others we had left on the flat.

Blueberry had been feeling spry. We had been having a good run. I am out of practice. I call myself a weekend warrior because I come in as an extra hand most days long after my sister and dad have been at it. My 8-5 Monday through Friday paycheck tends to interrupt my ranch hand life. Blueberry was taking care of me, and so when we stopped for water I checked everything from his head down and re-checked my saddle. Or so I had thought. It felt tight. It felt fine. This is the saddle I consider “my saddle. ” It’s my dad’s 1973 high school all around saddle. It’s comfy and light. I had moved around in the saddle with pressure on the stirrups to be sure. We were both hot and sweaty.

It wasn’t until I hit fourth gear on my horse that the world turned side ways. It had been a long time since I had purposely taken a dive off a perfectly good horse, but there I was reins still in my hand and looking for a place to land. I learned some things from taking some unexpected falls from perfectly imperfect horses. But I don’t bounce like I use to so when I landed I tucked my shoulder under me and hit. I saw blue birds circle me as I got up to all fours.

My dad came by, like the cowboy he is, and only stopped to ask if I was okay before he was gone. I have several memories in my brain of him doing just that. My sister wanted to make sure I could actually get up before being hollered at by dad. She at least has a little more empathy but cows were on the move and before there is a mess; you gotta go.

I nodded and got up and looked at my saddle and gave Blueberry a pat. He was still standing there looking at me. The saddle side ways.
I thanked him for being a good horse and started the process of untangling him from the mess.

I stood there in the dirt and sage brush and blew out a breath. I did a quick check and realized I was fine. Just a bruised ego (and later some neck and shoulder pain). I unsaddled and then re-saddled him. All while he stood there and waited for me. When I met back up with my sister and my dad yelling at cattle; all they asked is what took me so long.

Growing up with a cowboy for a dad you learn some things. The first thing I learned is no matter what it is you have to get back up in saddle. That has been true since the first day I was unceremoniously dumped at the age of 5 or 6 in the middle of a field. My dad rode by and looked down, “Are you okay?” When I just nodded and sat there on my butt, he rode away to get my ride. I don’t recall getting back on that horse, but I am sure I did.

I carry that lesson through my whole life because it applies to whatever situation I happen to get myself in. It has to be done; I just tell myself to put my foot in the stirrup and get on with it.

Just check the cinch one more time.