Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dealing With It...

All things considering, yes, it could be worse.  Not what I want to hear right now though - Thankyouverymuch.  In the grand scheme of things, there are people out there right now who are facing much more adversary then I am and who I consider to be much much stronger then I ever will be as a person. 

Deep down, there are a lot of emotions that I am feeling.  As I lay awake last night staring at my ceiling, I determined that the emotion that is rearing its ugly head the most is Frustration.  Thinking about it more, I know that Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition...which you can relate to both anger and disappointment.  Over the past 6 months, I am pretty sure those are the three emotions I have felt most: Frustration. Anger. Disappointment.

If I can pinpoint where this all began, it would have to be back in November, when I was the result of the HR Function at my job being outsourced.  Definitely felt the anger there.  It really was, a smack to the face.  At the time, if you would have asked, me, I was absolutely 100 million% positive that I was going to find a job - closer to home and in a different environment - by January and I would have banked 3 months of pay!  Awesome!  I was extremely motivated to find something. I was getting interviews, I was doing well with them and was getting to be one of the final 2 or 3 candidates. When I would lose out on getting the offer, it was always the same thing: "You're a very strong candidate, but the person we extended the offer to has direct industry experience."  Unfortunately for me, the only industry experience I have, has been within Professional Services.  And, having experience on BOTH sides of the table and knowing the tightness of the Market, I believe them...and have been believing it for the pas 6 months. Six. Months.  I can not believe it has been that long since I have worked.  The longer it takes for me to find a job, the harder it is going to be to get one.  You want frustration?  Try getting to the final interview stages for 6 months, being SURE you are the candidate for the job and then getting passed over...and over...and over...and over.  I have not received a call for an interview in the past 3 weeks. Confidence, is approaching an all time low.

Then, there is the smack to the face that your income...becomes pretty much non existent.  As a professional who busts her ass during the day to ensure I can keep my amateur by night job...I work(ed) hard.  VERY hard. And was compensated accordingly.  It is because of my work ethic, that I was able to afford to buy Chester in the first place.  Yes, I worked long hours and was gone from the house from 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday - Friday - but, Chester, was my motivation in doing so.  When you go from being compensated at a certain rate and living within those means to having to live off of Employment Insurance (EI), it is another smack to the face.  As comparison, I am now earning less then 1/4 of a month of what I was earning while I was still working.  It is not enough to pay my bills.  Again - at this point in time, I consider myself to be still luckier then others out there...I have a good support system.  I have had to make several BIG changes in the way I live my life just to be able to make sure Chester is taken care of (and I can actually eat more then KD and wieners).  And, yes, I put his needs before mine. 

December 30, 2010...before he spooked...

All this brings me to Chester.  Sigh, Chester.  My heart simply breaks every time I look at him.  I think back to December 30, 2010...my dad was visiting. The ONLY reason we went to the barn, was so he could see Chester and take some pictures of us while we were riding.  30 minutes into our school, he pulled a typical Chester spook - typical meaning, spooking at NOTHING - jumped 10 feet to the left and came up head bobbing dead lame.  The following 4 months up to this point was a smorgasbord of emotions if I ever saw one:
Fear - that Chester was really badly hurt
Frustration - that Chester wasn't getting better
Hope - when Chester showed signs of finally improving in mid-March
Determination - that Chester was going to be better 'tomorrow'
Anger - that Chester is a total jackass and had no business spooking at a jump standard in the corner that he had seen every day for the past 6 months
Disappointment - The goals I set for us a year and a half ago...remain unaccomplished
Devastation - in knowing that Chester is out for the season
I could go on. 

I want to stamp my foot like a 3 year old about to have a temper tantrum. This isn't fair!!!  I have all the time in the World right now to put into Chester, to go out, event and move up the levels.  The Bromont 3-Day event is fast approaching...and while I should be filling out my entry and stabling form for that event, I am instead filling out paperwork for veterinary appointment purposes.  This whole 'horse thing' as my SO refers to it as, is a means for me to relax, do something I enjoy, set and accomplish goals and have fun.  See, Chester is a very sensitive red headed TB...which forces me as his pilot, to remain cool, calm, collected when I ride.  He was my stress relief.  He was the one who forced me to leave it all at the office.  When it was Chester time, it was Chester time.  If I was anywhere mentally except for with him.  His response to me was simple: "Up yours lady."  And you know what?  It worked.

So, when I lost my job, I was really looking forward to being able to spend some extra time with Chester, taking lessons from The Boss during daylight hours(!!!) and really really focusing on fine tuning everything.  November and December...were the best 2 months of riding that I have ever had. Chester, had NEVER been going better. Ever.  In my head, I KNEW we were going to go come out in the Spring and simply ROCK IT.  He was getting more and more confident, more and more sure of himself, each and every time we would ride.  What a feeling.  It felt like I was riding on a cloud. Light, responsive, willing and most importantly...happy.  So, what am I supposed to do, when the thing that is supposed to help me relax, relieve tension and stress, is now, more so then ever, playing a HUGE determining factor in my level of frustration? 

There was a point where I thought I was borderline becoming depressed: I am on my own (SO travels for his job - I haven't seen him in a month), I am having trouble sleeping, my horse is hurt, I can't land a job, I have no means to pay for said hurt horse etc.  Pretty grim.  I cry a lot...simply because it is hard for me to be strong.  Simply because I am so so so frustrated, I don't quite know what else to do.  Simply because yes we have a plan in place for Chester (which is what is keeping me going), but there is no guarantee that it will work.  Simply because it blows goats when you know you are doing everything you can to help yourself...and still don't get anywhere.      

This isn't a 'feel bad for Carrie' story.  I am attempting to put it all into perspective.  Over the past 18 months or so that I have been writing this blog, I have found that putting it all on paper helps me deal with it.  I'm putting it out there and because of that...I'm not holding on to it anymore. (Okay, I am not holding on to it as much as I would have been before I put it down on paper.)  It helps.  Truly.  Reading what people - who I have never ever met before in my life - write as responses to what I write...is an incredible motivator for me to keep going.  To get through it....because I want to be able to write for them about all the successes Chester and I are going to have.

It has not been an easy road for me since Chester has become mine.  We have yet to have a solid 5 months in a row without him getting hurt.  Now, it has been 4 months - and we are looking at at least another 3 - 4 - before I can ride him again.

Life is full of highs and lows...Making sure you try and deal with the lows in the way that works best for you, is what helps make you a stronger person.


  1. Any attempt at advice seems trite so I will simply say that I am thinking of you and wishing you the very best of luck!

    - Sarah

  2. Horses definitely teach us the meaning of heartbreak. Over and over and over again. And they top it off with a nice dose of poverty. We, as horse owners, are certifiable masochists; this is the only conclusion I can come to. But hey, there's a lot of us, so safety in numbers or something, right?

  3. Sarah - Your advice has always been fantastic, never trite...thank you for your support - when we finally DO make Bromont - you will be the first to know.

    EV79 - Safety in numbers...yes, but more like a steady stream at the intake line of the local insane asylum.