It’s story time! My best friend challenged me to blog about red lipstick. I was hoping to satisfy that by just slipping it in somewhere as a quick and silly metaphor, but now I’m thinking that might be going against the whole point. It’s funny how much weight a simple little act of Taylor Swifting your lips can carry.

For years now I’ve wanted to be able to rock bright red lips. What girl doesn’t go through this phase or at least of judging those who do? It seems like a fairly petty mind battle! It’s not really about the color. Sure, it can be fun and sexy if it’s done right, but it’s really about telling myself that I’m not the girl for whom that product was put in this world – being daring and loud and experimental is not something I am supposed to do. I’m the horse girl. I’m the get down and dirty, sweat and blood kind of a human being. So that means I need to play by those “rules” of that predetermined, assumed persona all the time, right? Wrong! What’s with the boxes??

Someone once asked me if I didn’t like getting really dressed up or if I didn’t like to often. I responded around about, “It’s not that I don’t like it, but I just don’t like looking like I’m trying too hard… or something.” (If it’s guaranteed that people around me will be all dolled up too, then great!) But really, I think I’m just afraid to stand out and of any attention that may bring. I’m incredibly afraid of someone assigning me to a box that’s the wrong shape for my heart.

I’m going to go a little bit deep here for a minute. Another dearly dearly beloved friend of mine sent this text to me the other night. “I think realizing that you need no one’s permission is the key to grace… and that includes permission from yourself. Permission giving is still being in control… grace is about recognizing that you can’t be in control.” Boy that summed up so many of the thoughts swirling in my brain with clarity I had not quite put my finger on. How did I get so lucky to have such brilliant friends? Read one of my favorite blog posts of hers here.

So instead of waiting for permission, why don’t we just accept that if we keep waiting, if we keep trying to have control, if we never let go of our insecurities, or let down our guard and peer out of our safety box, we never let grace in… and without grace, let’s face it, we’re toast. So why not drop all this talk of permission and boundaries and boxes? I don’t want to be the one to tell grace that she is not invited into my home. So what if she forces me to reveal and accept who I am or what I don’t understand about myself. She’s probably going to help me to teach my head not to always overrule my feel.

When I was a very little girl, I was completely obsessed with the “Pony Pals” book series. I was in a club that would send me two new books every month or so. I couldn’t wait until that day when a package addressed to me would come in the mailbox. I would spend the whole day buried in the little adventures of three horse-obsessed friends: Carol, Stevie, and Lisa. One part has stuck with me through all these years – I think it was Stevie who on once noticed a girl in the barn or at a show wearing fingernail polish. She saw it and thought to herself something judgmental along the lines of not wanting paint to be on HER fingers. I think it was YEARS after I read that before I let polish touch my fingernails again. Stevie was a fictional character, but she was my kind of girl. I wanted her to like me. I wanted her to be my friend.

The red lips (and fingers!) lesson is conveniently relevant to those spinning wheels of mine that are afraid to make mistakes when I ride. I distinctively remember one of my lessons with Lendon during one of the Robert Dover Horse Mastership EDAP weeks. I think things were basically going ok during my ride, but apparently I was too locked inside of my head… too zoned in… trapped in Tangoland. (Tango was the name of my trusty steed) During my lesson some of the other riders and auditors were sitting in the gazebo at C. Lendon gave them the job of holding up any given number of fingers for me to count and call out every time I passed by them. If I didn’t stop staring at the arena or my horse’s ears long enough to do so, I got yelled at. 🙂

There are lots of should and should not do’s, but sometimes I think I need to give myself the rule not to spend so much energy worrying about all the rules and lessons learned. Nothing changes if we’re always thinking of what we shouldn’t do or wish we hadn’t done.

Rules make me feel safe, like as long as I don’t do THAT I’ll be doing ok. Or if I just stick with what has worked for me in the past, I won’t fall off the deep end. But being stagnant is smelly and no fun at all, and being totally lost in my brain, checking off the do’s and don’ts before I make every move just sort of makes me miss life… Miss the experimenting that leads to figuring out what is even better than what I already know. Plus it seems kinda snobby to always be in lock-down processing mode.

Later, we went to Stillpoint Farm and watched some of the trainers there ride. At one point Robert was schooling an FEI horse while coaching another rider. Thinking and yammering away while making his horse do fancy things…? There was a group of us there, and Lendon specifically called out to me, “Koryn, could YOU do that?”… “Uh, Noooo.” Ha. Must focus. Must control. Must think. Must. Not. Make. Mistake. Hmmm.

I’m definitely not getting at, “Rules are made to be broken.” No, rules are important, and lessons are learned for a reason, but not everything has to be black and white. Why not let in some Red? So if you see me around somewhere sporting red lips, or say, blue strips in my hair… please don’t laugh. I’m either already very aware that I look ridiculous or finally proud of myself for lightening up and living outside of my box!


Getting My Pen Moving

 I have been feeling guilty about not posting a new blog entry in many weeks. It’s a little bit out of laziness, having long days and then just wanting to read a book for a few minutes and fall asleep instead of giving my brain a bit of a workout by writing. But see that’s just the thing. I think I’ve been working too hard at making this writing thing a certain way, a certain style, with a set of rules and constraints for what it should be like. Bearing in mind the expectation that I think others may have for it. I live my life with a pretty strong filter, often one that filters my thoughts before I can fully process them. When I write with the intention to share, I think about what kind of people may be reading; I think about what they probably expect and want from my writing; I think about what I would want to read; I judge it and think about how it’s judged before I even give it the chance to be created. So this is me just getting my pen moving again.

 I started to put this blog in a tidy little box with the label being, “Safe for the Public: Lessons from a Riding Student.” But finding perfectly neat little lessons to write about seems to be missing the point a bit when nothing in my head feels safe, perfect, and orderly. It’s pretty messy up there. It’s full of so many lessons, thoughts, and feelings that don’t line up perfectly with any sort of prototype I have created and am comfortable with, unless it undergoes quite a bit of drafting and gutting. Constantly stripping down my thoughts to judge their fittingness before even trying to type them is tiring and pretty uninspiring. I want to let go and make a habit of just letting words come. No more boxes.

 In other news, I’m sure that anyone reading this has heard that Courtney and Jason’s baby girl, River Madison Dye was born on February 20th! Courtney is posting updates and adorable pictures on her blog at I got to meet her for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve ever really been around a baby so young! If I have, then it was definitely not one that was born so close to my heart. The first time I saw her I was standing with Courtney in her kitchen when Jason appeared holding River in his arm. I had no idea that I would have such an intense reaction. The day she was born I was thrilled and couldn’t stop smiling, so happy and excited for them, but meeting her a couple of weeks later I didn’t think I would feel quite so much. The immediate immense swelling in my heart at just a first glimpse of a tiny, beautiful, new little Dye really surprised me! I’ve never felt that sort of awe and love.

 Jason showed me how to hold her and handed her to me. It was weird when I noticed my body automatically started to sway side to side as I stared at her innocence. (Umm, maternal instincts… say, what??) At some point, Jason making conversation asked me a question…. about my car I think… it was a few moments later before I could pull myself away to utter some sort of, “Umm, huh? Sorry… I’m in another world…” one that’s such a bigger reality than the state of my wheels. She just pulled me in close and held me in Almost Auntie Koryn land. There are lots of exciting beginnings these days!