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Get back on the horse.

We’ve heard it before, probably muttered it a million times. We preach it after others fail, pretending it’s a carrot of comfort, though it comes off like the threat of a stick. It’s as cliche and as true as the horse is heavy. We know the fall hurt, because we still feel the bruise on our backside. The tumble from the top of hope to the heap of failure leaves us licking our wounds. But then, something changes, because instead of time healing, it makes those hurts deeper and more painful. Our memory skews the events and sends us into a state of paralytic fear, painting the pain more deeply and the embarrassment more permanent than it was at first. This time away morphs the horse into something bigger and wilder and more difficult to climb back on. The lack of trying again what we failed doesn’t make our hearts grow fonder, but more afraid and staying away from it starves our soul and feeds the horse. The only thing to do is to get back on.

I accidentally took off six months of writing. Well mostly. I was still jotting thoughts in my notebook and making awful drafts and pushing edits around the page like a kid with his lima beans. I sort of stumbled into stopping, first with the excuse of summer and a busy schedule and a broken routine, then with conjured reasons from the voices in my head. They said that it was better this way, without the writing. There was less chance of pain here, less chance to fall off in embarrassment.

Somehow weeks turned into months out of the saddle and after so long, getting back up seemed impossible, a height that required a ladder of effort and self discipline and confidence I didn’t have and couldn’t build or borrow. The blank page became a flag I waved, closing my laptop in surrender, hanging my head in failure. Not writing again, not getting back on that horse was so much easier. There was a distant memory of the days when the ride was thrilling and the adventure was pure and the victory over fear was worth the sweat and tears. But slowly slipping off is the most lasting thing I remember. I had forgotten the good ride that ended with a grinding halt.

I have decided to stop feeding the horse my fears and excuses and just climb back on, slow and aching and uncomfortable as it may be. Because waiting just makes it worse as the thing I want to tame becomes a monster of my own making. I have vowed to stop kicking around the dirt looking for excuses and begin doing the thing I’ve avoided for too long. Because even though every sentence and word and page forces me to face that fear, as I do, I can feel the power and beauty in it and in the world it shows me as we ride together.

Climb up, hold tight, ride fast, fall off and do it all over again.

I’ll say it for you and I’ll say it for me.

Get back on the horse.

 

Check out Michael’s awesome ebook Lemonade; Squeezing the hope out of Heartbreak