Monday, 15 April 2013

The wind..

This week I picked up my belongings from Breda, its been a year. And seeing them return is really a luxury, there's something special about reuniting with a favourite cup. Its really cool looking at it, and makes up for the journey. The journey was hap-hazard, the lady I work for, appreciating how sensitive people dysfunction under pressure, had calmed the situation, this is what she has a lovely skill in. Don’t worry, the first ten minutes will be a bit rocky, but you'll get the swing of it again. I'll leave you to go drive to take the pressure off. Well that was the intention. Unfortunately, I stalled right outside the family's window. Music blaring because I could not find the frickin volume switch, or the off switch. Cheap pop blaring, and no matter how hard I was pressing on the pedals, the car was just not going. Period. The lady came out again, and turned the music off, "try it again, maybe less power, or more power, but everything will work out fine." It was in a wonderfully warm and comforting manner. But no direct do this, fix that.  So it was up to me. The car still completely stalled on a one way, one lane road. At times like these its better to dejunk the drama. OK lets reduce things down. Breathe. lets check vitals.. Head. Still on. Just a bit fuzzy. Hands, on the steering wheel - great.  Left foot where are you?? - clutch, great. And Right, where are you…? ...erm on the Break? On the frickin Break, you IDIOT.
 After that, the journey went relatively smoothly. But it got me thinking, as a tired head does. Are there other times where I've sat with my foot on the break?
There were endless times my old horse riding instructor would shout this in every general direction across the sand manege. She was a cool riding instructor. There are two types of riding instructor who shout, those with pmt-esque humour, and those with no reason to shout, she was the first kind.
"...therrre is noooo point in getting your horse to do anything if you still have the break on"
 I learnt very quickly from her that there is no point in saying "No". asides from the riding instructors that shout for no reason, there are also those who are swayed by a very girly, soft, big eyed (yet surprisingly un-pathetic) excuse. I don’t feel able to do this today because I may break in two..  My riding instructor was not one of those. I felt it strange one day, because she seemed overly considerate and asked me which horse I would like to ride.  I took the generous gesture, and of course chose my favourite. My teacher, my security blanket, a retired ex racehorse called Sinbad.  I learnt to jump as a child, but I learnt balance and confidence in jumping again. Sinbad, holding his neck strong as I fell forward, we kept on jumping, and accomplished obstacles that I later found was unexpected from him. (The underlying theory with wiser horse people is that horses choose humans. Its true.)
 This time. I did not read anything into the addition of extra tack appliances. atleast not until we turned away from the manege and into the woodland. Horses enjoy hacks, and the energy can change from best behaviour to "feck yeaaahhh", I suppose a its bit like Eton boy mentality.  For me at that time it caused a fear, rather than an appreciation of energy. But at the time it helped me get through to "lets do this".  As we got to the local airfield, it was literally time for take off. I joke not, it was a local airfield in which we could ride across.  I could feel Sinbad leaning and fighting against the reins, just wanting to go faster. But I did not have the real ability to communicate in his language at that point.  Panic did start to spiral.
 "Andy(!!) .. I don’t think I can stop..(!!)"
 My Instructor, just in front,  was riding a young, Trojan looking pony. A complete powerhouse. And her voice articulated through the wind.
 "Well.. I don’t think I can stop either. So we better just keep  going.."
 Fuck. Is there any point complaining further when "No" is not an option. Lets go with it.
 My comfort and awareness of energy changed when i began to work with horses full time.  To learning how outside emotions can affect me, and how to create more of a boundary. By walking with horses I found that concentrating on that feeling you get by listening to don’t worry be happy by ….. Or that feeling when you scraped pass on a test, that sigh of relief. Or that feeling of coming back home. OK example, if I am walking with two horses each side, and the feeling is fright. I recognise that its not my fear I am feeling, and so concentrate myself on feeling that sense of relax.  And breathe. And to create that trust of relax, well that depended on individual horses, some related to touch, some to general conversation, some to song. Some just to the realisation that you trust them, and that you like them. I never felt the fullest ramifications of this until the following morning.

 They were the last horses I developed a bond with where I was confident enough to walk two at a time. Both were huge, height of 1 meter 70,  weighing roughly 1500 pounds. Farao was a show off, and walking with Odessa was like communicating with a kite. But I had guessed we had forged an understanding between us, enough to walk competently all three of us together. But I had not comprehension that they perceived it as something meaningful.
We three of us had been walking daily together for a few months, it was a spring morning, and as we turned the corner of the manege towards the path to the field, someone had hung out Saddle pads to dry, and array of colours blowing in the wind, and enough to become a bit scary to Odessa and Farao.  My first reaction was to walk it through and work it out as we went. But at one point  ropes and horses got tangled. And instead of the habit of being fearful at what might happen next, I let them go. I let them run, because what else could I worry about, even if it took all day, I would catch them eventually. And they ran. They had the choice of running for Acres, free, they're not trained like dogs. But around the corner, about 20 feet away, they stopped running, stood parallel to each other, looked back and waited for me. Waiting, be it from animal or human, well for me it’s a surefire sign of friendship.  And so I picked up the ropes, and we continued to walk. As friends.
 I regarded all of the horses I worked with as friends, just some where different bonds to others. My closest bond was to Igor. I was lucky to help look after him whilst his owner was pregnant. He had a quirky personality,  his owner described him as a one person horse, he was a bit quirky, he could be sweet but also highly strung, he could be gentle, but could pester other horses just with overexcited agitation. One afternoon, as I watched him with Max. I asked her "there are a lot of horses that are extensions of their owners (as some dogs are similar to their owners), why do you think Igor has chosen me?"
Because you're sensitive.

 And it was true. By working with him on the ground, I could measure the affects of my energy. Taking on a mood that I am about to go out clubbing, and he would gallop like a nut job. Work with him when I was feeling ill or down, and he would show no energy. Being aware of this, if things were very difficult for me, I would not work with him that day for fear of transferring my negativity towards him. Because i care for him, and i want to protect him. But if i am sensitive, can i expect others to moderate their moods when around me? i don't expect them to, but should they? if they were aware of their moods affect, would they change it out of politeness or consideration as one would offer a seat on a bus? i am sensitive, but I'm not a victim to it. though it sometimes feels like a martyrdom, there is no blame game. people are entitled to feel how they feel, but am i also entitled to be sensitive?
 This week I had also had a pre-birthday meal. My flatmates cooked, and I invited one of my best friends from Breda.  She was my manager, and friend, she managed three of us sensitive girls. And she managed well. As we said goodbye it made me realise how much easier it is to be around sensitive people, the people who just know you, know how you function, and those who you don’t need words to communicate with. But if I know that I don’t need to communicate so much verbally, I don’t use so many words, and probably I become lazy. So in one way I think its healthy for me around "normal" functioning people. My flatmate is normal, and she believes that if I am having an insular day, I should just sit down and talk about it. But it takes effort for  me to describe what she finds difficult to understand conventionally.
 She can't comprehend that others emotions can soak into me.
 That a lot of negative emotion from others is tiring.
 That domestic affairs or her own bad moods feel like thunder to me.
 That after a trip to a city, or worrying news, or just a lot to deal with. I need time in the quiet of room to decompress, like a deep sea diver would do.
That thoughts to me can be triple the load. Not just like apples, pears, bananas. But varying types of apple to first sort through.. gala, granny smith, pink lady, goldendelicious… overload.
For the sceptics out there, this is not hippybullshit or people in make believe over reacting to silly situations. there are scientific studies that suggest 15-20 percent of the population are showing high sensitivity traits (Aron, E.N. (2006), Ketay, S., Hedden, T., Aron, A., Aron, E., Markus, H., & Gabrieli, G. (2007, January), Belsky, J.; Pluess, M. (2009).

  • Depth of processing.
  • Over aroused (easily compared to others)
  • Emotional reactivity and high empathy
  • Sensitivity to subtle stimuli
Strengthened boundaries through working with horses have really been appreciated. i met one girl who has sensitive last summer, and immediately i could see she had very little boundaries in place, and she was just lost in a disorganised babbling mess. i have my own areas in which i need to pay attention to, and can expect days where i am overwhelmed, and by overwhelmed, i can only really describe it as an emotional hangover, on those days, i can expect more tears, less focus, feelings of detachment, and a feeling of being unable to connect fully.

As my friend left, she said, she may not seem it, but she is sensitive too. Just toughened up with harder knocks. That’s true. And as I describe my frustration at explaining myself to normal people. A simple  answer.. "well that’s part of the process". The process is not comfortable, its challenging with discomfort. and so this evening, i discussed it through with my flatmate. two different ways of functioning, and an attempt to gain understanding in how living with an hsp and non-hsp can work. i do yearn for an easy living environment where i am "just" known and vice-versa, until that happens again, life gives an opportunity for me to learn about where i can expect my boundaries to be respected, and on the other hand areas where i have to accept and tolerate. its not going to be an easy lesson to digest, but we will see what happens.

 And this learning softens my compassion to christian thinking that I was made aware of in the last week or so. There is a pressure to marry, there is a pressure to date prudently, there is a mindset only to date possible  christian spouses.  On hearing it, it made me angry. when I hope for a world of sincere love and unity, I hoped that religion wouldn’t be such a divisive factor. Love thy neighbour.  How can you guarantee someone else's faith? How can you guarantee that someone else will not turn  to your faith?  The frustration got me to a shouting-point in Dam Square. If we are putting ourselves in a faith for what god has planned, putting our life to gods work. then who the fuck are we to think ourselves power of attorney when it comes to relations? Are we so arrogant to think that we have better plans?


Christian girls that I have spoken to, have their reasoning, I don’t agree with it. But I respect it. I just do not like any feeling of "us and them". I look on a forum for sensitive people, and there is sometimes also a notion for "us and them". Normal people don’t understand sensitive people, and normally i have found they don't. but is that through their own decision, or lack of awareness? It would be easier for me to associate only with people that have a deeper understanding of me. But as difficult as it feels, I am in situations where I have to make myself understood. It feels safe to be in what you know, and it feels comfortable to be in what you know.  To be sensitive in a "normal" environment, well it’s a roller coaster. On bad days its oppressive in feeling, on better days though it allows deeper appreciation of good that IS in the world. But it also gives me opportunity to further look at my own sensitivities and reassess areas in which my foot is on the break. Areas that I can change to make my life feel easier. I think that the point I am trying to make is, also with my christian friends in mind. what we want is not always what we need. Christian girls may want a christian boyfriend, i may prefer at times to seek out those who understand me better, but if gods plan is for what we need in his eyes, maybe our perspectives, and expectations need to soften and become more welcoming.

 I like the idea of being connected, but in order to connect, its not always comfortable. I am not sure where this process is going, but I am trying to keep my foot off the break. and depending on the traffic, well I'll send you a postcard.

".. You can't choose what adventure your on necessarily, but you can choose the attitude you take to the adventure… if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well I say, why not make margaritas? You can choose"                             
                                                                           -  Ruper Isaacson (The Horse Boy Foundation).

These last weeks have been somewhat intense, so a leaving tune is one to get dancing during testing times. Shake it up.

Black woman by Gery Mendes AKA  GMB.  I would heavily encourage you to check him on Facebook or Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment