Lately, I have been reminded of a quality in myself I’ve tried to let go of: beating dead horses.*As opposed to letting sleeping ponies lie, I’m wont to grab a baseball bat, yell “tally-ho!” and swing as hard as I can on repeat, as though someone has made a gif of me making contact with a deceased palomino.
Part of it stems from my belief that nothing is over until the fat lady (or skinny man) has expressly said it. Part of it stems from my terrifyingly strong heartstrings that yank on me screaming hope hope hope and faith faith faith. Like someone in an ice blue ballgown, I somehow believe that if I have faith in my dreams then someday a rainbow will come shining through – even if I’m the one who ran like an abused puppy away from that rainbow only to hide under my flannel comforter.
Which means it takes the dead horse talking back (whoa, now I just have an image of a decrepit Mr. Ed wiggling his mouth around) before I can snap out of my gif like movements.
I know this sort of faith isn’t just kind of foolish. It’s wildly foolish. It’s naïve. And I know better (believe me, I do). But this sort of faith also reminds me of one of the most important tenants of being me: being able to feel the shit out of my feelings (new and improved, in a mindful and acceptance for my own self way).
Maybe when it comes to dating and love, I’ll always be foolish. Maybe I’ll always come in sideways, and I’ll always ask questions I already know the answers to, and maybe I’ll always feel a little too much. But if it means I wake up each morning feeling at peace with the world, able to look forward, and ready to put the bat down and let the stallion rest in peace – maybe I’m okay with that. It means I lived, I learned, I felt, and I loved in some sort of organized chaos sort of way.
If all that is true, maybe being foolish is the best part.
*Explanation in poetry from seven years ago still applies.
there’s something you should know about me:
i beat dead horses into the ground
not just until they’re flat as pancakes, either
and not just until their bones are so crimbly crumbly
that their skin is nothing more than a burlap sack
holding the finest sand from thailand
i beat dead horses until they are twenty seven feet below the surface of the earth
on which we dance at bat mitzvahs
and receive tulip bulbs on our doorsteps
and learn how to write in cursive at age eight
i want those dead horses to be so dead
that the possibility of their standing up
and sugar cube licking
is zero times a million
(which is zero).
but you have to understand
i don’t often derive pleasure from beating dead horses
it’s more of a safety mechanism
to ensure that i tried as hard as i could
to get air back in their lungs
before letting them go