Thursday, September 15, 2016

The fake boob stigma

There. I said it and it's a real thing. 

Growing up I loved the idea of getting breast implants. I wanted the perfect look, because I wanted to be a model or fit in?!. But let's be honest I am not tall enough, thin enough or pretty enough. And that is okay. As I got older. I loved myself most of the time. 

Later in my life that belief shifted. I dated this guy. Who instilled this belief in me that men HATED fake boobs, that they were a deal breaker so to speak. So I went from wanting them to being terrified of them. Fast forward to 2013 and I had my breast tissue removed and later reconstructed. So everything I have is fake. Literally. They feel pretty real. I think. Not that I have grabbed a lot of boobs for comparison. And my better half loves them. Sometimes I don't because honestly I miss mine, but fake boobs have perks. I have recently been embracing them. 

The perks. 

1. I never have to wear a bra. Like ever. They don't move or need to be lifted or padded. Plus they like to be free. So I have been enjoying wearing tops and dresses that maybe I wouldn't have worn before. 

2. They don't bounce when I work out.  Not wearing two sports bras is life changing. 

3. They are naturally perky!! Thank you pectoral muscles. 

4. They are both the same size and they don't change or get sore during my time of the month. 

The Cons. 

1. I have zero feeling. I can't appreciate them! Sometimes I get wired nerve sensations. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm not enough. But my better half always tells me otherwise. 

2.  I can't breast feed. Honestly this doesn't bother me because I would rather be alive to experience my potential kids lives. What annoys me about this is the individuals I see posting about how breast feeding is the gold standard and formula is terrible. Be real ladies. Some women don't have time, and some can't. So don't shame us. 

3. They aren't mine. I didn't think I was particularly attached to mine but it turns out I was. 

4. Not a con of the boobs. But some things that use to be easy aren't anymore. Think pulling a door open. Strength things that use to use your pecks and your core. 

Personally I love my fake not trying to kill me boobs. Most of the time. Sometimes I don't. And that's okay. But what's not okay is that there are plenty of individuals out there who make women feel like they are less than enough because they have fake boobs. 

I want to tell you. You are enough. You are beautiful. And your boobs are probably amazing too. 



Friday, December 4, 2015

Changing lanes

Over thanksgiving I was lucky enough to travel to Georgia for a few days and spend some quality time with my dad. He's pretty much the best and since he does the job of two parents he gets every bonus parenting award possible. He has done everything from pick me up of the ground to giving me dating advice. Poor guy. Girls are tough.

While I was home we watched some old home movies. This one in particular stood out. I was about 9 and as a whole we had been having a rough year. My parents though wanted us to have a special Christmas as at the time my mom was not in the best of health. Santa gave me riding lessons and In this video it showed me running around saying that I couldn't believe it and it most certainly was the best Christmas ever.

I remember that joy and excitement of being able to ride weekly. Going to the barn saw me through some pretty dark times. Being at the barn was always my escape from various things, it helped me cope with loss and helped me find peace again. That feeling of joy was why I decided to leave many things behind and work with horses full time.

They have taken me extraordinary places and helped me do things I never thought possible, but the thing is the spring it became very apparent to me at one particular horse show that I was in fact not happy. Being at the barn had stopped bringing me joy. It no longer made me jump out of bed to rush down and feed. I would drag myself up and try the whole day to keep going, to not just lie down and give up. Horses have brought me so many amazing things but they have also taken away a few as well.

The last three years have been a bit mental as far as life goes. Maybe mental isn't the right word, insane ? Crazy ? Take your pick. I never in a million years would have thought I would have been in Ireland horse shopping weeks before my surgery. Or that my now best half would have grabbed me and kissed me. Spoiler I was hooked from there. Or that he would have stuck it out with me. But after my surgery while I was trying to sort out what new me was. I lost my best friend, my four legged one. He will always be the best horse I knew. Kind. Gorgeous. A bit quirky. And always sharing his opinion. He wasn't the horse for everyone but he certainly was for me. He was the type I always dreamed of and never thought I would be lucky enough to own. I have lost a lot in my life. And honestly since that day my life has been a little duller.

Since that day it became harder to get up and go to the barn. It took me along time to place my finger on it, but so many things reminded me of him. Liam got to absorb many tears, and I kept thinking if I just stuck it out I would find that joy in the barn again. At that horse show this spring I knew something need to change. That life plan wasn't going to work. I started to hate riding and being at the barn. It killed me, but I decided to focus more on school. So I applied to Mary Washington and committed to finishing another degree. I quit my job that was such a part of who I was. That leaving and having no plans was the scariest thing I have ever done. So naturally I hid in Ireland with the boyfriend and let him tell me we would figure it out.

After I started fall classes i started riding again (not that I ever really stopped) and I found it again. That joy. I still see so many things that remind me of him. But I have a few lovely young horses to ride. Instead of event horses they are mostly race horses. I forgot how much I loved that. The quiet when all you can hear is the wind and their hoof beats. It is incredibly peaceful in those quiet moments. They remind me of him, and I have to smile. They helped me find joy in horses again. While I might not be making big plans to compete, I'm happy. And for the first time in a long time that's okay. I'm excited to stay here this winter, and focus on myself. It's not perfect, but it gets better everyday. And I promise to try and keep everyone updated!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

On acceptance

I haven't posted a blog in nearly two years. Why you might ask. Well I just haven't been ready to share what I wrote. The reasons why struck me today. I haven't fully accepted the new version of myself.

There's a period of time between the two surgeries that is odd, and then. Poof. Your all "normal" again, but your not. Not really. So for me posting all the things I have written about that journey while I am still coming to terms with it isn't really fair. I will post them because when you google to try and find out what recovery looks like. Everything you read makes it sound easy. That's a lie. It's not easy, and it's painful. I wish I had know what to expect, so I will hope that at some point sharing my story will help others, but this blog isn't about that.

This blog is about something much simpler than that. Acceptance.

It's a funny concept really. As I was standing with my arms around bobs crying my eyes out for a large number of reasons a few things struck me. First blaming people for the situations you are in gets you no where even if you can't take all the blame. Second just because someone thinks they did nothing wrong doesn't mean they didn't. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. Third forgive them anyways, it makes it easier for you to keep moving forward. Four no matter what happens you have to accept the things that are happening to be able to move forward and change the things you can.

In some ways I have my five year plan pretty well mapped out but there's this huge unknown. Bobs. He will never be what I bought him to be and that's okay. It's frustrating. It isn't fair. There is nothing I could have done to change it.  That's life. I do not know what the future has in store for bobs only time will tell. I am not even going to say the future looks bright since I have no expectations for what that might look like. today I can say a few things that I am quite proud of. I have an amazing team of people that support me, bobs has literally had the absolute best care in the world, with the absolute best team working on his case, no matter what happens next I will have given him every opportunity for the best quality of life, and he is still cute cuddly and possibly the brattiest not pony pony I know. He might not be what I expected. But that's okay, today bobs reminded me that once you accept where you are you can look forward without the weight of how you got there. For now those will be small baby steps on a long road. Hopefully we will start to move forward, because I am done looking back.

Sitting in bed tonight I am thankful that I get to bring him home soon, feed him more mints, terrorize him with spray bottles, hear him in the barn at night, and for all the people who told me he's lucky to have found me, because while that's true. I'm lucky too.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It's funny, 98% of the time when I don't blog it's because life is business as usual or nothing stands out, but recently I have had so much to say and no idea where to begin. So I'll start at the beginning and try not to overwhelm you.

As many people know the fall is a difficult time for me. I was 11 when I lost my mother in the fall of 1999 and there is not a day that passes that I don't miss her, or try to be more like her. She was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 1997 and while we had more time then they originally thought, it still wasn't enough. My mom was a fighter until the end, she wanted nothing more than to watch us grow old, but sometimes god has other plans. I watched my moms battle with cancer daily. There were ups and downs, struggles, tears, fear, and even some joy. It was heart wrenching and life changing and now I couldn't see how my life could be any different.

There are a few scars and for me the biggest one was being proactive and knowledgeable about my own cancer risk. I had liked to think that I would never be effected by it, but it's funny how life can change in an instant. Earlier this year my doctor discovered some changes. One was located in the same region as my mom's. it struck a deep rooted fear, I don't think I could fight the way she did. After the first rounds of tests, appointments, and tears, decisions about a long term plan had to be made.

I was lucky enough to get an appointment with the high risk cancer clinic at UVA and sit down with some pretty amazing specialists. They give you charts and graphs that show your risk levels and how it compares to the average, map out long term screening plans, get genetic testing for the BRCA mutation, and poke and prod as much as they deem necessary. Seeing how much steeper the slope was on my risk chart about sent me into a tale spin.

What I learned was that mentally it was exhausting to go through the screening, constantly! You get strangely comfy with certain things because all the doctors want to poke and prod you. Just because you don't have the BRCA gene, doesn't mean it's not genetic.

Ultimately my doctors and I decided that the best plan for me moving forward is to have a bilateral mastectomy. That's more scary to type than it is to read. I am going to UVA Thursday and my surgery is first thing Friday.

I have gone back and forth on wether this was something I wanted to share. I am a very private person, but the affects of this cross over into all aspects of my life, and I am hoping that my journey can bring awareness to a wide spread problem that affects many people. I would like to thank everyone who has been a shoulder for me to cry on, has lent me hand, or has talked me off the proverbial ledge. This journey is far from over and I know that without the support I have received I would not be able to take this important step in my long term health.

I am sure there will be many more tears, and grumpy days, but today I'm going to enjoy my last regular day for a while, play with my ponies, thank my friends and clients, and feel blessed I have all of them in my life. Because without them I would be lost.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

You need a nap!!

Apparently I need one, according to Jenn anyway... We are headed home from a very successful weekend at jersey fresh. Jenn and GV Tuscany aka mo rocked it from start to finish finishing fourth.

It is so fun to be able to help Jenn at the shows as we have been friends for quite awhile and can spend hours laughing about our past funny trips. Which might not have been laughing matters at the time! I have known mo for a while and it is fantastic to see him back in action, rocking it!!!

I have to give a big shout out to everyone that helped put on the three day at jersey fresh, they did a phenomenal job. They had fantastic food and goodies for the riders and grooms all weekend. I am sure everyone will agree with me but the pizza and beer at the end of cross country was the perfect way to end the evening. We had a little party in our isle recapping the day. The courses were open and galloping and I felt like it gave the riders plenty to do. Every time I go to Jersey it keeps improving and I can't wait to head back next year.

I must say that the most exciting news of the weekend is that baby ned is entered in his first ever event, those beginner novice jumps never looked so big!! But they say there is no time like the present, right ? Ned has a big few weeks with cross country schools and lots of field trips to make sure he is prepared.

Jenn might be right about that nap!! There's something about being on the road that makes a girl sleepy....

Here's to another amazing weekend getting to do what I love and to many more to come!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Those that inspire

Sometimes life throws things our way that just seem downright cruel, but the thing that I find helps me get through it, is my horses and the people they have brought into my life. 

This week my heart is heavy because one of the people that inspires me has suffered a horrible loss.  

Colleen Rutledge is on the top of the list of people that I have met since I moved out east.  I knew of Colleen long before I met her, everyone knows her amazing horse Shiraz, her crazy children, her wild russells, and her horse show family, but most people don't know her. 

When I first met Colleen it was at Jersey Fresh in 2011, I was there grooming for Laura Vello and Dillon was stabled across from Laura.  I actually met Ciana first, she came running up to me with a huge smile on her face jumped in to my arms and was dragging me around introducing me to the animals before she even knew my name.  Sallie (Colleen's mom, super groom, and head cheerleader) introduced herself, and in between taking care of the horses, while Colleen was out walking, was trying to convince CiCi that not everyone wanted to be her friend.  I was in awe. They were just a great family making it work.  That night we went to a dinner that Jersey had and I got to meet her in the flesh. She was hilarious, charismatic, down to earth, and honest.  It was humbling and awe inspiring to have an honest candid conversation with a four star rider.  

Colleen was interested in my horses and my riding, and offered plenty of advice. By the end of the weekend I felt an instant connection with Colleen because of what our families had been through, since my mother passed away when I was young. Post Jersey, Colleen has helped me in so many ways, she opened up her farm to me and Lena for the training three day at Waredaca, helped me in the ten minute box, gave me the best pep talk ever (multiple times), catch rode a horse for me in his first novice when I was very broken, helped me survive at VaHT when I couldn't even lift a water bucket (and was trying to compete), has given me advice, and some of the best experiences. 

They say that people come into your life for a reason and I am positive that my life has been changed for the better since I have met the Rutledge's.  Colleen and her family are an inspiration, everyday I will keep them in my thoughts, and feel honored to be a part of their journey. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Settling in at the show

Pau is certainly in full swing. After relocating all of our gear to the event and then literally hacking over, the ponies are all settled in.  A big thank you to Emilie for being a fantastic host all week! We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and our ponies loved it too!!!

First I will get a few boring facts out of the way, Colleen is number 18 in the draw and Buck is number 52.  The jog is at 1130 tomorrow, (we will try to keep you updated), and Luke does circles around 430.  Reggie goes on Friday afternoon. And Jules rocked it with an amazing test in the CIC** today to start things off for the American’s.  She was in 2nd behind Jung when we left… not to shabby I would say.

Yesterday Colleen had a light jump school on Luke and he looked fantastic. There was only a minimal amount of bucking and almost no squealing!!! Probably because he was so furry! Since we had not clipped him as luke does not grow a massive winter coat.  Well I am going to blame the massive amount of rain… for the sudden poof of fur that has appeared since we have arrived.  We decided that even though the temperature is going to be 50* and rain for Saturday, for the sake of Luke not dragging me around while I am hot walking for hours and hours to clip him… Hilarity ensued. I think that at some point Colleen was eye rolling at me, as I demanded what parts be clipped, and then stole said clippers to make a few changes.  Needless to say I will not be taking credit for that clip job!  (he still looks awesome!!)) Though I am not sure he has forgiven us yet. Yesterday post clip he spit out his mint, I am beginning to feel the wrath I think. 

Colleen’s mom Sallie arrived today, and Luke was excited to see her. (I am pretty sure the feeling was mutual).  Colleen worked Luke on the flat after hacking around the arena.  Luke started out being a bit fussy not that I can blame him.  A certain German horse wheeled into him… Poor Luke.  He handled the whole situation quite well and went to work, fantastically I might add!  (He is still holding it against me for clipping him!) Well I think I made some progress with a fresh bag of carrots, a steady stream of mints, and minimal amounts of currying.  

I have lots of funny stories and some embarrassing pictures, but sadly I need to be up way to early and its already way past my bed time…

More after the jogs.