In the last 48 hours you three have rocked my world, and my first need is to thank you. Maggie, you wrote to Sidran to ask if the blog had moved or if there were plans to bring it back to life. You were hoping it was still alive. Tracy, my friend and colleague, walked me through surrendering the shame I felt about having neglected the blog for so long. And Vicki, my friend and partner in horse rescue adventures, you called me to ask when I was going to get myself writing again as you and the girls at work like to read what I have to say…
I feel wanted and needed and my heart feels full. That warmth has shoved the shame right out of my gut and given me the desire to “come home.” There are at least a half dozen partial blog posts filed away in this computer. Why didn’t I finish them? I have so much I want to write about, to share with you, and to learn from you… But the words kept being shelved.
Yeah, I’ve been busy this past year. Teaching and consulting work has been there and I have enjoyed it immensely. But it doesn’t keep me connected like this can. And the passion in my heart for rescuing animals that others see as unhealable has required great effort as well. The “vicious” dogs that I brought home are all snoring as I write. The cats are watching the bird feeders outside the window. The horses, no longer so thin you don’t want to look at them, nor lame, are waiting for a delivery of carrot chunks later. And they have changed me greatly in this past year, since I’ve been away from you. And now I realize that maybe that’s a good thing.
I glanced at the last two blog posts - the overwhelmingly long ones. I’ve learned my lesson. It is not likely useful for me to rant on and on to you when I get so frustrated. Or it might be. I hope you’ll let me know. I think I needed a break, after all these years, from the reality that many people who live with self-injury remain, still, terribly judged, mistreated, and misunderstood. In spite of the fact that no one I’ve ever met has lived a life without some form of self-harm, when people turn to cutting, burning, punching or other forms of self-inflicted violence, cruel things happen to them. Many of us still get shamed, blamed, or ignored. Others get institutionalized and tied down or drugged against their will. Still, it is happening now, to someone, as I write. Others lose access to the supports they want if their SIV is discovered or if they refuse to “stop it.”
I think I let myself get worn down by how slowly systems and some people change when it comes to understanding SIV, trauma, healing connections, all that we know in our bones is helpful for healing from the need to cut, burn, punch ourselves, whatever it is…. I forgot, until I heard from the three women I mentioned earlier, and until I thought about what I have been doing the past year with the horses, that it is not up to any of us, but especially me, to “change the world.” It is up to us to do what feels like the right thing, to tend to what is in front of us, and that is enough.
I cannot change the whole biopsychiatric industry and burn all the restraints. I cannot keep all the wounded people and animals from being treated cruelly. But I can help myself, I can reach out to others who ask for my help, and I can accept help. I can tend the animals that I have given a home to. I can return to tending the blog and the web site that hold my work of several decades and feel their rebirth, again. What a good day it is.
I’m off to find the carrots, then look at the comments on the old posts, and settle in with those unfinished posts that I had set aside. It’s a great day for me. Thank you Maggie, Tracy, and Vicki.
And, for those interested (as I tend to teach more and more about the healing power of animals), here is a picture of the no longer starved, barely able to walk, latest rescued horse, Cloud. He has gained nearly 300 pounds. No longer staggering or dragging his hooves, we play together by going for rides. His trot and canter are still quite rough, and my bouncing on his back makes both of us laugh. And he has learned to give kisses… for a carrot.