Tell Me I Can’t

Mouse Abby Ranch

“So, with all your experience training horses, showing and coaching, how do you even fit into this program?”  A seasoned graduate inquired of me.  Caught off guard I wasn’t sure how to answer.  I stared into her eyes for a moment gathering my composure and fighting back insecure tears.  How did I fit into this?  I really didn’t know.  Hell, I was completely shocked when I was accepted into the program to be honest.  I’d only been in about 6 months at that point and my insecurity was glaringly obvious, to me at least, as I struggled to answer her.  Finally, I said, “I have no idea.  What I do know is I am being called to pay forward all that has been gifted to me and I can’t ….. I won’t start colts and rehab pissed off ex-racehorses for the rest of my life.”  She stared deep into my eyes … my soul, and then shrugged her shoulders.  Ugh …

Her question rattled me.  I was completely shocked to be accepted into the program and then to have a seasoned graduate, a woman who was well respected and out practicing, ask me what I could bring to the table …  It wasn’t a month or so prior to this brief encounter that I had reached out to yet a different graduate asking if she’d consider mentoring me a bit.  I had ridden with her in a clinic a couple years prior.  We’d chatted it up, hung out together and I had even given her a tub of poultice for her precious mare that wasn’t handling the harder footing and jumping we were doing.  I thought we’d connected and felt “safe” asking her if I could call her or email her to ask questions, run things by her, etc. as I began journeying along the same path she had.  I felt annoyed and disappointed when her response was that yes, she did indeed remember me and the beautiful black mare I had ridden alongside her and that she’d be happy to “mentor” me ….. for $125 an hour!!!  I was so utterly disappointed and pissed!  Really!?!  Within the program she is mentioned often as someone well liked, respected and used as an example of what success looks like.  I feel annoyed when I hear her name.  I was even hesitant to accept her friend request on Facebook.  You guessed it ….. ugh!

Last week on my coaching call with my program coach (this is a person who has their shit together and makes sure I do too!) she said, more as a thought than a question, “How are you going to attract clients to your practice?  You are rural without much exposure and not exactly along a road well traveled.  What will bring people to you?”

I’m sitting here with my damn knee on ice, looking at what I need to be doing this senior semester of mine, getting my priorities in order before the kids start school and all hell breaks loose with homecoming, football, volleyball, etc.!  If you have kids getting ready to start school, you know exactly what I am talking about!  I’m ahead of the game.  My inner nerd has shone brightly with book reviews all turned in and interviews completed!  My website is in the final stages of completion and my logo, business name and releases were complete almost a year ago!  Lol!  I wish I had known I was such a nerd when I was in school, maybe my GPA would have been better!

One thing my inner nerd cannot seem to master … database.  By graduation we are asked to have 1,000 contacts in our email database.  I thought (before knowing better, 1,000?  Scoff!  I’ll have 2,000!)  Ummm … yeah, I have 122 people who’ve opted-in to my database at this point.  Opting into my database isn’t about spamming rather it’s about letting people know when my grand opening will be, demos, retreats, workshops, connection circles, etc., to share newsletters, blog posts and otherwise reach out and share what my beautiful equine coaching partners are up to.  And so, the insecurities I felt applying and stepping into this program are rearing their ugly heads as I think about my pathetic number of opt-ins.  I’m not a quitter and I will keep hammering away at this however, I’m at a loss ….

I’ve been thinking about what my program coach pondered aloud on our last call together.  She’s right, I am rural.  We’re 45 minutes to an hour from anywhere, any direction.  That means, you MUST unplug and slow down.  People won’t come to me because I’m convenient and honestly, I’m not interested in convenience.  They will come because I can offer them something they cannot get just anywhere.  What is that you ask?  I can offer them the beauty of wide open spaces and the humbling sense of peace that comes with that.  I can offer dirt, weeds, grass, wildflowers, birds singing, coyotes yipping, cows grazing, the breeze sweeping, the sun warming and horses zenning.  What I can offer is the opportunity to be heard.  Not just listened to, but truly heard.  I have already traversed the hellish path of freeing myself from evil.  I know what it is to question myself, second guessing each decision and then pressing on, leaning into my faith and God’s grace.  I know what it is to dig deep and summon that gritty, don’t mess with me any longer stance that is the difference between giving up and digging in.  And my horses … I haven’t even begun to share with you all that my horses have to offer.

So, how do I fit into all this?  I don’t!  That’s the beauty of it all.  With all my experience training horses, showing and coaching I don’t fit at all!  And honestly, why would I want to fit into a mold, a box, a belief of what someone else thinks I should be?  I’m all me.  A little bit of grace and a ton of grit … a little bit of class and a truck load of kiss my ass … and ….. the education I am building on and soon, the certification I’ll have, to coach women along their own paths as they free themselves from the stranglehold of narcissistic abusers, finding closure, healing and the path to a future so bright, so peace-filled and fulfilling that it’s beyond anything they could dream up!  Now that ….. THAT is what I’m called to!  So, ask me again, what can I bring to the table 😉  I dare ya!

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” 

What is “it”?

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I think I may finally be finding “it“.  What exactly is “it“, you ask?  “It” is compassion.  And not just any kind of compassion.  I am overflowing with compassion for others, animals, you name it.  I have had little to no compassion for myself … My mentor has pointed this out more than once and each time I’ve shrugged her off.  I know she’s right but who has time for all that self-love crap anyway!  Lol!  Well, I think I may have caught a glimmer of “it” today.

There is a HUGE shift happening inside of me that has been taking place for quite some time.  I’m beginning to uncover me, the me that I’m supposed to be and as my layers peel back and new things are brought into my awareness, I am faced with the same choice each and every one of us is offered: stay the same – status quo or make some changes.  I’ve chosen the latter.  I tend to flip status quo the bird on a regular basis so …..

I joined a gym a few weeks ago.  I have been a weight lifter since high school.  I love lifting however it’s taken a back seat for quite some time now and … well … I miss it.  An acquaintance told me about this 6 week challenge they offer and I decided to investigate.  This isn’t just your run of the mill gym by any stretch.  It fits somewhere in the category of compassionate cross fit-ish, HIIT meets traditional weight lifting.  The owner told me as he was interrogating me … errr, I mean interviewing me 😉 that what he has worked hard to create and maintain is a gym family where everyone is there for each other.  I shrugged him off thinking it was a great sales pitch!  It wasn’t.  I have found his words to be true.  And so I have been driving an hour into town, working out and driving an hour back home for the past few weeks.  I have orientation tomorrow and then my challenge begins.  All this said to share that my knees are driving me to tears today.  If I want to be ornery and gross out my husband, I’ll lay in bed and straighten my knees out.  They grind and crackle causing him to shudder in horror!  To say the joints has been used and abused is an understatement!

After getting a game plan together with the gym owner to manage the inflammation and pain (I will be trying an ice bath next week – SHRIEK!), I went out and sat in my pick up feeling defeated and frustrated.  Not being able to do what I know I am capable of is beyond frustrating.  My self talk has sounded something like, “Seriously Jess!  MOVE IT!  Take no prisoners!  Suck it up damn it!”  You know, really loving, compassionate, pep talking kind of inner cheer leading (hand over face)!  And as the tears started to leak out I heard this small still voice inside of me say, “I love you.  Way to go girl!  You’ve been in five days this week, four days last week, three days the week you started.  And you’re gearing up to hit your nutrition head on!  You are doing an amazing job!  Don’t worry about those knees.  They aren’t holding you back from anything!”  

I sat quietly with those kind words before turning the key in the ignition and heading to Target for some ice packs for my knees.  Sheesh, those are the kind of words I would speak over my kids, my husband, just about anyone.  She’s right, that small still voice.  I committed and I have’t backed down.  I know myself well enough to know that when I start something I am all in!  I hadn’t taken the time to acknowledge my efforts or celebrate my actions.  It was pointed out that I keep checking things off my lists without coming up for air and celebrating all I’ve accomplished, big and small!

I’ve survived a covert narcissist and the kind of hellish divorce that scares most people into staying in miserable, abusive, defeating, unhealthy, dangerous relationships (and in case you’re wondering, yes, I’d go through it all over again).  I have raised, up to this point, and am raising, two amazing kids.  I am redefining my path and my purpose on this planet.  I have tackled a program that is a masters degree on steroids.  And I am taking back control over my physical body and health.  I’ve been doing all this all the while, hammering on myself inwardly, demanding more and more and setting almost unobtainable goals like an unrelenting drill instructor barking orders at his new recruits!

As I type this, I am still thoughtfully contemplating my first encounter, quite possibly ever, of self compassion, finally finding “it“.  In a gentle hush of a whisper, that beautiful, small, still voice quieted my inner drill instructor.  All the noise that D.I. has been making for yeeeaaarrrsss is quiet right now and it’s truly amazing.  My inner drill instructor serves me well and I have and will continue to accomplish great things thanks to the driving force of my inner D.I.  However now, the space has shifted and is shared with an inner coach cheering me on and reminding me to down shift and take a deep breath so she can bring into my awareness all that deserves celebrating.

In the gestalt work that my horses and I offer, one of the tools we use is called, Mandala.  I don’t want to give too much away here (I wouldn’t do it justice), however suffice to say the exercise is an ongoing one where you begin to recognize all the parts of yourself, the good, the bad and the underbelly!  Each part has come along in life for good reason and there is no shaming, dismissing, or exorcism of any part of self rather each part is inventoried, acknowledged and given their own space.  Now sometimes that space may be a beach side hammock where that part of self is asked to take a break and drink fruity umbrella drinks until called upon, however no part of self is banished.  Today, I found two new parts of my own mandala, my inner D.I. and my inner coach ❤  Thanks to my inner coach, I am now open to learning about “it“!

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”

Disappearing Duallys

Reflection

I want to tell you a little story about a sexy black dually that went “missing”!  That’s right, a whole entire one ton dually pick up, POOF, disappeared!  Black, really dirty, seven tires (counting the spare), gooseneck hitch, 6 speed, Disney’s Cars CD blasting on the stereo, “beer” coolers in the floorboard of the back seat packed with spare pull-ups and extra kids clothes, console full of miscellaneous junk only mom’s carry in their rides … yeah, M-I-S-S-I-N-G!

It was a few days before Memorial Day and we ran my pick up in to town to the Dodge dealership.  It needed some warranty work done and they said it would take about a week to complete.  The plow truck, my wasband’s mommy’s company owned, was my new chariot for the week.  I hated the idea of having my kids in the front seat (it was a single cab pick up) so I kept my errand running to a minimum and took back roads to avoid the highway the best I could going back and forth dropping them off and picking them up from school.  After a week and a half, I asked my wasband about my dually.  Had he spoken to the service manager?  Was it ready yet?  Were they working on it?  What was the scoop?  He said they were waiting on parts.  That seemed legit so I dropped it for a week or so.

Two and a half weeks passed and still no sexy black dually.  We call her ‘Black Dirty’, kinda like ‘Black Beauty’.  Every time I asked my wasband about it he would shrug his shoulders and tell me they were still waiting on parts.  I was frustrated!  I wanted my kids back in the back seat of my dually where they were safest and trying to fit groceries, two full size car seats and a diaper bag full of everything a mom packs around for two babes into the cab of a single cab, beat up plow truck is a bitch!

The day I bolted I knew that he was likely to call the cops and tell them the pick up I was driving was stolen.  That’s his m.o.  I cussed at him once calling him an asshole and he threatened to call the police and file verbal harassment charges against me … not kidding.  I sent the kids to safety with a close friend and drove to the Dodge dealership.  I wanted my pick up whether it had been looked at or not.

I walked in and the service manager smiled and asked me, “Are you still having problems with your pick up?”

I looked at him confused, “I’m actually here to pick it up.  Can I leave you the keys to the pick up I parked out front so that my husband can send someone to get it?”

He looked at me, even more confused than I was.  He said, “We’re talking about the black one ton Dodge dually you purchased in South Dakota?”

I said, “Yes.  The dirtiest one on your lot.”

His confusion grew as he flipped through his papers on his clip board.  When he looked up he said, “You brought that in three weeks ago right?  It was before the holiday weekend, correct?” 

“Yes.” I answered.

“I’m not sure what to tell you.  That was picked up two and a half weeks ago.”

I felt the color drain from my face.  “Wait.  Are you sure?  My husband said ya’ll have been waiting on parts for it.”

He replied apologetically, “Honey, we had the parts here in house.  It was fixed and ready to go out the door in less than a week.  Ummm … two men came by and drove it off.  Not your husband but people that worked for him, I think?” 

I mumbled a thank you as I turned to leave.  My legs felt like jello.  He’d been lying to me the whole time.

Fast forward. At temporary orders he’s court ordered to turn my pick up over to me.  That’s right.  All this time he was completely okay with his kids riding in the front seat of an old piece of shit clunker plow truck (can you say, “Dad of the Year” candidate?)  He told the judge he had no idea where it was.  Claimed, last he knew it was at the dealership being worked on.  The judge told him he probably ought to find it since I had a letter from the dealership stating it had been picked up by two of his employees … errrr, I mean two of his mommy’s employees.  Several months later his daddy and brother met me in a McDonald’s parking lot with the pick up.  It magically materialized!!!  That’s right folks, as easily as it vanished it reappeared!  The story doesn’t end here!

Several years ago, my super hero husband was driving my sexy black dually (he’s a white pick up kinda guy however, they say once you go black you don’t go back!  Lol!) and the transmission ground to a halt.  It went to a friend’s diesel shop and when they dropped the transmission out of it I got a phone call.  “Has the transmission on this thing ever been worked on before?”

“No.”  I answered, “It’s been a dream and I’ve never had to worry about anything with it.  I can have the service records sent to you if you’d like?”

“Remind me again, this is a 2010, correct?”

I laughed, “Ummm … I know you know that it is.”

“Well, I don’t know what to tell you but this isn’t your transmission.  This thing is rusted, in rough shape and the grease isn’t factory, someone has been into this thing, Jess.  I honestly can’t believe it’s held on this long…”

As his voice trailed off I thought, “You rotten son of a bitch …”  My spare tire had up and disappeared in that time frame and apparently so had my transmission.

I often ponder, did he really think I was that stupid?  Did he really think he’d get away with it?  Did he really believe that he’d pulled one over on everyone?  That no one would realize the truth?  Not his truth (narcissists make up their own truth as they go.  He loved the song by Miranda Lambert, “White Liar” and now I know why.)  Then I remind myself, “Silly kid, he’s a narcissistic sociopath!  Of course he believed you were stupid, naive, and incapable of putting all the puzzle pieces together!”

Divorce truly is hell.  Difficult in the best of circumstances.  Nightmarish when you’re divorcing a covert narcissist.  As he says his vows Saturday I will be toasting the bride and wishing her the best of luck.  You see, she has no idea with whom she’s going under contract with (think selling your soul to the devil himself).  She thinks she does and he has all the right answers to lay her concerns to rest however my guess is, those whom she thinks are her friends and her family will be quietly whispering amongst themselves discussing what a creepy, slime ball he is, “His kids are great!  I really don’t know about him.  Something is off…”  Unsure of what to say or do, they will love all over her, hug her, bid her congratulations and silently send a desperate prayer to God that it all works out.  Ask me how I know?  This was my family once upon a time, too…

“You are beautiful, powerful, brilliant & brave”

 

Triple Negative Catapult

Nail

The first time I met her was on a cold, blizzardy, January afternoon.  She stood out in the blowing snow next to the round pen in her cute pink beanie coaching me and applying (and layering) brain blisters by the dozens.  She wasn’t sure I’d come back so she hit me hard!  My brain was mush that evening as the weather lifted and it was all I could do to load my horses when we were finished, something we later joked about!  I loved her ❤  She respected me as a learner, as an introvert and as an abused, hurting, battered soul.  Every six weeks or so four to five of us would get together and spend the weekend working on improving our horsemanship skills and ourselves (horses and personal growth go hand in hand).  I can remember emailing her about three days after she was here, sharing my “Aha’s”, asking questions about what I hadn’t retained and looking for “homework” to work on so that I was sure to improve before she traveled our way again.  I had found purpose and direction during a time when I felt so lost and dead.  She was very much a big sister to me and I know, she worried about me.

Our life path’s were parallel in an eerily similar way.  She only met my, then husband, once maybe twice and saw right through him.  I didn’t have to share much, she read what was unspoken, having already dealt with her own version of his kind of crazy.  She had divorced a manipulative abuser (much like mine) and done what she could to move forward however the unfinished business of her past ate away at her body in the form of cancer.  I met her as she was stoically battling stage two breast cancer.  I never knew her “healthy”.

I will never forget the day.  We had celebrated her remission and being cancer free only months before.  She said she had news and I knew it wasn’t good before she even said a word.  Triple negative metastatic breast cancer … I can remember hearing those words and something about it being the rarest type of breast cancer with little known survival rate.  I honestly don’t remember much about the conversation beyond that.  It was January and I decided I was going to raise money and participate in a marathon and a half.  I didn’t know what else to do.  As I trained, working my body and preparing it for what lay ahead that June, she worked her body, battling and fighting this evil killer.  Whether it was blizzarding, blowing or sunny, I was out on the lonely dirt roads fighting a battle of my own and ignoring my breaking heart.  She was dying and I really didn’t know what to do about it.  I couldn’t fight for her, I couldn’t wave a magic wand … all I could do was watch her waste away as her body became more and more ravaged and weak.

It got to the point that she couldn’t drive anymore and so I offered to meet her dad halfway.  She wanted to spend time with us and come hell or high water, I was going to do all I could to help make that happen.  That Friday I picked her up and took her to our friend’s facility where we would all meet the next morning.  I think we all knew in our hearts it would be the last time she was with us in that way.  I loaded my horses and rolled out early that Saturday morning full of angst and heartache.  As I began grabbing gears and accelerating up the highway for the hour drive south, that damn song by Martina McBride, began playing, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”.  I cried and cried, and cried some more…

I got the call one morning.  The voice on the other line said, “I know you were planning on coming up however I think you better come now.  She’s ready.”   It was early March.  We’d just spent a weekend riding and being together.  It hadn’t been but two weeks, had it?  “Damn It!” I yelled!  I remember throwing clothes in a bag and telling my then husband, “I’m leaving now.  I have to go.”  He looked at me, looked at our then two toddlers and said, “You can’t.  I have things to do.  I don’t have time to babysit, Jess!”  I argued with him and tried to explain myself not understanding then, that a narcissist could care less when it’s about you and your needs.  Life is about them and revolves around them.  They are the sun and you are merely a lowly planet orbiting around their needs and wants.  I dug in my heels.  This wasn’t up for discussion and if it meant I paid dearly for it later (which I did) it was worth it.  I looked at him and said, “You will be a father and take care of your children and I am going to be a friend and sister to someone I love as she leaves this planet.”  I kissed the kids, squeezed them tight and pulled out of the driveway with him in my rear view mirror, utter disgust on his face.

As we gathered around the hospital bed with hospice in and out, we joked and shared memories of good times together.  My beautiful surrogate sister would crack a smile periodically, taking it all in.  I had done something I’d always wanted to a week before and whispered to her that it was her fault 😉  I’d always wanted a tattoo.  I love them, I love the stories they tell about people, their loves, losses and faith.  My then husband hated tattoos (if his wife to be has one, he will tell her that he loves tattoos, upon reading this … hand over face emoji).  It was for that reason I’d never gotten one until I began accepting that he was going to hate me no matter what I did or didn’t do (I can hear him now as he and his cohorts read and dissect what I’m writing, “I never HATED her”).  I was learning quickly that life is short, it might as well be sweet!  She couldn’t see well at that stage in her process but insisted on seeing what I’d done.  I lifted my shirt and I can still feel her frail finger tracing the outline of the tattoo …..  time stood still …..

She died that next morning.  She wasn’t much older than me and the tragedy of it all hit me like waves rolling across the beach.  We all returned to our lives, routines, “normalcy” though nothing has been the same since.  A week or so later I was out on a lonely stretch of dirt road training when I looked down and there in the sand in front of my feet was a huge nail bent in the shape of an awareness ribbon.  I cradled it in my hand and fell to my knees overwhelmed with the loss of her, grateful she’d left me this gift.  I knew she was with me.  I knew my life was forever changed.  I had no idea what was on the horizon for me however I knew that I had to save myself and my kids.  Life was and is too short, it should be sweet.

I carry that nail with me every day.  I hear her in my mind and I feel her in my heart.  In her death, she offered me a view of the world I might not have seen.  I considered all that was behind me and began to think about what might be on the horizon if only I could summon the courage to trek into the valley below …

“You are beautiful, powerful, brilliant & brave”   

Grief & Relief

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I was headed south to a close friend’s place to escape the utter turmoil that had quickly become my life.  My horses were at her place temporarily and her welcoming, open arms had always made her place one of peace and refuge.  I was exhausted from the undertow of stress dragging me further and further out to sea.  My soon to be ex-husband had completely denied the kids and I the monetary means to take care of our most basic of needs.  I could not buy groceries let alone clothing or anything else we were without.  We had bolted with the clothes on our backs months before and he was holding everything hostage, including our underwear!  His attempts to break me and force me back under his thumb were leaving me feeling utterly weak and depleted.  I would have gone homeless and hungry before I would have returned to that prison.  He was working every angle possible to make sure I ended up completely destitute, punishing me for having the audacity to leave him with little concern as to how this was affecting the kids.  His scorched earth policy meant he would destroy everything in his path, whatever it took, to destroy me.

As I drove down the two lane highway I had a sharp twinge of pain in my left side.  It grabbed hard and fast and took my breath away.  I wasn’t sure what to think of it and chalked it up to a bad cramp.  My body had been screaming in every way for months now, ocular migraines, unexplained rashes, rapid weight loss, ringing ears, you name it.  My body was rebelling against the extreme strain and stress I was living.  The pain continued to increase in severity and intensity until I was almost doubled over the steering wheel.  I course corrected and pulled into a fire station for help.  After asking questions, assessing my pulse and heart rate, etc., the EMT and firemen suggested they take me to the hospital.  I knew I couldn’t pay for the ride or the care in the ambulance.  I told them how grateful I was for their concern and help and promised to take myself straight to the hospital.

After being admitted I learned that the pain I was battling was a pinched ovarian cyst and … I was pregnant.  What in the hell was I going to do!?!  Here I was trying to break free and now, I was even more ensnared.  I knew where this conversation was headed before even calling him to tell him “the news”.  I’d been accused of affair … after affair … after affair … over the years.  I smiled at an older gentleman bagging my groceries one afternoon and was accused of screwing him!  I was accused of having an affair with a close family friend who boarded his horse at our house, the assistant fire chief, his best friend from high school, a complete stranger who complimented him on having such a beautiful family when we were at lunch one day …  There are times that I have thought I should have crossed that line, maybe I would have gotten out sooner!  Sheesh …..  I left the hospital in utter shock and dreaded the call I knew I had to make.

After spending the day at my friend’s place, I summoned all the courage I had and put on my armor for the onslaught of accusations and the tongue lashing I knew I was going to get and called him.  When he picked up, I simply stated, “I went to the doctor this morning and I’m pregnant.  I understand you will demand a paternity test and I am happy to do that after the baby is born.  I will not have an invasive one done in utero.”  The line was quiet and I braced myself.  What came next was so strange and unexpected.  He replied with the most sappy, apologetic tone.  I kept looking at my phone thinking I’d misdialed.  He promised we’d work this out, begged me to come home, told me he didn’t think I’d had a physical affair rather an emotional one, claimed he was so excited by the unexpected news.  I felt nothing.  After years of being manipulated and having my heart strings played like a fiddle, I knew the game.  I hung up the phone and sobbed as I drove.  My heart was shattered.

His charade of begging me to return to him, attempting to guilt me into giving in with stories of broken families and the pain I was inflicting (remember, narcissists cannot take responsibility for their actions) continued up until the next batch of “news”.  During a follow up visit to the doctor it was decided that I was miscarrying.  There was no heart beat, the baby hadn’t grown and the tissue was beginning to break apart.  Though she knew little about me or the hellish path I was navigating, she said to me, “It’s rare for a pregnancy to survive extreme stress and you look exhausted.  Your body is too depleted to carry a baby right now.”  I remember feeling sad and at the same time, oddly relieved.  A tear slipped out from behind the dam I was containing them behind.  My heart hurt to lose this child and yet I was grateful.  Knowing I would soon be letting my kids go for the weekends was hard to think about and they were in first and second grade.  I honestly couldn’t wrap my mind around exchanging an infant.  Due to my history of high risk pregnancies, the doctor wanted to schedule a DNC (I call it a Scrape & Suck) instead of allowing me to miscarry “naturally”.  I scheduled the surgery for that evening not wanting to risk miscarrying during our court appearance the next morning. And then I made the call.

As the words miscarrying came out of my mouth he flipped a 180 degree turn.  Now there’s the man I knew!  The sappy, glowing father-to-be was now a seething venomous snake calling me every name in the book and accusing me of aborting the child.  He called the counselor I was working with telling him that I was an alcoholic and an addict and that I’d just killed his child.  He began to vacillate between reality and the reality he was making up on the fly, claiming that the child wasn’t his, that he was just going to raise it as if it were.  Total mayhem had broke loose!

Fast forward over a year.  As I finished loading a friend’s cow trailer with my round pen panels, my ex walked around the back of the trailer and said out of the blue, “You know that time I was working down in Arizona?  Well, I had a vasectomy when I was down there so that baby couldn’t have been mine.”   I remember looking at him like he had three heads and then burst out in uproarious laughter!  His face turned beet red and the veins in his neck began bulging.  I shook my head as I hustled to get in my pick up considering that not many men in the world have vasectomies and hide it from their wives!  What a loser I thought and filed the incident under my, ‘Can’t Make This Shit Up’ folder!

Sometimes I think about that precious child.  What would he have looked like, what personality quirks would he have had…  All of my nieces and nephews look like my side of the family, dark hair, dark eyes, freckles and they all would pass for siblings not just cousins.  I imagine this child would have been no different.  When I think about that child, I send him a prayer of gratitude.  His soul’s journey may have been short however, it was impactful.

“You are beautiful, powerful, brilliant & brave”