Goodbye

Over Thanksgiving break, I had to make so many goodbyes.

To my childhood stuffed animals, the ones I didn’t want to let go, but the ones I knew I wouldn’t really take anywhere with me. So, I gave them away instead.

To the pajama shorts my mom bought for me at Walmart in third grade, the ones that surprisingly fit me all the way to twelfth grade. Even though they still fit, it was time to throw them out when they were ripping away at their fragile seams.

To the room I spent weekends in at my grandparents’ house growing up, Now, it’s being remodeled. Things that meant so much to me back then are meaningless now, packed away in stacked boxes.

But there was one goodbye I haven’t made yet, because I’m too scared to accept the fact that now might be the time I need to say goodbye.

And that’s to my dog. When I was in first grade and my mom went to pick me up from school, she told me she had a surprise for my sister and I. The first thing that came to my mind was candy, but when she was opening the back door to the car, I was not expecting my sister to be holding a six-month-old, Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd mix puppy rescued from the pound.

Now, twelve years later, that dog is still in my life, but so much has changed.

It started with him being by my side every single day.

Then, when I moved away, I could only visit on weekends.

Then, life went on and visits turned into rare occasions when I’d go to my grandparents house. When I’d enter the house, he’d come running up to me, barking, and wagging his tail.

Now, he’s still there, but he’s older. He doesn’t run, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. He still follows me around the house, though, his tail still wagging. It’s still wagging even when he lies down, but the pain is still there. It’s obvious and it hurts me knowing it hurts him.

Having pets is one of the most joyful and painful parts about life. Because they bring so much joy, so many happy memories, but, also, so much pain when they’re gone.

But, he fought so hard for so long and I know that it’d be selfish to hold on longer. That if he needs to go and it’s his time, then he should. He should know that he was the best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to have.

I didn’t say goodbye. I gave millions of kisses and hugs, but my goodbye was temporary. It held a promise that I’d be back to see him again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that promise.  I don’t know how long he’ll be around and I don’t know how long it’ll be until I visit again.

I’m so scared to say goodbye, so I won’t. I’ll say I love my dog. I’ll say I’m thankful that he lived with me throughout my life and that he is so strong for fighting though he doesn’t have to. And that he’ll always be the best dog, my dog, no matter what happens.

Photo Credit: Wonderopolis.com
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Time Flies By

When I think about May 31st, 2019, I think about what I’m leaving behind when I walk across the amphitheater to get my high school diploma.

I’m leaving behind the campus I’ve called my home the past four years, the classes where I challenged myself and found my passions, and the teachers who helped me find those passions. I’m leaving behind my friends, who I won’t see at breakfast every morning or go on camping trips with anymore.

These last four years weren’t always easy. As much as I’ve loved them, they were some of the most challenging years of my life. But, one thing made life away from home just a little easier to manage and it wasn’t my teachers or friends.

It was my horse. A bay, appendix quarter horse named Time who I’ve been riding since my freshman year. My family always asks me what I’ll miss the most about OVS when I leave and the answer is always the same: Time.

When the Thomas Fire came on December 4th, 2017, I panicked as we were evacuating on the bus thinking my horse wasn’t going to make it out alive. I cried myself to sleep, despite the constant reassurances. Over the summer, I ended up crying again when I went three months without riding and, more specifically, without riding Time. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I have to say goodbye to him during the last week of school knowing that it’ll be the last goodbye. Knowing hat I won’t be getting back on once summer is over. Knowing that one day, towards the end of May, I will untack for the last time and possibly never get back on him. That, the following September, he’ll get a new rider and I’ll be at a university in a completely different city. I hope that rider loves that freaking horse as much as I do, though. Sometimes I wonder if that’s possible.

So many things happened the last four years with Time by my side. I went with him to my first horse show, on my first horse camping trip, my first dressage clinic, and my first injury, which he gave me after he threw me off at said horse show. Even though I got a fractured back, the story was still funny and memorable.

Photo Credit: ignant.com

I can imagine leaving OVS and going off to college, but I can’t imagine leaving Time. I can’t imagine my school day not consisting of me going to the barn at the end of the day and getting on him whether the lesson ends up going well or not. I wish I could take him with me to college, but it’s probably not possible.

Last Friday, my aunt and uncle came to watch me ride. “I don’t understand how some people just let go of their horses or sell them,” my aunt said. “They’re pets too.”

Time may have not be mine legally, but he is mine. At least, I like to say he is and, at least, many other people thought Time was mine before I told them he wasn’t. But, he is my horse. The horse I’ve ridden for all of high school and the animal I’ve developed a bond with.

I’m not ready to let Time go, but I’ll have to and I will. Even if it might be one of the most painful things I’ll ever have to do.

A World Collapsed


There once was a thing named freedom. The gods created it for everyone to hold on to from birth and throughout their life, for all of us to rely on. It was a given right and we thought it was safe to stay.

It was a world of peace, as it was supposed to be. A world where we would talk and learn and see the places we wanted to see and know the things we wanted to know; it was a free world.

Photo Credit: can.pixabay.com

There was also a thing named envy. The gods didn’t create it, people did. Why? No one knows. Because the people were bored? Because they were intimidated and jealous? Who knows? But, what can we do? Envy is the flawed human trait, one of them at least.

When envy spread across our peaceful world and the people first tasted its sour acid rain, freedom started to fade. First, the people claimed the world and its land. Then, they saw the beauty of nature and took it. They saw the beauty of the birds and took it, locked them in and traded their freedom for amusement. They kept taking, claiming, and destroying. One day, the greediest of people, saw another person and took them.

Freedom has been on the brink since then. Our world has never been the same since we started taking other people’s freedom for our own comfort. Some of us want it to be the way it used to be, some want this to be a free world again. But, some of us are not enough of us.

Ignorance Is Bliss

Photo Credit: peta.org

Sixty-six thousand dogs and twenty-one thousand cats are used for testing makeup, pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens, and much more. Within this testing, animals are burnt, abused, and even killed. Many pregnant animals are slaughtered so their fetuses can be used for testing.

Many ranchers use the cheapest ways to kill animals, such as electrocution or injecting them with insecticides, which take around three minutes of pain before the animal will die.

Footage of leading fur producing industries showed the animals being slammed against the floor to stun them and them being skinned alive.

A beef company in Texas was reported twenty-three times for cutting the hooves off of live cattle. No notifications to stop or police punishments where placed upon the company.

Videos of the slaughter house which supplies KFC with its chickens were released showing employees slamming the birds against walls, stomping on them, and kicking them. They twisted the chickens heads off, ripped of their beaks, and pulled them in half, all while the birds were still alive.

An employe from Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas was shown punching and stomping turkeys, slamming them against walls, crushing the bird’s skulls, and bashing them on metal handrails. All of this was done to the turkeys while they were still alive.

Animals in fur farms are kept in extremely small cages and are killed around the age of six months. The animals are kept in extremely cold conditions, so they will grow the thickest coats as possible. Many of them freeze to death, yet the industry couldn’t care less, because the fur can still be used.

The shark fin soup business kills over one hundred million sharks per year. When the sharks are caught, fishermen just cut of the fins and throw the shark back into the ocean. Without fins, the shark is unable to swim and will sink to the bottom of the sea, dying a slow, painful death.

The Humane Society of the United States discovered police officers in uniform betting on animal fighting in Kentucky.

Over 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the US due to the lack of space in shelters.

These are few of the many injustices and cruelties that animals face.

Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance won’t change anything.

In order to help, adopt animals from shelters instead of breeders or puppy mills, buy products that are not tested on animals, stay away from purchasing leather or fur.

There are many more ways to help end animal cruelty; for more, visit:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/facts/animal_cruelty_facts_statistics.html

https://www.animalsasia.org/us/facts-about-cruelty-to-animals-in-asia.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KZCr2oCxgNUj7XhQmn8xroDKnlohUCK38PPJ4XDk0DCFxX6MMbyIFxoCHvUQAvD_BwE

https://animalcharityevaluators.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KXf0N0RKoJSphilk09zRrHSow6C8UOjQV45mnPuvKqzvsLnZYG88_xoC12AQAvD_BwE

https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty

http://forallanimals.org/animal-cruelty-law-enforcement-and-prosecution-faqs/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6Kfc5QuEipsthLi8k1ToZC613n_wm1-JmY15kJObRYF-JpVYqGu3EsxoCJBcQAvD_BwE

https://www.peta.org/about-peta/learn-about-peta/ingrid-newkirk/

A Stuffed Animal

When I was in third grade, I wanted to go see Kung Fu Panda. All my friends were excited about it, but, when my mom broke the news to me that we couldn’t afford to go, I was heartbroken.

For weeks and months, I was upset about it. Until one day after school, when my mom made enough money, she showed up with the DVD and a stuffed panda bear in hand.

I’ve kept that panda bear ever since. Its name is Bob, and it’s a she. I don’t remember why I decided to give a girl panda one of the most boy names I knew at that time, but I do remember the countless questions I was asked, and the countless times I didn’t care to give an exact answer I didn’t even know myself.

What I did know was that I loved that panda. I brought it everywhere. I brought it to my dad’s home on the weekends, to the occasional family dinners, and to the sunset Malibu car rides.

It was around me when I was happy and when I was sad. I held onto it during the silent nights. I held onto it with the grip of my small, but tight hand while trying desperately not to feel alone with my family in the other room.

In a time of darkness, that stuffed animal was the last dwindling light source. It held every bit of my fighting innocence that diminished within me as I grew up, but, as I carried it with me through my life’s adventures, I carried bits of my childhood along with it.

When I moved in with my dad, I brought that stuffed animal with me.

When I went to Argentina for the first time, I brought that animal with me to the hotel, on the plane, and in my backpack on tourist trips.

Every trip I took to Mexico, I’d bring it with me.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

When I went to boarding school for the first time, it stayed on my bed. When I went home for weekends, it came with me in my suitcase. When I went to OVS for the first time, it came with me.

After I got back surgery before sophomore year, with all of my emotions ridiculously heightened from the the extreme pain meds that put me under, I had a mental breakdown for hours because I thought I had left this panda at OVS. It didn’t stop until my uncle lifted up my blankets and handed it to me.

I was fifteen then.

Then the Thomas Fire came. In a panic, I only had thirty minutes to pack anything valuable to me. Without hesitation, I grabbed my panda and threw it into the bottom of my bag. The dorm parents told us we would only be gone for the night, but I couldn’t risk it. I cried when I thought I left it at school, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if it burned. I had to bring it with me.

It seems ridiculous how emotionally attached I am to an inanimate object now that I’ve grown up, but it’s still important to me. It stays on my bed and it no longer goes on trips with me; I no longer rely on it. I don’t hold it when I fall asleep. In fact, it sometimes slips onto the floor guiltily in the middle of the night. But, whenever I’m distraught or alone, I grab onto it and hold it as tight as I can.

It may still be a stuffed animal, but it’s so much more.

It’s the last thing I have from my mother. I no longer have photos in my possession or objects from her and, despite all the tragic, dark times, this bear represents one of the few good memories I have of her. It symbolizes the goodness in her which faded away over time, but is still kept as a stored memory I hold onto – literally.

It holds my innocence. My ruined, diminished childhood innocence still stays safe inside that stuffed animal I look at every time I make my bed and I still smile about it.

The panda symbolizes my childhood. Without it, the last remnants of it would vanish.

You Were Born

I have known you since the second you took your first breath and became a part of this world. I have loved you from that moment on and I am so thankful for every minute I have spent with you so far. In these four years of your life, I have only learned to love you more and more with everything you do.

I know you are “just a horse” and I may sound crazy to some people, but you will always mean the world to me.

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Photo Credit: Me

When I couldn’t ride your mother anymore, a part of my world collapsed. She has been my pony since I was eight years old, she was my best friend. The day we decided to breed with her was the day my world started to come together again. Breeding horses always means taking a risk. There was no way I could have ever expected you to turn out so perfect.

I was there for your first breath, your first step, your first sprint, your first fall. I wasn’t there for your first jump, your first time carrying a saddle, your first ride. I am sorry. I am sorry for all the things I’ve missed out on, because I wasn’t home. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I always have wanted to.

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Photo Credit: Me

But, now you’re coming here. Now, you’re traveling 6,000 miles to get here, where I will see you and love you every single day. You are a piece of home and so much more than that.

Let me correct myself. You are not “just a horse,” you are my horse.

 

30 things

Finals week starts tomorrow, and I already know it’s gonna be extremely mentally exhausting. So, here is a list of unimportant things that make me feel better/calm down:

  1. the smell of the ground after rain
  2. running your hand across smooth wood
  3. fingers sliding down guitar strings
  4. watching the sun set through the leaves of a tree
  5. cat purrs
  6. freshly washed sheets
  7. pressing flowers in a heavy book
  8. braiding your hair
  9. the smell of saddle soap
  10. watching horses eat
  11. drawing in black pen
  12. painting your nails
  13. the sound of shoes crunching in the sand
  14. the sound of shoes crunching in the snow (though this seems pretty unlikely to happen anytime soon)
  15. opening a new pack of gum
  16. watching vines that butter my croissants
  17. walking barefoot through wet grass
  18. a dog’s cold nose
  19. when a dog high fives you
  20. dogs
  21. biting into an apple
  22. cutting a piece of paper perfectly straight
  23. matching your outfit with your shoes
  24. opening a textbook to the exact page you needed to open to
  25. closing all the tabs after finishing a research paper
  26. twinkle lights
  27. the shadows of trees moving in the wind
  28. putting on eyeliner in one single motion
  29. listening to the rain and flume
  30. a good hug
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