All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time. -Mitch Alom
you are a horse running alone and he tries to tame you compares you to an impossible highway to a burning house says you are blinding him that he could never leave you forget you want anything but you you dizzy him, you are unbearable every woman before or after you is doused in your name you fill his mouth his teeth ache with memory of taste his body just a long shadow seeking yours but you are always too intense frightening in the way you want him unashamed and sacrificial he tells you that no man can live up to the one who lives in your head and you tried to change didn't you? closed your mouth more tried to be softer prettier less volatile, less awake but even when sleeping you could feel him traveling away from you in his dreams so what did you want to do love split his head open? you can't make homes out of human beings someone should have already told you that and if he wants to leave then let him leave you are terrifying and strange and beautiful something not everyone knows how to love -Warsan Shire When I lost you, I found myself.
As most everyone has seen on facebook and Instagram, I gave birth to my daughter, Johanna, on June 14th.
I want to give all the details and I will eventually share her birth story. It's a doozy. But with consideration for the other issues in my life, I want to keep her sacred and safe and untainted by that bullshit for just a moment longer.
For that same reason, I don't really have any photos or details to share. I can tell you that she's the absolute best baby in the world, that my (ex-ish)husband and I created a tiny goddess who already exceeds everything he or I were otherwise able to achieve, and that I would take bullets for this little girl. I loved her from the first moment I knew her inside me and that love only grows every day. She's drastically changed who I was as a person in the best way possible. And I'm excited to be the one who helps her grow and develop into a functional human being. It's an honor.
My barn ladies, my little saviors and support team, threw me a baby shower a few weeks ago. I was really fortunate that a group of my friends were able to come and it ended up being a great little party. A bunch of equestrians, a bunch of non-equestrians, and a keg.
This lady and I have been friends since our freshman year of high school. She drove five hours with an 18-month-old to celebrate with me.
One of my besties from my hometown. She's amazing and hilarious and so incredibly supportive.
This chick is about four weeks behind me and should really be modeling that amazing preggo body.
My unicorn cake!
Johanna's first pony.
The preggo friend from above made this for Johanna. It's inscribed on the back with her name and who made it and the location. I hung it up with one of Archie's old aluminum shoes.
One Year Anniversary
I'd debated on this with Whiskey - do I celebrate the date or the holiday? I acquired him on Mother's Day, 2017. And I think, with our story, it's infinitely more symbolic that I made it official on Mother's Day, rather than 5.14, because of the importance he had in my loss-recovery. So the day after my baby shower, I went out to the barn and split a beer between the boys and took some photos of them. Sure, it wasn't Archie's day, but I failed the dude this year.
The string popped when I tried to put it over his head. So I had to hold it.
Loves me or loves carrots?
Fancy German beer. Maybe I'll start saying he's half Knabstrupper.
The old man, because I love him.
Baby Shower #2
My coworkers got together to throw me another baby shower shortly after the first one. I wasn't sure what to expect because of the gender-association surrounding baby showers, but I was immensely pleased to see most of my coworkers were able to come. In preparation for the party, which was at a Mexican restaurant I'd recently discovered, I made a liquor and chocolate thank-you bouquet. I still plan on sending out thank you cards*.
I tried to crop out everyone else.
*I sent out thank-you cards to the blogger group that contributed to helping me out. Then I realized that I didn't put enough postage on the envelops. So if you helped (thank you!) and didn't get a card from me, please let me know!
When I lost the first baby, back in the spring of 2017, I wrote a post about how I survived. It wasn't easy, but grieving didn't involve a dramatic restructuring of my daily life.
So now I've had to essentially start over, with the knowledge that I'm going to be starting over again once kiddo gets here, and yet again when I have to go back to work. My new normal is ephemeral and dirty and stinks of desperation. Wake up alone, text no one that I love them, text no one throughout the day, meet no one for lunch, text no one that you're leaving work, meet no one at home, cook dinner for no one, go to bed alone.
But I know it won't always be like this. When she gets here, she'll be my sole focus until I'm confident and then I'll continue to work on developing this tiny human into a successful person, while also pulling myself out of the ashes of my demolished relationship.
There has been some personal growth involved. Like acknowledging to myself that my husband wasn't going to come back just because I was doing the dishes and cleaning the sink. And then slacking on those duties once my heart broke a little more. And finally doing them again once I realized that, goddammit, I like having a clean kitchen.
Or realizing that just because I'm super fucking depressed, I can't skip out on life. Or food. So I scheduled things to fill my time. I try to have at least one plan for every weekend, because the weekends are the worst. I've scribed at a dressage show, I've audited lessons, I photographed a friend competing. I've met people for lunch, I've hung out at the barn, I've gone to all those little classes. This weekend, I'm going thrift shopping for baby stuff with another pregnant friend. Next weekend, I've got my baby shower and I'm volunteering at a health fair. The weekend after that, my hair stylist will be in town and I've promised him loads of juicy gossip.
That's another thing. I write emails to my husband that I don't send. They're emotional and vacillate between anger and pain and are pretty damn cathartic. I'm pretty sure he's blocked me on iMessage (hey, it's me, your wife, till death do us part? I'd love some money for groceries/dog food/medications and for you to finance that mold inspection. Thanks for covering the termites.), but I still send him stuff there, too.
It's an all-around fucked up situation. You love someone, so you want them to be happy. But when they pursue their happiness by stomping all over you and your life, you begrudge them that happiness. Do you love them any less or do you just reach the point of self-preservation where their happiness can't come at the expense of your life?
And for those who have asked, no. I'll never take him back.
I can tell you that this whole experience has been hard. The overall taste in my mouth isn't just that my husband separated from me, but that he decimated me. This was no graceful goodbye.
It's been important during this process to take care of myself so I can better take care of my daughter. I've had to be quick on my feet and adjustable as well as ..just.. durable. I'm still human and I'm still hurt, and, oh hey, still super pregnant. So there are moments where I find myself screaming, crying, and trying so desperately hard not to text him again. For the record, he hasn't answered in weeks.
I've learned a lot about myself, my husband and my marriage over the past four weeks. I'm defeated by some of it and disgusted by other parts. I'm impressed with how fucking well I've kept my shit together.
Again, I appreciate everyone who's reached out, offered an ear, a word, baby clothes, or food. My shit would have crumbled without y'all.
On Thursday night, my husband left me. I haven't spoken to or heard from him since, save a text telling me that he thought it best if he didn't come home.
He wouldn't want this on the internet, but that's neither here nor there.
I'm going to be okay. More importantly, baby girl is going to be okay. The time, over the past twelve years, that I invested in other relationships with friends and family has come back tenfold and I feel very, very secure about my support network.
Part of which, of course, is you. I can't thank you enough for everyone who's left a kind (or empathetically bitter) word or who's reached out to make sure I'm okay or that Johanna's okay or if we needed anything. I knew the blogging community was invaluable and I appreciate all of you so very much. Happy third trimester.
I feel like "the Owls Approve" no longer really applies to where I am in life and what I want this blog to be about. It was really applicable when I was determining what I wanted and looking for confirmation. I no longer need confirmation and I know the direction I want. It's not owls, it's a tall shot of Whiskey and long walks with my old man.
I also feel like TOA was more about "life". I don't want to write about the petty nuances of my life anymore. I feel like a big part of my life for the next forever is this little person growing inside me and I don't want to publish details about my future daughter's life online - I don't want her to have an internet presence before she's capable of understanding what the internet is. I want to talk about my big bay boys and maybe the other little four-legged jerks in my life. Maybe still some food or good beer. You'll still get big events, but hopefully more little horse events and training issues and things Where We Going with This?
So this issue with Whiskey's refusal and panic regarding the right lead canter has been going on since day one (that I actually asked for the canter). You might wonder why an issue wasn't noticed before then, during the PPE. Well.... dude wasn't sore.
I thought for a while that it might have been me, because Archie trained me well, but he was a nutter for my trainer, too. Then I thought that maybe he was just weak. But while he got to the point that he was willing to pick it up in the round pen, that never transferred to under saddle work (when I know that he was using himself correctly, versus willy-nilly running).
I called the vet out, got the flu, cancelled, had the vet out for an eye emergency, rescheduled, and finally got the guy seen. I should say - this wasn't a dramatic lameness. The only symptom that something was meh is the guy's reaction and feeling about the right lead. He'll pick it up in front, cross behind, swap behind, and/or break behind. So clearly something was fucked up in the hind, but not enough that my meager butt palate could notice at the trot.
My super vet did some palpations in the cross ties while I explained all the randomness with this issue, then we put Whiskey through his paces on and off the lunge line in the round pen. My vet immediately saw "a shortening of the cranial phase" in the right hind, at a grade of 2/5. I did not. I had to ask because baby brain, but the cranial phase just refers to the path of the leg towards the head.
The vet then flexed each hock/stifle ("upper flexion") and Whiskey earned himself a 3+/5 on that right hind with nothing noticeable on the left. This led us back into the barn, where Whiskey got himself a nice, relaxing cocktail and his first stifle injection.
I promised him that the tenderness and day in a stall would be worth it, because he'd feel so much better in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed he feels good enough to give me the right lead soon.
I'm not a barfer. I don't have a strong stomach (motion sickness, you my friend), but I'm pretty good at not tossing my biscuits. In neither pregnancy have I vommed as a result of the pregnancy, though there was one time that I had to pause while riding Archie to dry heave over his shoulder.
And then I got the flu.
Lemme just say, it's great to be hungry again.
I'd hope to accomplish more over the past weekend, but that didn't happen. A lot of stuff didn't happen. I didn't debut Whiskey at our first rated show. I didn't find a new saddle that magically made him stop acting like a douchebag. I didn't do much other than toss and turn and slip liquids for about three days.
A post shared by bekaburke (@bekaburke) on Jan 21, 2018 at 5:35pm PST
Before getting sick (like, hours before), I tried a local Albion SLK Ultima. I loved it. My trainer thought it was a smidge too narrow and gusseted. So now, at her recommendation, I'm reaching out to Trumbull Mountain to get their recommendations on what'll better fit the Spotted Dick.
I did have time (last night, en route to my first real meal in days) to draw a winner for the WTF contest.
A post shared by bekaburke (@bekaburke) on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:56pm PST
I'm bummed that I didn't find out the information I wanted, but I am pulling hair (hopefully tonight?) for Texas A&M. I did find out a random fact about the Whiskers that has me scratching my head about his breeding, so now I'm even more interested to see what they say.
I can't be this big already. It's the angle I used to make my double-chin disappear. Promise.