I broke my right leg two years ago this week just walking on a beach. I required two surgeries to straighten my tibia and was laid up for over 16 months. Even after that, doc said no riding for a year. Well guess what — the year is up! I’m clear to ride again. Hang on y’all. It’s going to be fun!
And to be clear, no that is not me in the video. I just like the video. And the song.
Oh sweet mercies the roads I have traveled these last two years.
Ups and downs.
Joys and disappointments.
I will say this isn’t my usual kind of post. At least not of late. Not that I’ve posted much lately, but you know. I meant to. Being distracted by a side dish of crazy makes it really difficult to write anything that matters.
Yes, you read that right. I haven’t been writing because I got distracted by my own crazy. I can’t write that so and so will be upset. I can’t write about this because that will upset someone else. I can’t write about….
I’m in a new writer’s group and it’s time to break this cycle, take off my water wings and swim again.
There are also some things you should know about me if you are new around here: I cuss some times, I’ve been known to drink whiskey on occasion and while I’m considered a bleeding heart liberal here in the bible belt, the truth is I’m really more of a moderate. I do love horses and cycling, I’m just banned from both until my broken leg finishes healing. I love rockin open comedy mics, I play banjo for fun and believe it or not, I am really happy you are here.
I’m not going to tell you how to get everyone to like you (you can’t) or how to be a better Lutheran, I left the Lutheran church three years ago, which is when this whole mess started so you know. I’m not even going to tell you how to be a better wife. As for gardening, well… that’s what nurseries are for so go find a master gardener and have a ball.
I want to have fun writing again. So this is just me raw, mildly edited and hopefully offering a side dish of humor.
I’ve been through a lot of changes over the last few years. Some great, some notsomuch, but changes all the same.
I am going to tell you the cold hard truth that some people won’t be happy with your changes, your choices, or even your hair. And I am here to tell you that you will not die from that. And I know that because I didn’t.
I’m writing this because there are several of us in my new writing group who have faced this same dilemma. They feel alone like I once did. Together we are sharing our stories in hopes they find their way to other women like us. The hope is to be an encouragement for those who are afraid they are too much. Too loud. Too smart. Too outside of the lines for humanity.
We aren’t lone rangers. We are women who care about other women. May our strength become yours.
My blog did great in 2012 and then something unthinkable happened. The very people I believed would be excited for me, weren’t and I got upset by that. Not just a little upset either. Think literally shake whenever I met someone new upset. Super sweet oh please be my new best friend, upset. Mad at you to the point I thought my skull would burst and still not say a word about it so that you will still like me upset. Obsess over every nuance, phrase or contact to see where I stand on everyone’s “HOW MUCH I LIKE DEANA TODAY” Chart upset.
We are talking full frontal crazy my friends.
There were those who told me I needed to repent of all this dreaming about writing a book and doing stand up comedy and just go back to being small so that they could be comfortable with their own choices. I hate to admit it, but I may very well have given in to the pressure at least for a little while. I lost my voice. I got scared. I almost let my blog die and clung instead to the tattered shreds of their garments hoping they’d like me again. It was nauseating.
I didn’t even realize it was jealousy. I started thinking that maybe I really did deserve being the one to bring cookies to funerals and nothing more. Maybe they were right. Maybe that was the only thing I really deserved. After all, I must be an awful person if they are reacting so violently.
I even considered releasing my first book under a pseudonym so that I wouldn’t lose any more friends. Or worse, not writing it at all.
I wish I could change those two years, but I can’t. All I can do is learn from it and move on.
It never occurred to me that jealousy was behind it all. Not once. Here’s the deal, there will be people who will be jealous of you. Impossible you say? Nope. Gonna happen so get ready.
Someone finally put it this way. You put a bunch of male lobsters in a pot of boiling water and they will help each other climb out. Put a bunch of female lobsters in a pot, they’ll pull each other back in. Don’t get pulled back in!
Yes we’re taught to play nice and be relational, but the truth is you can’t nice jealousy away. Allowing another person’s opinion of you to become your problem is no solution.
Let it go, trust your gut and follow your heart.
Do you remember that comedy judge who called bullshit on my set two years ago saying “if this is what you believe about yourself, someone lied to you.” and then told me to go find the real me and bring it next year? Yeah well — turns he was right. I did believe those things and someone DID lie.
The biggest lie I remember being told – It’s your fault if other women reject you.
Can I tell you a secret?
My Facebook friends list used to include women I know hate me. Crazy right? Do you know why? I thought if they got to know me — the “real” me (as if FB is ever real) and saw all the stuff my husband and I did, they might eventually like me.
You know what?
What a colossal waste of my time.
If I knew then what I know now I’d tell you to hang in there. It gets better. I promise. I hung in there long enough to learn that not all women are petty and fearful and rejection isn’t always caused by anything I did or didn’t do. Being uber sweet and playing small won’t help. Let’s face it, I bet there are women out there that hate Maryann from Gilligan’s Island. Even Ginger was jealous of her – remember that? Now who hates Maryann? People do.
Sometimes rejection is 100% about the insecurity of the other woman. There are women who see someone they deem beautiful and the walls instantly go up and the teeth come out.
I remember being blindsided by a cat fight a many years ago while getting ready to sing in a local presentation of The Messiah. It was my first year, and I was afraid.
“Oh wow a leopard print dress in The Messiah, how appropriate.”
“It’s not leopard, it’s wood grain. My friend made it for me.”
Insert eye roll and huff as she walks away.
All I remember about her is she was a pastor’s wife and a friend of a friend. She’d been at the same retreats I had. I liked her right up until that moment.
This was right before we headed upstairs to start the program. I started hyperventilating and someone grabbed my hand and stood there with me until I caught my breath. Not that his fiance’ appreciated that either though. Even so, I didn’t care and I was thankful for the kindness.
See the problem is, I didn’t realize yet that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
It would be wonderful if I could tell you I was in high school when this happened. I wasn’t. I was 34 and miss indignant was in her 40’s.
So here’s the deal girlfriend. Being nice isn’t going to fix this.You can’t nice someone out of jealousy. I know because I’ve tried. It makes you look icky. Really it does. That plus it’s just pathetic.
Catty women know no age limit and I want you to remember something. The right women will like you no matter what so to hell with the catty and insecure ones who need you to play small.
Did you hear me?
I know that sounds harsh — and it sounds harsh because you are still hanging onto the false hope that the woman who gives you grief, who bullies you, lies about you, whatever will finally like you if you just try hard enough. I’m ripping that band aid of denial right off of your heart. I do know the more spiritual answer is to let them go with love and leave them to God. That’s great but I know you. I know me. If we sugar coat this, we’ll have the false hope that they’ll come to their senses.
It’s just not going to happen. Let’s accept that and move on.
Put this on your refrigerator if you have to.
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are brave.
You are a child of God.
You do not have to play small around women who matter. The right women will encourage you to grow bigger and stronger along with them. Trust me on this.
Print this picture out and post it on your bathroom mirror. You are beautiful. Own it like you mean it. Be brave sweet girl.
In other news: I tackled a cowboy this week. Hadn’t seen him in over a year and he surprised me by showing up at the stables. He’s married to my friend Jo and he’s been working out-of-town.
I have more girl in me than I sometimes admit and took off in a dead run the minute I saw him — Good thing he’s a cowboy or he’d have gotten knocked over.
My friends bring me joy as well.
Last week I was tired from being on the road for so long and was dealing with stolen car issues. (My car was found and returned to me in great condition) This week, it’s about peace, time at the lake and things that matter, like friends and family. This has been a great week you guys!
My hope for you for this weekend and the coming weeks is that you get to spend time with things that fill you up. I also leave you with a question:
When was the last time you were so happy to see someone you took off at a dead run? Or better yet, when was the last time you allowed yourself to be free enough to do that?
I fell off a horse nine years ago, figuratively speaking anyway. And then while I was still on the ground a whole stampede ran through and about did me in.
Nine years is a long time to be afraid of horses.
If you want to get over this fear, I suggest telling the truth to a cowboy. I’m not sure you’ll like the answer, I know I didn’t, but it will be the right answer. Like it or not.
Me: “I’m tired of this, am I ever going to learn how to trust again?”
Him: “You know what I’m going to tell you right?”
Me: “Yeah, yeah, I know cowgirl up and ride, right?”
Him: “Not this time darlin. This time I’m telling you to grow up and stop making people responsible for what happened in your past. You don’t get to decide for them which end of the horse they are going to be. Trust the rider, trust the horse. If you fall off, get back on, find your seat and ride. You don’t take it out on the horse if you fall off, right?”
Him: “So quit taking it out on people. Once you learn that trick, then you can cowgirl up and ride all you want.”
Either I’ve lived in Oklahoma far to long, or he made perfect sense. He hurt my feelings, like a real friend will from time to time, but he’s right. You can’t ride if you can’t find your seat.
Trust the rider (me)
Trust the horse (them)
find your seat and ride.
When you fall off (not if)
Pick yourself up
Dust off the dirt
and start again.
And whatever you do, don’t take it out on the horse.
I love this sign. I see it every time I saddle up to ride. Funny thing is though now that I’m learning how to barrel race and eventually rope, Jo thinks it might be good for me to learn how to fall off a horse safely.
I’ve never really viewed falling as something I do safely. I always thought falling to be the equivalent of being unceremoniously dumped on my butt.
To help me better grasp the concept Jo changed her verbiage. Rather than thinking of it as falling, it’s really an emergency dismount. I don’t want to show you how to fall, I want you to learn how to land on your feet and stay out of harms way.
I fall off my bike a lot but I’ve never fallen off a horse. When faced with dangerous situations, dismounting is sometimes your safest bet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horse or a bike. A rider should always pay attention to their surroundings.
Knowing when and how to fall, is as important as knowing how to ride.