I lost someone this weekend. A dear friend who has stood by me through thick and thin for nearly 14 years. My heart aches at the thought of never standing beside her again, leaning into her soft coat and breathing in her horsey scent.
It wasn’t just her I lost. A part of me went with her. A part of me that once ruled, but over the years has been pushed back into the corners of my mind that I rarely visit. I have been keeping it there not because it no longer mattered, but more so because it mattered a great deal and I missed it too much to face it. Now that I’ve lost my friend, I realize that she was the one thing keeping that part of me alive, keeping it real…and that frightens me.
See, once upon a time…I was a cowgirl. I spent my days on a ranch, mucking out stalls, sweeping the barn and caring for animals. I was always dirty for one reason or another, I had tan lines that were worse than a farmer’s tan and to say that paying for a manicure would have been a complete and utter waste of money would be an understatement. I never cared. I loved it. I felt strong and capable. There wasn’t anything I thought I couldn’t do and very little I was frightened of. I liked myself back then.
Now, the ranch is gone and I’ve traded in livestock for a kid. I still have two mutts lying around the house (both of which have been my closest companions since my days on the ranch) but other than that I live in the cleanest most organized little subdivision you could possibly picture and the only dirt I get on me is the occasional dog hair. I even bother painting my nails now. It’s not like I chose one life over the other…life just sort of changed.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t write about all of this here…but, it does tie in with the thing I do generally share here, which is writing. My initial instinct as all of this was happening was to write about it. Years ago, I would have churned out a poem or two and that would have given me some insight into my feelings. That’s what poems have always done for me, they’ve provided me with sort of a roadmap of my thoughts and emotions. These days, my words don’t seem to flow in poem form anymore, so I haven’t done that…yet. It may still come. Who knows…but in the mean time, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the things that I have already written and as it turns out, who I was because of her and what she meant to me, all of that has already been immortalized by stories I wrote years ago.
So, even if she’s gone…and even if that means that this part of me is gone…both still exists, because I put them into words and I put those words down on paper…which means that in some ways, both are still real and always will be.