By Cowgirl Sass & Savvy Julie Carter
The business of being a cowgirl is not for sissies. Doesn't matter if you are thinking cowgirl in the rodeo arena or on the ranch.
Both require a measure of grit and tough that one either has, or not. You can't buy it at the store.
Tenacity is a mindset that gets a cowgirl through a life of measurably tough times. Some folks call it hard-headedness but it goes beyond that, goes beyond stubborn or even just gutsy.
Frankly, it's the same inborn "cowboy-up" gene that puts a cowboy back on his horse right after a wreck, that lets them think getting bucked off over a prank is funny and that allows them to endure long days, short nights and working in weather that stops the rest the of world.
There was a time when I thought "cowgirl" was a choice. While the word is both a noun and a verb, it is also a chemical, biological explanation for why you can take the cowgirl to town but you can't ever get the "cowgirl" out of her.
I think back and recall the places in my life where I tried to graduate from the country-kid cowgirl I was raised and attempt to become more cosmopolitan and worldly.
There was the disco-phase in the '70s.
Donna Summer and I were constant musical companions and I had the moves down pat, which were no more than a country jitter-bug morphed into a classical kind of dancing.
Then, the flash-dance phase.
Torn, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, rolled bandanna headbands and lots of curls, flounce and bounce in the hair-do.
Although during this phase, I did own a horse and trailer and spent my summers rodeoing, making me a mixed message.
There have been periods of my adult life where I lived in big cities (Denver, LA and Phoenix).
I lived in apartments and condos and spent my free time on a beach with the Pacific Ocean serving as my "home on the range and wide open spaces."
I got over that. "Cow-girl" always called me back. That inner yearning, an emptiness that was never filled with fast lanes and fast living.
Somewhere along the way, I figured it out. I am what I was in the beginning.
I wasn't supposed to go anywhere to be someone different, I was only to be me wherever I was.
Now I look at the young'uns, as we older people call them.
Tough young cowgirls with a life ahead of them to experience and the youth to be the best they can be.
I hope they can find the understanding that who they are now is who they are going to be, and their job is only to improve on it.
Photos (see below) of a young cowgirl in a progressive wreck at a rodeo where her horse was falling, reminded me of the tough involved in being a cowgirl.
I was in that same kind of wreck so many times - I got up and brushed myself off as I watched my horse run back to the arena gate. I'd lived to do it again another day, and did.
Life is kind of like that. You fall fast and fall hard.
All in the course of living. Without giving it a second thought, you just get up, dust yourself off, and walk on out the gate knowing you'll be back to run another day.
When I get to Heaven, I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing boots under my white robes.
They'll be a large crowd of us, those that were blessed enough to be born cowgirls.
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