The days spent in damp, cold hoodies and jeans.
Ball caps strewn from hell to breakfast in the truck.
It's that knot in my gut that coils up as I step on a fresh horse.
It's the way I get nervous and can't eat before a show.
The way I shake.
My heart throbbing in awkward, solid beats.
All of it plays into the poetry I write in dark rooms lit by the moon.
It's nasty blisters on my hands.
They profess themselves to the world exposing my lack of femininity.
It's the tan lines left from riding in the hottest hours of sun.
The headaches and tortured bones.
Dizzy, sick nights from going too hard all day.
It's the dehydration.
Hips forever out of whack.
It's open wounds and flesh that shouldn't be so swollen and exposed.
Dark, pain-filled hearts in need of something.
It's the way my horses work so good when I'm sick or tired or broken.
How they get all soft and sensitive when I cry.
The way they feel me or the way I feel them, I don't know.
It's the way I learned to trust eleven hundred pound animals that could easily end me.
My muscles tensing up and cramping while I try to sleep.
Being sore for days.
Never owning a pair of pants that doesn't smell like horses.
It's dirt everywhere I go.
Arena sand in my boots and on my eyelashes.
It's hat hair and sweat on my nose.
Sun freckled skin, pixie dust on my cheeks.
It's sick stomach days but ride anyway.
It's doing youtube yoga at night trying to make a tender back feel better.
Hitting my bed with eyes already slamming shut.
Getting knit-picked by different trainers.
Being told that I'm only being pushed this hard because I can actually do it.
Letting every ounce of emotion out.
Willing to fail.
Getting hurt just to feel better.
Bruises that I don't remember earning.
And I call it all... therapy.
My body worn. My mind won.
PC: Cindy Keetch