I started the blog challenge late, so decided I would go back and fill in where I could the letters that I missed. E is one of those letters.
Encouragement. Encouragement comes in so many different forms and can fill so many different functions. Yesterday was a day filled with encouragement.
First, Nicole noticed right away that I was wearing my new riding breeches and complimented me on how I looked. This was wonderful, because I was really worried that I looked like an overcooked sausage in them. She also noticed my half chaps. She beemed a bit, saying she would convert me before we were through. And then she made a point of saying how good I looked in the breeches and how I should wear clothes that showed off my body. (I only wear baggy clothes.)
I didn't really get into the whole, deep, dark reason I wear baggy clothes bought from the men's clothing section of the store. It's because I don't want people seeing me as female - it feels to unsafe to be seen that way. I know this is a hold over from the sexual abuse I suffered when I was younger, back when rape wasn't talked about, and good girls don't and it had to be my fault. I learned then to hide my femaleness in bulky clothes and oversized shirts. It's armor and protection. I can't tell you how hard it is to wear breeches, because there is nothing between them and me, no place to hide, no way to conceal. I do wear an oversized sweatshirt that falls down past my hips, which does help, but maybe, at some point toward summer, I will ride in breeches without even that. Daring, me.
Second, T asked me last night if I thought I was fat. I said yes, in part because I no longer have the slim, slender, androgenous figure of a teenage boy, having stretched that out some having a child. Plus, the years since I stopped living on adrenaline, Dr Pepper and stress have taken their toll. I have put on a few pounds. He told me I should stop telling myself that and start telling myself I am thin. That way, he explained, I will be thin. And healthy, J added. So, now, I am going to tell myself I am thin and healthy and strong and able to ride Ashke the way I remember. All of that will become my new mantra, in the hopes of making my reality fit my thoughts. Got to be better than spending my days thinking I'm fat and broken.
Third, I need to remember that Ashke is still learning. I need to encourage him to try. I need to recognize that he is going to feel sore and tired and maybe a little afraid to try because he doesn't want to be hurt. I need to remember that his back is growing and changing and it will take time for the muscle to develop. I need to remember to let him know how much I love being with him and how much I love seeing him try. Encouragement is what it is all about.