I bought a pony. I bought a pony. I, Lauren Schiller, proclaimed pony hater her entire life, bought a pony. I know what you’re thinking… you disappear for a YEAR and this is what I open back with? A pony? Well, a pony is not the only change that has occurred during these past 12 months. Let me catch you up on this roller coaster of my life. Please remember to keep hands and feet within the ride at all times.
The first big change came when my then long-term fiancé decided to take a job half way across the country in the fall of 2016. No discussion, no notice, just a big “bye-bye, I’ll see you when I see ya!” Uh, okay honey?
What does a horse obsessed lonely not-single-but-living-single gal do with herself? Take this as a sign to finally kick her amateur status to the side of course! So, starting with the New Year, I tearfully laid aside my various amateur cards and jumped head first into the world of equestrian professionals. I took on a couple of training horses, a working student and a few lesson clients under the name Little Apple Riders (shameless plug here, check out our page at www.facebook.com/LittleAppleRiders) and began my routine of working 8-5, teaching after work and riding horses until past midnight every day. Who needs sleep anyway?
Life was good. With the extra income from my training business plus the money my MIA fiancé was sending home, I was seeing possibilities opening up in the rat race of bills, debt and student loans. Until one Friday morning in March when I get a text message from aforementioned fiancé that he wouldn’t be coming back to Kansas and we should go our separate ways. Say huh? (Let me clarify to the outraged ladies out there, yes, I said a text message. 8 ½ years together surely doesn’t justify a call or Facetime. No worries there.) I was an absolute mess. My best friend was deployed overseas in Korea, so I couldn’t even go cry on her couch and eat ice cream. I moped around for 48 hours feeling miserable for myself, went and saw the live Beauty and the Beast in theatres and balled like a baby. Found out there was another woman involved in this equation, brushed my pride off and went to the barn. I didn’t feel in the right mind set to ride, but I had lessons scheduled for Sunday afternoon. I taught for three hours straight and while being required to focus on my students and their horses, I felt normal again. I went home, moved my pillows to the center of my bed and woke up feeling like a completely different woman.
I’m going to get deep and honest with you guys now. I generally like to keep this blog light hearted, sarcastic and educational. But, I’ve realized that sometimes to help others and yourself, you can’t hide the bad and focus only on the good. So here goes. The relationship I was in wasn’t a good one. It was very emotionally abusive and I spent almost 9 years being manipulated, suppressed and stifled from being the person I truly am. I felt trapped and allowed myself to get into a bad spot financially, trying to make my partner happy. Something that could never happen. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to leave but felt I couldn’t. I was scared to leave, scared of what he would do and scared that I wouldn’t be able to support myself and the horses. Absolutely terrified that if I walked away, all that debt I took on over the years to attempt to keep him happy would require me to sell my horses. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be miserable for the rest of my life. I felt it was my only option. Here is my public service announcement. There are ALWAYS options. If you, or someone you know, are in a similar situation, please, walk away. Everyone deserves the chance at happiness. Staying in a situation because you are scared, too loyal, feel trapped or think that it’s the best you will get, is not fair to yourself. Talk to someone on the outside and figure out how to get the courage to step up and get OUT!
I felt amazing. I felt alive for the first time in my adult life. My finances were a disaster and I was worried about how I’d overcome those hurdles, but I felt free. So I knew I would figure out a way to handle it. I had a great support system in my family and friends. With my training business and some moonlight bartending, I was getting by. I entered into a rebound relationship against my better judgement and learned a lot about myself and the damage my ex had caused me. That rebound burned out almost as fast as it had ignited, but left me acutely aware of what I did and did NOT want in a partner. And it opened my eyes to the coping mechanisms I had acquired over the years, especially my inability to communicate, express emotions and tell people how I actually feel about things (in fear of their reaction).
Enough heavy stuff, I’ve now gone two paragraphs without sarcasm and this needs to be corrected! While my lack of a love life was on its downward spiral, my best friend from childhood flew out from Connecticut for a visit. She fell head over heels in love with Kansas and two weeks after leaving proclaimed she was moving to the Midwest. Yassssss!! I completely rearranged my home in preparation for my new roommate (plus, I needed to get all that bad juju my ex left behind out of there!). I learned how to be social again (something I wasn’t allowed to be previously) on my one night off from the barn a week – heh, don’t judge, even this horse crazy girl needs one day off! I acquired a new hobby, riding my 2006 Suzuki Katana 600 motorcycle and have found a thrill that comes second only to galloping cross country ;).
So, for my non-horsey life, that’s where I’m at now. Living each new day like a blessed adventure and loving it! Riding my motorcycle, meeting new friends and rebuilding relationships with old ones, listening to my music too loud, dancing too much and enjoying the freedom to be the wild spirit I’ve always been meant to be. Stay tuned for Part II of the catch up, which will cover my horse-y escapades this past year and the whole pony thing. You know, the original topic of this post. Tangent much?