Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Fashion Thursday: Girl's Talk

Something new that I'm trying to do is make my love of fashion more sustainable. I made a resolution this year to thrift all of my clothing with the exception of items that I need for a specific occasion. So far, it's worked out. I've bought one dress, and that's it. Not bad.

For this set, I used a shirt from CHNGE, a brand that takes pride in its stance on sustainability and philanthropy. They donate 50% of their net profits to many vetted NGOs and stand behind providing ethical working conditions for employees. Plus, the stuff is cute, so I'm down.

1. CHNGE Girl's Globe Tee

2. Kerrits Ladie's GripTek Breeches

3. Harry's Horse Duo Riding Boots

4. Chetaime Half Pad

Monday, May 6, 2019

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Horses & My Mental Health

A Yaknee In Paris did a similar post a while back, so I felt like now would be as good a time as any to chat. This post is about three years in the making and may contain some uncomfortable material. Bear with me.

I started riding when I was 13. The above photo is me with Lady from my first summer of riding. At some point during that first summer, I was sitting on a fence waiting for my dad to pick me up from the barn. One of the other students approached me and, point blank, said I looked sad. I can’t remember how I responded, but odds are I just said I was tired. Anyways, it was enough to put her at bay, and she left me alone.

I have this bad habit of shrinking myself. It is so easy to minimize my feelings, needs, and desires and put others before myself in almost any situation. This isn't humility, it's degradation. As a child who didn't understand depression (or the concept of mental health), a lack of education didn't combine well with an instinct to internalize my emotions. By the time I was in high school, I never said if I was sad or upset, I just said I was tired. And if I couldn't hide my emotions, then it was better to literally isolate myself. When I got to college, I preferred to feel nothing. If I was sad or upset, it sucked because I was sad and upset. But if I was happy, I didn't want to be because happiness was fleeting. It was easier and safer to feel nothing.

For a while, riding was the only activity that made me feel something, and it made me feel good. I've had a number of artistic hobbies since I was a kid, but staying in my room to draw or write wasn't nearly as satisfying as leaving my house and doing something more stimulating. I liked sitting and watching lessons all day. I liked helping out my trainer in any way possible. I loved spending three hours on a Saturday morning picking up shit in an acre large pasture with nothing to entertain me but the same 100 songs on an old iPod. That made me happy. Riding made me more creative and more driven than anything else. It gave me a future to look forward to.

I'm always terrified of coming off as the "weird horse girl," but the fact is I love what I do, and it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I can't say with confidence that I would be alive today had I not made riding my outlet.

That's not to say that this isn't a double edged sword. There are definitely times where riding became stressful and unhealthy. Just reading through older posts obviously shows the times where my emotions got the better of me and where I should have backed away from situations. Bad things  happen sometimes, but I can always stop showing or change trainers or start saying no to certain things. I can make this work for me because my health is essential to my success, and I will succeed.

By the end of high school, I started to understand that my psychological health is just as important as my physical health. I promised myself that I would see a therapist once I got to college then immediately did the exact opposite. I had a bad breakdown at the end of my freshman year and got to a point where I genuinely did not care if I lived or died. It wasn't my first or last time feeling suicidal, but it was probably the worst I've ever been. I saw a therapist for the first time after another breakdown two months into my sophomore year. After that, I thought I was fine and that I could handle things on my own. I have no shame in admitting that I couldn't. 2018 was a rough year for me. I sobbed almost every day in September, hence my many emotional lessons. In October, I was down to every other day. Now, it's every few weeks, but that's better than refusing to let myself cry for most of high school and college.

I'm in a much better place at the moment. I did group therapy last semester and have continued with that this semester in addition to individual counseling. I'm learning that it's okay to feel things and let other people know that I'm feeling things, and it's okay to eat more than 1,000 calories per day, and no I don't have to settle for the bare minimum in my relationships with people. I also don't have to settle for the bare minimum in my relationship with myself.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I implore you all to take care of yourselves, and please encourage those you love to do the same.
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