Jealousy. That’s right. A capital J for Jealousy. It starts in childhood and continues into adulthood. And it’s getting on my last nerve. If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that my daughter, Cat, is training for the Youth Mustang Challenge. Just over a month ago, we picked up her assigned baby mustang and she has been working with the horse every day since then.
And yet, the ugly green eyed monster has reared its head. Again. Last week, she was attacked on social media by someone. When her friends jumped in and began defending her, they, too, were attacked. Later that evening, one of the mother’s contacted me and began berating me about Cat. “Of course your daughter was attacked. Everything is about Cat, Cat, Cat.”
Say wha’? Who, exactly, is telling the mother that? Could it be her own daughter? “I don’t know who your daughter has in her back pocket to get all of this media attention…” the mother continued.
Me, that’s who.
The entire program was intended to demonstrate how working with horses builds confidence in young children while rescuing animals that are, otherwise, headed to the slaughterhouse. This program was a pilot to be duplicated in future years with other riders. I will not apologize for my professional background and extensive education in marketing. Maybe someone else has an expertise in psychology or finance. If they use that to benefit their own child, I doubt anyone would grumble. But turn on that spotlight and suddenly the green eyes glow in the surrounding darkness.“…and sponsors!” the mother added with a huff.
Hmmm. That’s ironic to mention because that’s exactly what the social media bully said. And, to answer both of them: Cat is not making money from this. That’s a ridiculous claim. As for the sponsors, they happen to be part of the community and they are supporting a little girl’s dream…not financially but emotionally!
What is it with people?
As a child becomes successful in following her dreams—which, for Cat, is to be a horse trainer—she gets put down? By an adult?
Oh, it’s not the first time Cat has been on the receiving end of green-eyed monsters. Nor is it the first time she has experienced heartache from little girls and their parents. I’m only thankful that
she has a healthy environment to follow her dreams. She drinks bottled water (not booze), chases horses (not boys), and wears riding clothes (not crop tops and super short mini-skirts). Oh, and let’s not forget that she has good friends at the barn that support her for who she is and not for what they can get out of her.
She’s not perfect. Frankly, she’s a bit of a messy creature at home and eats too much ice cream. She can be loud and unruly. But she’s not “cruel” or self-absorbed, although she does like to take selfies. She’s a thirteen-year-old that has a passion for horses, sticks up for bullied kids at school, and loves her little group of friends with a fierce loyalty. Having been abandoned by “friends” in the past and left on her own during the initial part of my cancer treatment, she knows pain. And she also know that comes with the territory of walking to the beat of her own drum.
She sacrifices a lot in order to follow that tune, a melody that is full of rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns on most days. She’s happy to share her world with others, but she also feels the pain of people who want only for their own child and don’t think about how selfish they are in leaving a trail of heart-broken children in their path.
People make choices in life and those choices often impact the outcome of what we consider to be happiness. Maybe a child is an Honor student or exceptional soccer player. Maybe the family skis in Colorado or take trips abroad. Or maybe they spend the summers at the beach or a foreign country. Perhaps they shouldn’t because not all of us can?
Here’s the bottom line. I’m not going to begrudge Cat this experience. Nor am I going to deny it for other deserving riders. We are learning as we go along and that knowledge will be applied to next year’s participants. If they, too, are willing to work every day, study horse training every night, and maintain good (if not great!) grades at school, excellent! But they better have a thick skin because someone somewhere will have something awful to say about it, perhaps because they cannot make such a commitment or don’t like other girls getting attention for their hard-work and success.
And believe me…they will get attention for such a commitment. Besides writing, that’s what I do: market.
That is something that I will not apologize for.