Sometimes life seems surreal; as though we are just observers from afar, more than active participants.
The possibilities and dreams of a child, especially for a young girl, can be so far out of reach that they can’t be imagined; even with some help from circumstance.
This story isn’t about a child born into family with a rodeo or ranching background. It’s about a horse-crazy little girl, her love of the western lifestyle, and the lessons learned along the way. Growing up under city lights, where there wasn’t room to keep more than a couple horses and a motley crew of roping calves, you learn to make the most of the opportunity for even that.
What this story is about, is the benefit of having a foundation solid enough for a stubborn, wannabe Texan (who is actually from Oklahoma), to stand on, that allowed her to reach for the vision of childhood dreams. Eventually realizing that while those dreams may not come true, with the right support structure, contentment and bliss can still be realized. And those dreams, desires and possibilities may change their focus. That’s okay too. Happiness is a choice.
While our goals are solely our own, the progress we make towards achieving them is absolutely affected by those we choose to surround ourselves with. Without the support of family, this journey may never have reached this point. Parents and siblings willing to try, arrange the life of a family to allow each member to move towards their dreams. Definitely part of the supporting team that far too many people take for granted as the norm. Once you leave that place of comfort to make your own way in the world, you soon find out what a blessing it is.
Two abusive marriages, can help you learn that your worth comes from within. That it’s not acceptable for other people to yell and raise their voice. That it’s not acceptable for others to tear you down. Those behaviors are not only unacceptable, they are actually a reflection of the abuser, not the fault of the abused. A function of their lack of self-awareness and love for themselves, not mistakes or shortcomings of their victims.
The stark contrast from those two diverse sets of circumstances; supporting loving family vs. relationships based on abuse and sabotage; can create an imbalance that is tough to recover from; and can often confuse an individual to the point where they may not be able to tell the difference.
I’m so fortunate my journey has brought me here.
A spouse, another family, friends, even animals; not interested in tearing you down over a lack of success, but helping you focus on the progress, and doing their best to help you build your confidence along the way are critical. Life is too short to surround yourself with people, things, and circumstances that don’t contribute to the best version of yourself.
Not too long ago, I couldn’t even conceive of being in a place like this. One where I could truly start to take lessons from the horse about self-confidence, self-worth and progress. Where people do their best to accept you for who you are, and where you’re rewarded not just for results, but for the try.
Horses and family have been my saving grace. They can both accept you for where you are today, They’ll know if you’re in a bad place, a good place, a bad mood, or a good mood. They know if you have an agenda. They know if your motives are pure. They are forgiving and supportive if you let them be. They saved me and kept me on this side of the earth.
Life can teach you that the try is what counts. The little girl in this story learned to try, though the thought still scares her from time to time. Try new things. Failure isn’t a lack of success, it’s a state of mind, often driven by external forces, that make us less inclined to learn on our journey. The try is how you learn. The try is how you gain experience. The try is what makes you who you are. We should all follow the mantra of some of my horsemanship heroes… “Don’t take the try out of ‘em.” Even more so, we should try to build it in others.
Choices are what you make of them, and sometimes you’ve got to take a risk, make a move, or do something that terrifies you in order to find your place in the world. A supportive environment affords more choices; and a place to dust yourself off when inevitably we make one that doesn’t come out well. I’m fortunate to reside with and amongst some individuals that live this incredibly well and I’m grateful to them for setting a good example of how life should be: Zach, Kelsey and Ty, you’re my inspiration.
Not everybody will have the same good fortune in life as the girl in this story. But the more willing we are to share the lessons from our own circumstances, from a solid and unshakeable foundation; we may be able to help others create their own stable foundation.
My hope is that story of my journey will inspire you to find your place, take a risk, learn to love yourself, try and fail, become the ‘you’ you could never have imagined. Your journey can be incredible too.
While this video talks about being tough, which is an important trait to have, it also hints at something almost as important — and that is realizing a good deal, and then finding ways to help others find their happiness. That is the next chapter in the horse-crazy little girl’s story.
I will continue to share my lessons learned, in hopes of saving you some time, money, blood, sweat and/or tears. My goal is to share my evolving perspective as a means to empowering others; and I appreciate the support you have all given me.
Many thanks to Corning® Gorilla® Glass for sponsoring this post and for allowing me to share my story with the world.