It was the strangest experience being gone for that long and by myself most of the time. I hate being alone and I was resigned to that. However, I just hadn't expected the internal reaction I got from being surrounded by people yet still very much alone.
With nearly two thousand horses at this show there were plenty of people around me. It was hard to go anywhere without bumping into folks. Yet with the focus as intense as it can be at a national horse show , they were pretty involved with doing their own thing. Even those people I knew were mere passing blips on the radar for some kind of human connection. The people I was stabled with were kind but not friendly. My only interactions with them were pretty much at my instigation and brief. It was a solitary and uncomfortable time.
Fortunately I had lots to do. With three horses to care for just the maintenance work could take most of the day. Add in schooling times and unexpected "issues" surrounding the horses and there really wasn't even much time to watch classes.
I had hoped to see more of the national championships. I love watching classes at horse show. However, even that activity is something more enjoyable shared with a friend. When I did get the opportunity I was painfully aware of the difference partaking in this activity by myself.
Cleaning stalls has always been a reflective time for me. I'm not sure in this particular situation that was a good thing. I spent many an hour keenly aware of my discomfort in a time that should have been gratifying. I found myself wondering if this dream as currently interpreted is what I really want after all.
Somewhere near the end of this experience it dawned on me the source of the agony I was experiencing. Even with people everywhere I was feeling invisible.
Being invisible can be a form of comfort to many who have experienced abuse. However, for me being invisible was a form of punishment. To be ignored in such a manner meant that I was unworthy to be alive......to breathe.........to love. These maybe old messages from a time long past but they still have a dark hold on me. That was clearly evidenced in the emotional roller coaster ride I took on this trip.