I didn’t know my soul needed to recharge, that was until my heart began lifting with an effervescence in my chest, as I stood with my face to the wind on the hilltop facing the setting sun. Not twenty minutes ago, I was sitting in my pick-up cursing myself for forgetting to bring a book along, as I waited for the stock tank to fill with water. I had found the large metal tank nearly empty, when I arrived and knew I had some time to kill. The unseasonably warm weather, combined with the lack of moisture, had driven the horses and heifers to consume more water than usual. The sixty-mile round trip drive to check the water and fill the tank must be done several times a week. I chafe at the necessity, it isn’t because I begrudge my livestock fresh, clean water, but because of the fuel and time the chore costs us.
This negative cycle of thoughts continued for some minutes, as I sat in the pick-up to escape the biting cold wind. I chastise my children (more often than they’d like) with this statement, “You can’t control everything, but you can control your attitude.” Clearly, I also need to hear this reminder. I grabbed my husband’s denim jacket out of the backseat and stepped out of the pickup to check the tank level. It would be a few more hours, before there is enough water for me to leave. Leaden rain clouds whipping across the sky to the North with the fierce Wyoming wind, but the sun is backlighting softer clouds hanging on the Western horizon.
My life has felt out of my control too often this past year. I hadn’t realized just how confined I felt by familial obligations and the dangerous self-pitying narrative I’d attached to them, until we chose to walk away. In a new space, together with my family of choice, I’ve reconnected with the core of myself. My most primal self, detests dogma, obligation, and confining labels. In my attempt to be the “good girl” this past year, I’ve lost sight of these truths. Good girl’s respect their roles in the hierarchy of family, despite the cost to their soul. Good girls put the needs of others ahead of self-care. Good girls burnout and I did.
I can’t be a good girl anymore. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. I have learned and I have turned what felt like a rejection into a reawakening of my truest self. My sensitivity is not weakness. The empathy with which I view the world, is the truest expression of my energy. I am enough, just as I am. I do not need to shape myself to the narrative of my extended family, because I write my own story. A story, like this moment, on this windy hilltop that makes my heart rise and sing.