“I wasn’t hurt, but I had a lot of feelings and when they all mix I turn into a mush. I wanted to go have a meltdown, but it was time to get back on the horse.”
“Oh yeah, get back on the horse.” she said. “Like the saying!”
Because I am me, horses come up a lot. I try not to get too technical, because therapist isn’t exactly a horse person. But here, she found some common ground and smiled at me knowingly. That’s when I realized we weren’t on the same page.
“Um..” I filled the space.
“Wait—that’s a real thing?”
“So what would happen if you didn’t get back on the horse, and went to go have a good cry instead?”
“Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. Toughness is highly regarded in the horse world.”
She stared at me.
“It’s a point of pride to get through hard things, and put your feelings in a box. People get praised for their war stories of riding through injuries and crazy situations. Literally yesterday someone told me how they got thrown into this huge jump, had an injury that probably should have been seen a doctor, and then went to compete in a horse show the next day. And we were all impressed,” I explained.
Through the zoom screen, her brain slowly broke into pieces.
“I mean, one of my favorite horse stories is the time I got thrown into a jump at a horse show. I hit this metal piece that holds the jump rails up, which tore through my breeches. So I safety pinned them together, showed the rest of the day, and still have a huge scar on my ass to show for it.”
“Okay,” she paused, processing. “Do you have any injuries that you maybe want to seek medical attention for this time?”
“Oh no,” I replied. “I’m totally fine. This is not a big deal.”
She kept a straight face, though I was fairly certain everything I just explained was against every self-care, “feel the feelings” training she’s ever had.
“Yeah, I’m not sure if I’m the way I am because of this sport or I like this sport because of the way I am.”
“Well,” she finally spoke. “I’m glad you didn’t go cry?”