The Sagebrush Sea

Ramblings from a Cowboy-Girl.

Category: Cowboy-Girl (page 1 of 6)

This Day

I am a worrier. If I am not mindful of my internal state, I am easily consumed by anxiety.

I worry about the food I eat.  Is it healthy?  Is it produced in a sustainable manner?  Does it taste good?

I worry about the clothes I wear.  Is it  comfortable?  Does it cost too much?  Was this t-shirt produced with slave labor?

I worry about the situation in North Dakota.  I know people on both sides of the argument and I see validity in both sides, where is the civil dialogue? Why must we resort to violence?  Will this support or damage the Native peoples platform?  Is oil essential to our economy?

I worry about cancer.  Am I doing enough to reduce my risk?  Could I have done more to help my mother?  Are pesticides truly safe?

These are just a few of the things that trigger my anxiety.  I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. I worry so much, I worry about what my worry says about me.  Until now, it wasn’t something I shared with many people.  Only those closest to me know just how much I worry.   My worry is a side effect of sensitivity.  Over the years, I’ve developed tools to handle my anxiety, it seldom spirals out of control or drives my decision making.  When it does, I am able to step away from the stress, examine it objectively, and strip it down to the root cause.  Being an empath in today’s world is difficult.

Lately,  my stress revolves around today’s election.  I don’t care for either presidential candidate.  They set my teeth on edge and my ethical center (my gut) flips with distaste at the thought of either of them in office.  I will go to the polls and I will vote anyway, because doing so will, at the very least give me the illusion of control.  Whatever the outcome, I will settle into the choice and the changing environment of our country the best I can.

I will invest in things I know I can influence in a powerful way and I will breathe into and release the idea that I have control.

I will invest my consumer dollars in businesses that reflect my values.  I will exercise kindness everyday, regardless of the election outcome we are all still Americans.  We can all choose to engage in one simple, random act of human kindness.   I strive to create space for listening with respect, whether I agree with someone or not.  My opinions are my own, grown out of my experiences and rooted in my conscience.  Whether your feelings align with my own or we meet across a partisan lines and political divisions,  I chose to give your opinion the same understanding.



A Good Girl

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.

Everybody Loves a Roan

A few years ago, I was relaxing in the bleachers at a rodeo, while a weirdo friend braided my hair.  “You’re going roan! I like it.”  Roan, the  sprinkle of white hairs, is such desirable coat pattern in horses.  Women. . .I’m not so sure.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa, timeout!” scream the glossy magazines and media.  Their not-so subtle subtext:  aging is shameful and grey hair is is to be covered.   Though everybody loves a roan, I began dying my hair shortly after the bleacher observation.   For frugality’s sake, I’ve declined to dye my hair for over a year, but my occasional discomfort with my current appearance has me questioning my cheap little heart.  To dye or not to dye?   Perhaps, I should just avoid mirrors and surround myself with other roans.

I was 17-years-old, when I spotted my first grey hair.  “Oh no, I’m becoming my mother!”  Horrified, I quickly plucked it from my head.  My mother wore her hair confidently in it’s natural salt-and-pepper state.   My  self-conscious, teenage insecurity took her appearance as a personal affront.  “Why would she choose to look so OLD?” whispered the little voice in the back of my head.  Apart from my mother, not many women were openly embracing the changes fueled by  stress, genetics, and time.  Aside from Mom’s personal, spiritual inspiration country singer Emmylou Harris, I was not aware of public figures embracing natural greying.

Fast forward a few years, I am nearly the age my mother was when my teenage-self believed her ancient.  As, my own dark hair is rapidly becoming sprinkled with grey, I admire my mother’s choice more.  Despite the mature appearance of the likeness in the mirror, I feel only slightly more adult than that girl who plucked that first alien hair so many years ago.  I’ve been under the mistaken impression that life would make more sense, as my appearance became more “dignified.”    How do you know when you are adult enough?  Grey hair clearly isn’t the answer  I’ve been looking for.  I can’t seem to find an “adultier” adult to soothe my anxiety.

Wiry greys sprout from my head like tiny alien antennas, defying the straight brown hair I’ve identified with for so long.  I used to scoff at women whose hairstyles never changed, snorting to myself, “My hair is not my identity, who I am is bigger than my appearance.”  Yet my own hair turns, and I am struggling with leaning into the discomfort of my changing appearance.  One thing is certain, I’d much rather surround myself with roan ponies, than have a roan ponytail.


Just a Cow

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small

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