|Ralph Waldo Emerson|
Even the word scares me.
When you are hungry, you can eat.
When you are cold, you can cover up.
When you are afraid, you can't just be unafraid.
It's a word that I hate to admit I have in my vocabulary. As a bad ass Cowgirl, I'd like to think I thumb my nose at fear.
That I eat Fear for breakfast. That I ain't afraid of nuthin'.
But that would be a lie.
I know a little.....
...I know a lot..... about fear.
Especially fear of riding, or more specific: Fear of flying off my horse and into a fence, or a rock, or a ditch.
Because I have done all of those things and even more. I've had so many wrecks that I have forgotten about half of them.
I was always taught that if you fell off, or were bucked off, you had to get back on.
Yep. The old cliche is true.
Ya gotta get back on.
Because if you don't, you'll start to think about it, and you will be afraid to get back on.
Used to be that when I got bucked off~
and make no mistake, being bucked off is way different than falling off! I never just fall off!~
I would bounce, and I would get back on ANGRY.
That old cayuse and I would have a Come to Jesus meeting and I would come out on top
...or I'd go to the ER.
Until about ten years ago I owned a little horse that I really liked. But he was unpredictable and a little bit hot. I could ride for hours and then something would freak him out and BAM- I'd be in a Rodeo.
One afternoon, I was riding in a covered arena when the peacocks dropped out of the rafters and flew past.
I thought I had him rode, but at the last minute he turned back and I got dumped HARD.
I got up. I caught him. And I got back on. And then I went to the ER.
And Fear came to ride with me for a long time.
I've wondered why.
Why that ride? I've had worse wrecks.
Maybe it was because I was 50 years old and I didn't bounce.
Maybe it was a hormonal change.
Maybe it was just my time to be scared.
In any case, I had a hard time riding without Fear after that.
They say that knowing your failures will help you overcome them.
I don't think that is true.
I kept riding. That part was easy.
But putting the fear aside- not so easy.
I tried to override the fear, I tried telling myself that I was being a BABY.
That I was being an OLD WOMAN.
That Cowgirls don't feel fear.
It didn't work, because it wasn't true.
Then I had a talk with a good ol' boy named Charles Wilhelm. He's an older guy. Came to riding a bit later in life, but he is amazing with horses and more importantly, people.
I asked him, " How do you NOT be afraid?"
He didn't say, " Oh try this," " or " Retrain your horse.blah blah blah..."
He told me,
" You should be afraid. Fear is what keeps you safe."
He was right.
I needed to embrace that fear, but not let it rule me. When I started feeling fear, I should listen.
Is it a truly dangerous situation? Or was it a situation that I could handle?
There is no SHAME in Fear.
I won't ride with Fear on my shoulder. I won't worry about things that might happen. I am aware of Fear, but I trust myself and my skills.
As weird as it sounds, I am okay with pain or hurt or even death. Every time I put a foot into a stirrup, I have to understand and make a pact with Fear that I won't be ruled by it today.
Fear has gone back to it's hidey hole in my soul somewhere.
I address it.
Then I saddle up.
2 months ago