While working this weekend with a bunch of students at a local playday event, I found out that my daughter seems to be carrying the weight of her world on her shoulders. Now for those that don't know what a playday event is, it is where the riders of all ages get to compete in several different events such as barrel racing, pole bending, etc. My daughter and many of my students like to compete in a series of them in our area. So now that I have kind of set the background for the weekend, lets move to what actually happened.
Now, communication is hard for a lot of folks, my self included. Teaching good communication skills is even harder when you are socially awkward anyway. So there is no wonder that my daughter gets trapped in her head a lot and doesn't know how to express those emotions. I am going to be completely honest, sometimes our communication turns into screaming matches ... but thats a story for another day.
Saturday turned out to be a pretty steamy day, even for south east Texas standards. The temperature was steadily creeping towards the triple digits and the humidity was inching that way as well. Now, when you combine adrenaline, physical activities, and sweltering heat; emotions will be living right under the surface primed for an explosion. My daughter was hanging out in the shade outside the arena and I wasn't to far away talking to one of the moms from my barn. All of the sudden two of our horses decided they couldn't be friends and penned ears, barred teeth and went at each other. Kylie stumbled backwards taking her horse with her and I watched as her eyes got really large watching the whole scene unfold. As the horses calmed down and we separated them, I noticed Kylie was gone. I looked down the drive to see her silhouette receding towards the trailer. I told everyone I would be back in a moment and followed her up to the horse trailer.
When I got to the trailer I found her sitting with the door open of the dressing room and big crocodile tears sliding down her cheeks leaving a clean trail down both cheeks. I went and sat down with her, concerned because this seemed to have come out of nowhere. Baby I whispered whats wrong. Now yall, I am fully aware she is a pre teen and she feels things in a big way at times and doesn't know how to process them but this situation is a little out of character for her. Momma she whispers, I just want my friends to like me. With a sharp intake of breath I reached over and pulled her into my arms, "honey why wouldn't your friends like you?" Momma I sometimes feel I am to old to play she mutters under her breath. "Okay sweetie lets role play for a minute." I want you to tell me what is going through your head right now, but I want you to begin with "The story I am telling myself..."
She looks at me and roles her eyes, "Momma what would that help?" Well sweetie, I exhale slowly, when we worry about the people around us and what they are thinking, most of the time it is a story we are making up. The reality of the situation is 99% of the time vastly different then the story you tell yourself. She sighs okay I'll try ... "Momma the story I am telling myself right now is that my friends dont like me because I like dragons and watch anime and I don't play as much as I used to ... the story that I am telling myself is that I feel 20 years old and not 11 sometimes" Okay I nodded, let me tell you what I see in your story. That you are your friends are all getting older and that is just a sad reality of life, and it is okay for yall to have different interests as yall get older. Now even though yall all have different interests, whats the one thing you all still have in common? ... side note here her horse PJ picks this moment to poke her head in the dressing room door, and I couldn't have asked for better timing. She sees PJ and looks at me, and smiles a response of "HORSES!"
Exactly sweetheart, the horses. So when you find that you are stumbling over words or can't find common ground, yall talk about the thing that brought yall together in the first place. She has now calmed down, and looks me in the eyes. Momma she says with a mischievous grin. I answer yes love? "the other story I am telling myself is that you should probably learn to cook ...!"
Gah I smack her leg ... go back to your friends!