Day 10 – If Wishes Were Horses, or the Power of Pretending

white horses in the shade of a tree

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. 

A reader made that comment to me yesterday, and it’s been in my head as I struggled through a hard morning. I often feel the most depressed in the morning, and this morning I woke up full not of patriotic fervor but of thoughts of blowing my brains out with a gun. Yes, it’s true, though I’m working hard on getting better, the self destructive part of me is resisting, particularly when I first wake up.

“Come have some tea,” my husband called to me, oblivious to the darkness of my thoughts (I have a good poker face). I dragged myself out of bed, pulled my clothes on, and looked out the window to see the hydrangeas blooming under a bright blue sky. This is what the Fourth of July should look like. My husband handed me my favorite tea in my favorite cup.

I’m not all right this morning, I thought, but I’m going to pretend I’m all right. There’s a part of me hating myself right now. But I’ve committed myself to believing the little girl inside of me with her stories of childhood sexual abuse. And that means I need to take care of her–and myself.

I went into the bathroom to wash my face, and looked in the mirror. I don’t know if I truly, fully believe the girl, but I’ve promised to act like I do. And that led me to think, I don’t know if I can hope for something better, but I’m going to act like I can. I’m going to pretend I am sure that I deserve good care. I’ll go ahead and give myself that care.

So when my husband said he was taking the dogs for a walk out by the river a little later, I said I’d go along. It seemed to be the healthy choice. As we walked through the woods, with the sun lighting up the leaves over the winding path, I remembered something I read in an article about the Dali Lama. Something to the effect that smiling is not just the result of a happy feeling, but also the cause. By intentionally smiling, we trigger something that makes us feel happier. So I smiled at the woods, at my husband, at my dogs running ahead to reach the river. I’ll pretend I’m feeling well, and that will help me feel better. 

By the time I was wading in the river, throwing the stick for the dogs, the thoughts of putting a gun to my head were faded, just fragments of a bad dream.

If wishes were horses is supposed to mean there’s no way that will happen. But maybe that’s wrong. Perhaps my month of making myself believe the girl, even though I’m not fully sure, will yield something. Perhaps acting as though I am becoming a healthier person will make the suicidal thoughts recede.

If wishes are horses, perhaps I’ll be riding soon.

CREDIT: That's a photo I took in New Mexico. (Do you like it?)


  1. You did just gallop. I so love horses. And often we don’t realize how far we’ve come and I am famous for avoiding my horse in real life. Here are words from my T. I think it relates to that feeling of being by the river with your hubby and dogs and smiling. Smiling is much like love. “Yes, full circle out of fear and into love. That is so beautiful and so true. That possibility at any given moment exists.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, yes, that reminds me that in yoga class, we used to end every class in savasana, and my teacher would always say that the peaceful open heart we experienced was available to us at any moment, in any place.


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