Assimilating Duality

Assimilating Duality

The only official goal I made for myself this year was to learn to walk in heels like a bad ass. Now I know we’re only halfway through February, but I’m doing exceptionally well with this. I’ve conquered the 2″ work heel, and have future plans to move on to the “Why yes, I will have another glass of Prosecco” heel in the near future.

I know, I know… I’m a hero to my generation.

That was the only official goal, but I had a lot more in the back of my mind that I wanted to tackle this year. The most ambiguous of these desires was attempting to find peace with my two sides of self – the writer and the rider.

Traditionally, I’m the kind of person who will throw my entire self into something. When we bought our first house in 2011, I was ready for my own show on HGTV. In college it was about being the deepest and most introspective 20 year old poet the world had ever seen. After I got Simon, distances and lead changes were all I could think about. Plus we can’t forget my brief yet highly intense foray into showing model horses which solidified my status as a bonafide crazy person.

Photo by Heather F
Photo by Heather F

After Tim died, the rope anchoring these transient passions snapped. I had just witnessed the person I loved more than anyone else in the world become a victim of his depression, and it made me acutely aware of how temporary our emotional stability can be. Nothing else mattered but getting through my widowhood while safely outside the confines of a mental hospital. The hobbies and activities I felt passionately about before, even Simon, suddenly became trite. I tried to dabble in showing and training seriously again, but my heart wasn’t in it for quite a while.

Last summer and into the fall, my happiness was the only thing that was important. I quietly nurtured it like a bonsai tree, stroking the tiny leaves and spritzing the twisted branches. I was constantly aware that it was in danger of withering away at any minute.

Sometimes the world was too much, the winds too strong, and I’d keep my little tree locked away in the safety of my apartment. We’d lie on the couch and mindlessly watch television, slipping out of consciousness in the drone of voices and colors.

Other times I’d have to lean in close to hear it whisper. “What’s that, little tree? You want a new wallet and Kate Spade is having a secret sale?”

You have to admit, my happiness has good taste.

My happiness also somehow ordered a portrait of Simon...
My happiness also somehow ordered a portrait of Simon…

As the deepest fog of my grief started to lift, I realized that life seemed kind of empty. Did I really just spend 24 hours watching Doctor Who and eating mini Reeses? I had, but I was ready to do more. As I began to wake up, I responded to my months of apathy by doing all the things.

Away weekend horse show? Yes please! Seven week long memoir writing class? Oh, that sounds like a fabulous idea. LET’S BUY A HOUSE. LET’S DO ALL THE DIY PROJECTS. Dinner with a friend! Ride the pony more! Cocktails! Happy hour! Tinder! Re-do the my laundry room before I start unpacking!

This was maybe a better idea in theory.
This was maybe a better idea in theory.

Everything! All the the things! All the passions at once!

I am busier than every before, and haven’t felt a moment of “I’m bored” in months. Instead of putting my whole self into different fleeting passions, I put as much of myself as possible into everything at the same time.  The more I stacked into my schedule, the more things began to tear at the seams. The horse isn’t getting ridden as much as before (yet the show is creeping up on me), the DIY projects in the house are pretty half assed and the writing is pretty decent… when I have time to sit down and focus on it (which is not often).

I’m no longer living a polarized, one-track-mind life… but I’m not sure it’s any better.

This is what I know right now: I like Kate Spade and Kate Chopin. Prufrock and ponies. Fixer Upper and fixed stride lines. My house needs to feel comfortable and happy for me, but perhaps not magazine worthy. I need riding for my center and writing for my soul.

Oh, and I look pretty awesome in heels – I know that too.

19 thoughts on “Assimilating Duality

  1. Life is ever-changing. I like to feel constant and stable… but that’s not really living, as far as I’m concerned. It’s good to embrace new things, try different strategies and see what works (keep it!) and what doesn’t (try something else!).

    Every day is a gift, and while the surprise can be stressful, the stress still means to me that I have a life worth living <3

  2. I’m glad you’re feeling less bored and that your happiness seems to be doing more than whispering! Good luck with DIY projects- I love that tile in the laundry room. 🙂

  3. What you’ve described is basically life. A learning and growing process. Hang in there, you’ll find your balance… even in heels. P.s. I’m totally impressed by the heels and the DIY.

  4. You’re moving forward Lauren. A healthy choice imho. Organization will come in time.

    I totally admire you for it. I can’t imagine the hermit I would have become after going through what you have. Raising a virtual glass to you. 🙂

  5. Girlfriend, you are owning it all!
    PS – don’t we get to see pics of you in heels?? 😉
    You’re an inspiration to me. Just wanted you to know that. Thank you!

  6. I’ve not gone through anything like you have. But what you describe is pretty much my life in general. I go through phases of having 101 too many things to do (more than half of which were likely completely unnecessary) and hiding in my house with my dogs refusing to leave for anything other than work and ponies.
    I’m glad you’re able to once again feel some joy and fulfillment from the things you once loved.

  7. Being someone who has struggled off and on with depression and the associated issues that go with it, I started riding as an adult to give myself something to do that was not related to anything or anyone else. It’s for me. I don’t show much and, while my pony is in full training and learning to do spectacular things, I’m not. I get there when I can, but I don’t do it to win ribbons. I do it because I needed to connect with something and I needed something to get me out of the house and around other people.

    If it makes you happy, it’s what you should do.

  8. I love the bonsai metaphor!!! And I think it’s super commendable that you’re learning to walk in heels…I can’t do it!!

    Love the tone of this piece and your attitude. Throughout. Go girl!

  9. Ummm what is so crazy about showing model horses… not that I did that when I was in middle school and have a full tub of Breyer horses and ribbons or anything. 🙂
    Do all the things. Love all the things. You’re awesome.

  10. wavering wildly between extremes is definitely relatable… i’m always searching for that elusive ‘balance.’ in the meantime tho, i love the idea of cute heels that scream ‘why yes i *would* like another glass of prosecco lol

  11. There’s a happy medium in there somewhere. I remember when I was rock bottom depressed (following a close friend’s suicide) and made the transition from “lay in bed like a lump all day” to “fill every single minute with activities because otherwise I will have to think about all the things.” It evened out after a while, and now I feel like I’m an appropriate amount of busy but still have time for that self care buzzword stuff. You fake it til you make it. And I’m sure you look like a BOSS in heels.

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