Risk – can you really be alive without it?

What is life?

The time between birth and death where we have the chance to experience vitality and sentience

What is risk?

Exposure of someone or something to potential danger or harm

What is life without risk?

Life without risk is existing inside a protective shell, calculating every move and learning to fear anything new or strange, making every action and word with premeditated certainty for the safest outcome. Existence without risk is safe, repetitive and ritualistic, it means shutting yourself off from the the bad at the cost of the good. Trying to avoid risk at all cost means losing your gut feeling, losing a lot of your feeling because feeling is risky too.

So let me examine what is arguably perceived as the highest risk activity that I am involved in:

Look at this (albeit terrible quality) picture

me and casper (2)

It’s a still from a video of myself and Casper when I wanted to see the fit of his tack with me on board-  now I fully admit that my posture is poor, I was cold, tired, on the back of a 15’2 horse and I look like a michelin man wrapped in a duvet and yet I am smiling. Casper’s bridle needed some adjustments too – noseband to low, cheekpieces too long, browband too short, single jointed bit poorly tolerated and yet he was also good natured, bless him.

What you see here are risks and safety precautions. Of course in horse riding, as in all activities outside of a safety net there are risks, but we do our best to safeguard against needless danger. As you see I have a good hat, a body protector (hence michelin man look), warm clothing, flourescent tabbard and years of horse riding experience behind me. I also have my mobile phone in my pocket, enabled with GPS. I have test driven the old boy many many times and know that actually the little bugger needs a flash noseband if we canter as he gets over excited and he’s not very impressed with this…nevertheless, his slight grump is the price we pay for the ability to stop if needs be! a risk assessment of sorts was made and I even have insurance for if I DO have an accident. I understand the inbuilt risk  of horse riding, I have safeguarded as well as I feel necessary against accidents / danger. It still happens of course (broken wrist last year for example :/ ) but despite the risk, the danger, the consequences, there is nothing that can beat the feeling of a good blasting canter across an open field! except perhaps the feeling of clearing a show jump elegantly and skilfully 🙂 but I’ve lost that skill (hence impromptu tumble onto the school floor last time!) so cantering it is for me :).

My point is this: Doing something you love, despite the risks, can make life worth living. Taking steps outside of the safety net of constant controlled repetition is exhilarating, scary and, in my opinion, a far better definition of life than that merely stating existence / sentience. How people do you know that you would describe as vital, energetic, vivacious, lively? I’ll bet those people don’t spend their every hour stressing over the safest routes to take, the least risky thing to say, I’ll bet the don’t agonise over decisions afraid beyond all comprehension of making the wrong choice….

Life is for living, not wrapping in cotton wool. When I die, I don’t want to be praised for my ability to be safe and sensible, normal and controlled – I want to be remembered for my aspirations for an exciting, adventurous, unusual and satisfied existence.

Go out and do something you love. Go out and do something scary (I’m not talking bareback riding on a wild horse here…that’s just stupid!) Go out and feel yourself push through the barrier that you build for yourself or have built for you. Test the limits a little. You might be surprised!

PS. Im seriously considering a trip to Peru next year following this train of thought – certainly not a risk-free experience!

Putting depression and religion aside


Ok. Lets put the cough and the depression and everything aside and try to be a bit positive eh?

Yesterday I got to see finding nemo again. Something magical and unshakably uplifting has been woven into that story. It never fails to connect ( unlike my writing)
Xmas day and the sun is shining, I’ve been given some cute gifts including Guillermo del Toros cabinet of curiosities. As a fan of Guillermos films I find this look at his scribbled notebooks and tidbits of scraps of thoughts quite fascinating.

Dinner was nice, talk of septic tanks, improperly laid out cutlery, lack of dining manners, horrific homophobia and SOs father going for a ‘bathroom session’ mid-meal notwithstanding. Went for a sleepy afternoon drive to the coast and surrounding villages as the sun was setting and I figured there were many worse places to be. I could do without the swearing, the constant referral to bowel and bladder movements…oh well. I guess it’s just different. Not my kind of different but next year I or we will go to my mum or dads place.

I’ve spent a large part of the day trying to make a 3d horse puzzle…

Still trying!!


Bah humbug

I love the fact that one of the first things I am told when I arrive at SOs parents new house my the mother is that I mustnt flush tampons down the toilet. Er. Well duh. I mean. I never have. Never would. Just mortified by the whole thought.
(though of course there is also no bin, but as luck would have it pill stupidity seems to have calmed down )
Glad I bought my little red riding hood cape. Largely cos it’s warm and cute and SO hates it and says I look retarded and I DONT CARE!

Day 2 in Norfolk and going a bit stir crazy. Having finished the bulk of my work assignment im forced to socialise. To be fair SOs mother makes an effort in her own way. You know…kitschy xmas things, stuff like that. What I could do without, is the long discussion about how awful it is when people get old and die. Im totally trapped here. I cant go anywhere unescorted. In fact this is precisely what SOs mother said to me…yet she accepts it. I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s right. Not one bit.
We ladies went out for a 5 min stroll which was apparently sufficient (was it? I didn’t see any horses…) and the menfolk have been dealing with loft insulation…
In keeping with the xmas spirit my paper was rejected once more without review. This is just another blow to an already imperfect season. No riding (due to stupid illness) no sleep due to hunger. No freedom. No poetry.
I am accostomed to washing twice a day. I find it hard enough to cope with only one wash a day but when its been 36 hours since your last wash it just gets a bit much. I feel v gross and hope I am allowed / offered a bath tonight.
If only I could be s bit positive but you know, things like toothbrush running out of battery, lack of cleanliness, lack of sleep, being ‘woken’ by being hit on the arse, paper rejection, claustrophobia, having to hide meds (because SOs parents must not know I’m on antidepressants apparently), lack poor fresh fruit and veg and all the rest, im just not feeling very festive.

Still waiting to bounce back.

Where have I been? You ask.
Swimming in the swamp of viral doom. Thats where. And I’ve only just got myself half pulled out. Oh yes, the fluidic processes are far from over but the battle surely is being won, either that or im about to sprout limbs out of my neck (which would come in handy…).

What is even better though, is that I had to explain to my boss that I took 3 days off due to, what is essentiallys complication of a coldy-fluey virus.

Failing to receive the required level of sympathy from SO (who says it my fault for going horse riding) I did the only thing I could. I whinged to mama that I was ill. She was an acceptable level of sorry for me.

I wish I had more inspirational or insightful or, well, interesting things to say but as a week of my life has been virus-orientated, so must this post.

Im not so much bouncing back from this horrible whinge-worthy week as dragging myself a few feet then napping, dragging, napping, ad infinitum. I’ll get there in the end!

Things I miss from years gone by

I so miss having an acne free face and body. It was so nice. And now. It is not.

I also miss having time. Because now I have to choose between sleep, chores and fun, when they all used to fit just fine.

I miss having a pet to call my own. Though I have one leg of a horse.

I miss curiously pointless late night philosophising. Now it seems like everything has already been said and done, plus noone wants to listen anymore.

I miss all sorts of things but right now, yup. It’s mainly the skin thing. Im horrified to find spots in all kinds of new places, making self consciousness prominent and paranoia rife. I miss being able to touch my skin and feeling nothing but smoothness. I miss being able to leave the house without makeup and still looking human. I miss not having to check on the progress of spots and swelling, and I miss not having the temptation to pick at my face ( uh-oh). I miss feeling clean instead of clogged with oil. I miss knowing tomorrow my skin will be as clear as today. I miss these things.he enough to go back to the doctors and say hey, this is no way for a 30-something woman to live.

A day in which I rediscover that people can be awesome, and also that I am more tolerant and patient than you might think!

Long title for a long day. Today I made a fresh start. I actually got up when my alarm went off, I showered through the pre 7:30am nausea and made it to work before boss (no prizes for guessing who got told on Friday that they really aught not to oversleep by 2 hours on a regular basis…:/)
Anyway…I agreed to help out visiting artist / photographer who is interested in my science. Thinking it would be maybe 30mins chatting. Unfortunately it was 2.5 hours where I basically had to try and convey the biochemistry bsc syllabus to a nonscientist and then explain what I was doing( largely trying to ignore the voice in my head telling me to just walk out and never look back). The truth is that this lady is very nice, and genuinely wants to understand things which take years of education, via my unique style of dumbing down. I simply dont have the heart to say, im sorry I dont really have time for this because no matter how difficult it is to explain complicated research to nonscientists, it is becoming increasingly important and I am glad to have the opportunity to build that skill….it’s my public engagement quota that I have thus far in my career, failed to engage in.
Somewhere sometime there will be an exhibition. Photos of myself and aspects of my scientific research will feature. I expressly asked not to be in any of the photos but it seems that she just couldn’t help herself…
There we have it. Science in action. Hunchbacked and determined. Hehe. Thankfully I was caught on a good skin day though im sure that hairband was Photoshopped…do I even own a baby blue hairband?

So even though I originally asked not to be recognisible in photos…I kinda agreed a couple because this paranoia / self-esteem nonsense is getting ridiculous. I am lucky in that I have a few most amazing friends who have learned the trick of having confidence and looking amazing and also, being happy. It was one of those who I went to, to ask how they do it and how can I stop myself from becoming a social recluse? The reply was so heartwarming and proactive that I actually felt better about myself just reading it and knowing they had taken the time and care to answer so expressively. I know I have work to do on accepting and loving myself. Even the gross wobbly bits or the mossy memories or fears under stones, or the quirks on my daily routine. Today I feel loved. Maybe not by me but give me time….I’ve had a long time hating everything I am, and that, like so many unhelpful or destructive behaviours I made companions with, needs to be left behind.