Not long ago I found a site that took people and their online voices and ripped them to shreds. At the same time I was working with a friend to revamp my online site, my books (published and in-progress) and begin to promote myself back to the status I had been at in my 15 minutes of fame days. You could have almost heard all of my brakes squeal to a quick stop and I slammed my laptop shut. When my writing had been halted before it was because I had been attacked. My personal life and online life was the train wreck that online bullies just adore.
Even though I really didn’t write about my day to day life, I wrote about my faith and struggles and that would have been far more damaging to be attacked. I was/am a very little voice with very little influence, but the thought of being scrutinized was terrifying because there is a whole lot of skeletons. I was afraid.
So I stopped and headed for the barn.
Instead of examining my fears and facing them; I ran. I’m good at that.
One day while working with my horse, something went wrong. One minute I was getting into the saddle and the next I was on the ground broken. Hoof prints all around me and a heart that was hurting. I was barely able to make it off the ground because of the pain and wrecked just doing something that I love.
For almost two months I skirted around my horses. I did what I needed to do to take care of them and love them, but I was not looking at sitting in a saddle anytime soon. I was terrified of what could happen next. It could have been so much worse.
One night a friend called and informed me that I would be riding one of her horses the next day. I had started opening up to her and the horse trainer she used about my fear, so they collectively decided it was time to do something about it. After all, I spent almost every moment of my free time around the horses to get away from my other fear of something going wrong with my writing. I went to my husband in tears from the fear of what was about to happen.
The next day, I was standing on a mounting block beside the biggest horse I have ever seen. Well, not really the biggest, but when you’ve been wrecked, the fear you are trying to move past grows bigger and more irrational every day. I had watched her be ridden already and was surrounded by the hoof prints in the round pen showing that she kept her feet on the ground and her rider safe, but I was terrified and getting nauseous.
After much gentle talking from the trainer and lots of mental prayer, I slid in the saddle and stayed there. Walking slowly around the pen and finally gathering speed, the mare and I whirled around in the joy of riding. The very next day, I jumped on the back of my husband’s horse and managed to stay on there too. I still didn’t get on my horse, because there is a difference in being fearless and being an idiot. My heart started to beat more normally when the prospect of getting into a saddle appeared and I smiled at all the hoof prints we were leaving behind us as I moved past the fear.
The same way I have been avoiding writing at all costs. Staring at the computer and not willing to be wrecked again. If I don’t write, then I can’t be judged. If I don’t finish a book, then it can’t be rejected. If I’m not in those spaces, then I can’t lose.
If I don’t get in the saddle, then I am safe.
If I stay safe, then I never overcome.
If I never overcome, then I will lose.
A friend had an article of mine that was written before I had given up. It was published elsewhere this week. It was not rejected. The article was about a time I had been really wrecked, but I had overcome. I reread the sentences that I had written and it was good. Better than I remembered.
I’ve opened my laptop again. The keys clicking away similar to those hoof beats reminding me that staying safe isn’t what this life is about. I’m back in my saddles.