Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Supporters, Watchers, and Detractors

Heeeeey folks!

I wrote this on my Kyokushin blog, but I think that it is just as relevant here. Nobody has really been nasty yet, and if I'm lucky nobody ever will be. But I figured I would write this out anyway. I want to share my thoughts. I hope that you enjoy it!


A kind soul has brought to my attention the fact that my blog can get a bit controversial. Maybe offensive. And that I'm really open, so I open myself up for attack.

This is very true!

* For one thing, I'm quite overweight, and that's a popular thing for people to get nasty about on the internet. It's one of those things that are still culturally okay to be cruel about, no matter what kind of a person it is that is being attacked. Humans are very visual, tribalist creatures, and it's easy to look and make a lot of assumptions.

But then again, maybe I need to stand up and be open. Maybe there need to be some fat people putting themselves out there and showing that not all of us sit on our butts on a couch all day, watching TV and stuffing our faces with junk food. Not all of us are lazy, or greedy, or selfish, or stupid, or gluttonous. This is something that not everyone will believe. I am sure that there are people who will look at me and say "oh, she doesn't ever work out" or "oh, she isn't sticking to an eating plan, I'm sure she's sneaking twinkies in the middle of the night."

Some people will want to convince themselves of these things so much, for their own comfort, that they will never be open to learning otherwise. People like that have already dismissed me, and people like me. It isn't always easy, but I just need to dismiss them as well.

But also, maybe there is some girl or boy out there who has been thinking "I can't go swimming, I can't learn karate, I can't go outside, I can't dance, or sing, or enjoy my life, because I am fat." Or maybe "I don't want to do anything that shows that I have a disability. People will just mock me and try to hurt me. They'll just see me as weak and sub-human."

Well, I cannot promise that some people won't act like that. But those people are not worth investing emotions in anyway! And most importantly-

This is your life. It is the only life you have. It is not infinite. You cannot put things off forever. Your life will pass you by if you do that, and it will end with nothing but regrets and missed opportunities. Stop punishing yourself for not being "normal." Stop torturing yourself for not living up to physically impossible standards set by people whose worldview is so simple and small-minded that they cannot comprehend anything other than black and white. Do not let the cruel people win. They will always live in fear anyway.

* For another thing, I have a sense of humor. It is probably a little off-beat. Okay, it's twisted at times, I admit it!

Many people take their martial way very seriously. I respect this. I take mine seriously as well. But that might be hard for some people to see. I can understand this as well.

Here is the thing- life can be full of dignity and grace, but it will also be full of absurdity. It is often pride that prevents us from seeing the humor in things. I don't mean the kind of pride one gets from great accomplishments- I think that is healthy. I mean the pride born of fear. Fear that one is not strong, not invincible, not good enough, not acceptable. Because everyone wants to be understood and accepted, when you get down to it. Heck, even horses and dogs want that.

But if you can never laugh at yourself, or at life, and can never see that you are as fallible as anyone else, then you are opening yourself up to a greater failure. Either you will no longer be open to learning because you will start to believe that you have nothing left to learn, or you will build up so much dependence on being infallible that your ego will be crushed when this turns out to not be true.

I think that a lot of great, gentle humor can be found in humility.

And you know... I've been far too close to death far too many times to NOT have a sense of humor about things. First of all, laughter helps me find joy in my life and in the things that I do. Life is too short to not find your joy.

Second of all, when the pain is so great or your situation is so hopeless that you just can't bear it any more, you're pretty much stuck with a few options.

You can scream.
You can cry.
You can give up.
You can get angry and fight.
You can laugh.

I usually choose some combination of the last two. Seems a lot healthier and more livable than the first three, don't you think?

So please do not be too offended when I poke at things and laugh. Everything I say, after all, is my perception of the world. In that way, I am only laughing at myself.

*I have an unconventional relationship with my sensei.

We were friends before I was his student. We are like peas in a pod in a lot of ways. But we are also just different enough to make things interesting.

Sensei understands that I'm a feral little PTSD suffering head case. He understands and accepts this. He also knows that I am very playful, and that I tend to test and challenge others a lot. In part this is how I learn people. In part it is how I make myself feel secure. He accepts and understands this with a prodigious amount of patience. Despite and because of these things, we share a great deal of mutual trust and respect.

Sensei himself is not too terribly wrapped up in his own ego. He knows who and what he is. He knows what he is and is not capable of. He knows what I do and do not mean when I am silly with him. He does not feel the need to defend his honor or prove himself against these things. He is not arrogant- he is confident. Because of this, he does not need anyone to walk on eggshells around him.

Now, I always try my hardest to treat him with the respect he needs and deserves. We know where each other's boundaries are, and take great care to not cross them. They are different boundaries than the ones that other people have with one another. I would not, for example, ever try to kick shihan in the butt. That would, I think, offend and upset him. He would see it as an insult, and in that way it would be hurtful. Also, I would either do a lot of push-ups or get kicked out of the dojo.

Sensei, on the other hand, might punish me in a just fashion, or he might just laugh at my audacity, but ultimately we both know that we're okay with one another.

In a formal situation, in a dojo or amongst other karateka, I do try my best to always act respectfully to everyone and to bring honor to my sensei. I certainly do not get overly playful, and I try to not do things that are considered inappropriate in those environments. I am still new, still learning, and still feral, so I don't always succeed. But I do try hard. Sensei knows it. Eventually hopefully shihan will know it too! But either way, I do put my heart into it and try my best.

I have flaws, as everyone does, and I have a lot to learn. These things I recognize.


Now, let's talk about people who read blogs.

I was discussing this with my horsemanship mentor, who happens to also be quite accomplished in Aikido. He always has interesting, worthy perspectives to share.

Here's a concept that he brought up to me, and one that I will share with you and expand upon a bit.

When someone goes to read a blog, usually they fall into one of three categories.

*There are the people who are right there with you, because they are on their own journey. They are having their own struggles, but they are also finding their own joy and having their own successes. They are learning from their own failures, they are growing, they are moving on. They might not always agree with you, but they can usually respect the fact that you are also out there doing it. They are great.

*There are the watchers. They like to read a good story. They look to look at the nifty pictures. They might not be able to go on that kind of a journey, or they might not be willing to, but they get a good feeling reading yours. They may still be inspired. They may learn something. They will cheer you on, even if often it is just silently. They will sometimes ask questions that cause you to think about something in a new light, and learn. They get to feel like they are right there with you, a bit, experiencing it too, though your stories and images. This is a lot of people who read blogs, and they are great.

*There are the detractors and distractors. They want to tear you down. They want to see you fail. They see you have success and joy that they do not, and they are jealous. Or maybe they are just small-minded and cruel. They have bought into the internet culture that encourages sociopathy- the culture that allows you to treat your fellow man poorly without real consequences. They feel righteous, and they get a rush from seeing someone fall from grace. They see you are different, and they see different as bad, something that is a threat, something that should be destroyed. Instead of rising up on their own accomplishments, they do their best to drag others down to their own level. They may laugh, but it is an empty, hollow laughter. They are miserable people, even if they are too afraid to admit this to themselves.

Knowing this doesn't always make it hurt less. I'm really open and honest, and I know that means I'm really open to attack as well. But the way I see it is this- I can look myself in the mirror at night. And I do not want to waste my life hiding away in shame because I am fat, or because I have a mental illness. I do the best I can, and try to approach the world with compassion, respect, and strength. I'm not perfect and I don't always meet these goals, but I put all my heart into them.

Of course, all of that doesn't mean that it still won't hurt like the dickens when it happens.

But I will try to be brave and keep writing anyway. I think that courage is being terrified and doing something anyway. I try to have courage. I don't always succeed. But I will keep working at it.

I will not back down.



Maggie--Mae said...

Don't give up, you are an inspiration and have grown and changed so much, I am happy I have had a chance to see it through this and the FISH board.

Evergrey said...

Thank you so very much! :D

FourHoofKO said...

EG you are such an inspiration to me, I am so glad I get to read your blog and share what you experience. You are a brave woman and you have a good and kind soul.
I hope I get to meet you in person someday. :)