Brave.

When I was 12 years old I learned to drive my mom’s 1966 Buick Skylark two door hard top. It had three on the tree, an iffy clutch and temperamental breaks.

That was my first car. I had been upgraded from a tractor, four wheelers, and the ranch pick up I dented (only the tailgate).

I drove it daily 11 miles to the bus stop.

Yes 11 miles. Or was it 12? At any rate it was gravel and I competed with oilfield drivers for space and speed.

Brave.

The best part of the road was cattle guard at the top of hill, and I was sure we would catch air every time.

I had always pictured us flying over the top like a movie.

Windows down. Radio loud. Hair flowing with that rebel yell.

In reality the landing was hard and the radio didn’t work.

Driving that car taught me so much. How to shut it down, down shift and coast when the clutch went out. Or not to panic if I had no breaks.

Nope. I know what you’re thinking. Knock on wood and to quote my dad as he says to my mom, ” have I ever wrecked you?”

The answer is no.

I learned to take the ditch. It slowed me down and I always rolled to a stop. ( or the one time I eased to a stop with the help of Grant’s house I still can see his dad’s girlfriend coming out to check the house and he replied, “we’re fine. Thanks for asking”)

Brave.

Mom’s Buick got retired. When I got too cool or maybe because it wasn’t street legal. It’s funny because it’s the car that holds the most memories for me.

I took those lessons with me.

I had to learn to push it to floor when I can; there’s going to be rough spots but learn to slow down or it will just beat the shit out of you. Take the high side and go low on those corners.

And when you feel like you can’t stop; look for a ditch to help slow you down and pray.

Just don’t stay there. You have the ability to push yourself out.

Every chance you get roll down the windows, push those gas station sun glasses up and pull your cap down low.

Brave.

I still like to drive fast.

Only I call him Blue and he has heated seats and the radio works. I talk to him. I ask him if he wants to run. Or apologize to him on cold winter days when we have to take it slow.

Yes, I still roll the windows down and play the music too loud. Yes, I always wear my sunnies and my snap back.

And I’m still looking for that cattle guard on a hill.

Brave.

Change.

I wonder if I have some change?

Do you have any change?

I get to change!

I hate change.

I change my socks.

I change my attitude and my mind daily. Minute by minute some days right?

Real life change either gives me the hives or makes my whole day.

It’s constant. That’s my dad says.

One would think they way I have lived this life that change would get easier.

I have moved more than seven times in my life. I have been the new girl in more than one place, and that in itself has taught me about change.

I learned that letting go of what I knew and my friends was hard, but it wasn’t optional. I had to move and it pushed me to grow. I had to adapt to a whole new environment and for me that was the best thing.

Change.

It served me as life started to shift later. When I had regroup and move my life and my daughter. That was rough.

It was change.

And I hated it.

Mostly because I’m a mom and my decisions effect someone else.

I had to consider something.

Was this going to move my life forward?

Yes it did.

Adapting to change is hard. Everything in our brain screams at us to stay the same. The feelings that come up thinking about change are usually worse than the change.

How boring would our life be if everyone and everything in our life didn’t grow? Didn’t change?

Change excite us. Change pushes us. Change teaches us.

The things I went through in my life, good and bad, all changed me for the better.

Change taught me from a very early age that I can do anything.

Change taught me I can celebrate.

Change taught me I can survive and thrive.

Change has pushed me to look at life and think what I have is pretty darn amazing.

Change has taught me that even in my darkest moments I have something to learn.

Change has taught me you can’t just peek at life.

You have to kick down change’s door and embrace it.

Silence.

My breath sounded loud in my head.

One more step. Breathe out. One more step. Breathe in.

The rhythm of my feet was the only sound I heard.

The gravel road stretched out in front of me. It’s one of those perfect days. When the sun is just beginning to sink and the sky is that blue-pink, birds are singing their good night song and small animals run around in the silence.

Too much. I put my head phones on and flipped to a song and pushed play.

I thought I needed noise.

“Breathe. Just breathe.” I repeated. Because I didn’t want the silence.

I grew up in BFE. That comes with a lot of perks that not everyone understands or experiences.

Silence.

The crunch of tires on the gravel, birds chirping in warm spring days and the movement of humans and animals. They all came together as their own sound track.

No music. No horns honking.

Silence.

My shoes picking up their own rhythm as I picked up my pace. Enjoying the view. Watching the birds.

I push past another song.

I didn’t want silence. I would have to be alone with my thoughts.

Ugh not this song. I hit next. Next.

I watch the sun sink deeper into horizon. Finally fed up with the lack of a decent play list, I shove off my head phones.

Silence.

It greets me. It surrounds me. It makes me stop and really look around.

I smile at the wind blowing through the grass. The one bunny that looks as startled to see me as I am to see him.

I start to walk again. The cadence of my feet adding to nature’s sound track. My mind isn’t racing. I can feel myself start to relax.

Because sometimes it isn’t more noise we need, it’s less.

Silence.

A lot of us are afraid to sit in the silence. It feels painful. Like someone is pushing stick pins into your skin. Your mind playing the best of ‘you’re a screw up and this is why side A track two.’

Silence.

I look up. The silence isn’t so scary. I know it isn’t permanent. I know that when my mind likes to hit play on that sad pathetic bullshit, I know there is the B side. The highlight reel. The ‘best of’ sound track.

Silence.

It means I told the bullshit committee to take a seat. I have learned how strong I am, how amazing and how truly bad ass.

I pull the headphones off and stick them in my pocket.

I want to listen to the silence.

Love.

Sigh. I guess we should talk about it. The four letter word. It’s every where today. It’s on signs, posters, and cards. You can’t escape it.

Love.

The first time I fell in love, he swept me off my feet. He made my heart beat faster and my eyes twinkle.

He had brown eyes and the longest eye lashes.

And he came running every time I shook that oat bucket and called his name.

Little Joe. Part Welsh pony, part work horse, and the love of my life.

Did you think I was going to talk about a person? Haha. Let’s be serious. Nothing beats a love of a horse.

The love a girl has for a horse? Well that love gets seared into your soul.

Little Joe appeared into my life. Or so it seemed. I’m sure it was out of necessity. But he was my Uncle Jeff’s horse and when Little Joe retired that’s where he returned.

I am, by trade, a daughter to a rancher. That comes with some perks. Like horses.

Some horses, like Little Joe, come into your life and it’s never the same.

Little Joe always put up with me. He didn’t care how many tries it took me to get him lined up against the fence to climb up and jump on his back. Or ho. w many friends I dared to pile onto him. He just stood there waiting for my shenanigans to be done.

Like that time we all thought we would be trick riders and stand up in our saddles. That didn’t end so well.

When I fell off, he would just wait patiently for me to get back on. Or in most cases, throw the lead rope over my shoulder and walk him home.

Little Joe’s speed was unmatched. It was the first time I learned a person could fly without leaving the ground. He made me brave.

Not that he didn’t knock me on my ass every now and again.

No love is perfect and all love takes a little work.

I had to learn that he wasn’t a toy and he simply wasn’t going to bend to my every whim. And I had to learn to stand my ground. Occasionally we both needed to compromise.

But as first love goes, he was the best example and I compared every horse to him.

As I grew and changed, so did my horses. Each horse taught me something I didn’t know before. Some taught me its better to go slow and be on the look out for danger, one taught me that speed is a gift that you should never take for granted, and one taught me that no matter how badly you want to be a wild it’s okay to be tame.

And each one left me a better than I was before.

I think that’s all anyone can ask for at the end of the day. Leave every one a little better than when you found them.

Love.

Decide.

When I was three years old I decided I wanted to go for a walk. My mom was too pregnant with my sissy to chase me and I was too fast. Screen doors were no match for my three year old self. I just decided. I didn’t ask. I just decided. I found my legs.

I was fearless and brave. I was fast. Running to me was as easy as breathing. I didn’t think about it. I just decided.

I liked I was fast. I liked that I was faster than most everyone I came up against. But with most things in life, you can’t be number one with out a crowd trying to knock you down a peg or two.

Because I was fast, I got made fun of for everything from being a girl who could run faster than the fastest boy in my grade to how I wore my shorts. Yes. How I wore my shorts. Weird what 11 year old me remembers.

As I my speed improved, the doubts of my talent began to creep in. I could run, that was my super hero talent, but did I deserve to win.

I had to decide. Every single race. I had to decide. Did I deserve this win? And you know what, every single time I ran I didn’t think about it. I didn’t ask if I deserved it, I just decided.

Except.

Except when I didn’t.

Except when I would shrink back.

I wouldn’t run my race. I’d be running someone else’s race. I would be thinking too hard about how I should be. Not how I am. My legs are longer. My gate is longer. It’s not short. It doesn’t look like one of those cartoon animals legs when I ran. But some how I was just as fast. Some how I was faster.

That’s the moment. That’s the moment I realized I needed to decide.

I had to decide to not shrink back.

I had to decide to run my own race. And once I decided that I was faster. Once I decided that I was the only one who could beat back all the “excepts” in my head. I was the only who could decide and the excepts got quieter and smaller.

Decide. Decide you are faster than the excepts in your head.

Everything in life is going to try to hold you back. No one is going to want to see you win as badly as you need to see you win. You need to know that from the moment that starter pistol goes off. The wind is going to be blowing against you some days. Your shoes are going to rub and give you blisters. Some races will make you cry or pee your pants.

But man, when it all comes together. When that sun is shining and the wind is at your back, and when your shoes fit just right it all comes back. You decide.

You decide that every single day is going to be your best race day. Even on the days you cry.

Because this is your dream. This your life. This is your race and only you can run it.

Decide.

Up.

Flying always tends to give me anxiety. Today I’m in a little Cessna. I am told they are the safest planes. Durable. Reliable. Problem is it’s winter. That means cold and clouds and flying into all of that. I can barely see terra-firma out my window.

Let’s not get into the lack of leg space I have at this moment. I have long legs. Let’s just say, one bad bout of turbulence, me and the co-pilot could get real personal.

The bouncing around, loud noises, and well, trusting these two men to hurl me through time and space is too much for my brain.

I have found when any situation gets too much; I shut down. I stop talking. I stop responding. My response to any type of confrontation has taken some work on my part.

Excited I turn into a babbling, loud, happy fool. I don’t understand why everyone around me isn’t as excited about the situation as I am.

Being upset causes a different response.

I get overwhelmed and my brain says okay, we are gonna need your to calm down here so let’s just reboot. At least that’s what I think my brain does because I immediately want to sleep. Or not sleep and just cry.

Or I get mad. I get irrationally upset over a little situation that isn’t going as planned. I do the freak out. I have to take a minute and say okay this isn’t so bad it’s going to be okay.

Because nothing isn’t so bad I can’t get through it.

Like this ride in this little air craft.

I don’t know how to stress this enough: I can’t see the horizon. I can’t even see a carrier pigeon. Or a hawk. What flies up here? Oh yeah. Me. In a small plane.

I’m getting to my point of this little tangent. I really am. As in most things in life, I get a little side tracked. I get distracted by too many details. The things I feel I need to control but can’t.

I have no idea how to fly a plane or to read the instrument panel the pilot keeps watching. That out of control feeling? Yeah. That’s the one I hate.

I can’t control the plane. I have to trust the pilots know how to get me there safely.

I have to let go in order to fly.

See what I did there? I just taught us both something.

In the great scheme of life we all want to hold on with both hands. That’s not how you learn or grow.

That’s just the anxiety talking.

Not one thing in my life has ever gone according to plan. My plan. Did I have one? I had a rough outline.

The best thing I have ever done for myself is to let go and trust the process. Instead of staying on the ground in fear, I keep looking for the horizon.

Mess.

I am going to go back. I am going to back to the beginning. The beginning of my Mess.

We’re friends now right? I can tell you my story. Well, not all of it.  Just the main points. The details take too long and seem a little one sided.  So let’s start with how I met Mess.

I was given this nick name by a dear friend and out of all the names I have had in my life; this one stuck. I am Mess. I embrace this name. It describes me in a various states.  I’m called this more often than my given name. I respond to it because if you call me by Mess it means you know me. You’ve seen me in my Mess.

Ten years ago, my Mess was lost, lonely and confused. Mess was trying to be a good wife, a good mom and please everyone. PLEASE EVERYONE. It didn’t work.  It never does. The trying to make everyone happy.  I was in a fog. I had no idea who she was or what color I liked.

I would say “I’m sorry” for things I didn’t do and then apologize for apologizing.

Feeling like a I was a burden, feeling like I too much. Being hurt. It all made me guarded. It slowed me down in life. It felt like I was dragging something behind me all the time. What I was carrying was the weight of how someone else made me feel. I took it all on. I felt I had no choice because maybe if I was….or if I had only did…

Now like most instants like this, this isn’t unique. It’s just part of a story that carries us forward; not without side kicks that stand with me.

Helpers. They see you. They saw me. They called me to see my truth.

Sometimes they arrive carrying whiskey and cigars.

In my Mess I  was told this:
“You need to put down that cross. It is not yours to carry. That one is hard and doesn’t move or bend. Your cross is flexible. It moves. It shifts. It bends. That one is yours.”

Mess stood up. She stood the fuck up and she looked at me. She looked at me and said “okay that’s enough. I’m gonna need you to step up now.”

I embraced Mess. She embraced me. She was always with me. I just had pushed her down. That part of me that is brave and fierce.  We merged. We put down what wasn’t ours to carry and moved forward.

There is a freedom that comes with finally not giving a shit. When you finally start to like yourself. No, love yourself. I am this imperfectly perfect human and I embrace my Mess.

We all have moments where we feel helpless. We feel like we must  do whatever it takes to keep the peace. 

That feeling in your gut. If it feels off and you can’t quite put your finger on it. That’s your sign.  That’s the sign you aren’t being true to you. You’re the sock in the dryer that keeps going around and around.

Now Mess and me? We’re a different character. I no longer shrink back. Every time I step forward into who I am; I stand a little taller. Every time I walk away from something that isn’t serving me; I smile.

This Mess. This Mess has now become my Message.

Lean.

Lend me your hand. Take my hand. Give me your hand.

I have said these phrases.

I have leaned in and taken someone’s hand when I needed guidance. I have offered my hand in guidance.

The hardest part is taking someone’s offered hand. It’s easier for most of us to say, “I will help you.”

Not the “I need help.”

I’ve become so independent that I have found myself so completely wore out from helping, listening and doing for others that I just have days I’m so overwhelmed; I sit and cry in my pick up. Yes, I cry in my pick up. The bathroom gets cold, I can still listen to the radio and the seat warmer is still on.

I’ve been working on my boundaries. No really. Turning off my phone by 9 pm. Getting off social media. I think that is the extent of it. It’s a work in progress.

Okay so I am a helper. I want to help you. I want you to feel better, to succeed, and to be more you than you’ve ever been!

However I’m a single mom.

But I’m not.

I have a family that is always there. I just have to ask. I have a friends that say to me “Here’s my hand, let me help.” And I do have a man who constantly reminds me I’m not really alone.

I want to say yes.

I want to lean in.

I start. Then I stop.

What’s the worst thing that could happen by letting someone help? My village would only get bigger. I wouldn’t be sitting in my pick up crying because I had to go to the grocery store. It’s a thing okay!

Learning to accept help and lean in is something we could all do more. It’s how families survived. It’s how for generations women gathered in a circle and gained advice from how to stop letting that boy walk on you or how to get your kids to stop peeing outside on a tree. And men gathered in the garage and did whatever it is they do in there ( probably circling back to the peeing on a tree thing). It’s people leaning in. Giving a hand. Lending a hand.

Now we have communities built on social media that do the same thing.

If you lean in. If you decide to take someone’s hand that says, “Hey, I can help.”

Stop being so judgey. Stop looking at someone doing more and judging her for doing it. Try asking for a hand. Try extending your hand.

So…..

Here take my hand. Yes, I’ll take your hand too. It’s always better when we lean in together.

Believe.

You know that old saying. If you can believe in Santa Claus, you can believe in yourself for five minutes? I do believe in Santa Claus (explain to me where my Rubric Cube I got when I was 10 came from? Clever little elves. I peeled the stickers off too. Check. Mate.) and I have one person who believes in me.

Just one.

Well that’s not true is it. When you stop to think about how foolish that line of thinking really is… just one? Come now and take a walk with me. Get off your bed and wipe your eyes and stop with “but but I have nobody!”

Come on. I said we were walking. Leave bread crumbs because I tend to get off the trail….okay look. The funny thing about that line of thinking when you’re in it..whatever it is…is that no one can possibly understand. You’re all alone. You’re not. No really. You’re not. Stop and look around. I can name five people off the top of my head that believe in me…what? Family doesn’t count? Hmmm okay I can still get to five. I can still point to five people who looked at me and said “Get up.” Just like that. And they repeated “Get up.” In various forms of whispers until they knew I was ready for yelling part. And when the yelling part happened that’s when they turned me around and I faced myself and I said “Get up.” And I got up. Even if I had to drag myself into that belief that I could get up. They knew I needed one more person to believe. They needed me to believe in me as much as they believed in me. I got up.

Look around because someone needs you to start to whisper ” I believe in you. Get up.”

The little Engine that thought she could…

I’ve tried my luck at blogging before. It never stuck. Never felt honest or that I had a passion for it. This time is different, she shouts with her finger in the air!

I write all the time. Thinking of things to say on my IG postings. Thinking of posts for my FB Page…ahem if you would like to check that out…https://www.facebook.com/hashtagmess/

Thank you….now where was I? Oh yes…

I thought I needed a little more space to get all the words out.

I’ve gone through some growing pains in the past year or five. This year I turned 45. Gasp. I started to take stock of my world. It was time to stop sitting on so much life and start to really invest and live with INTENT.

My intent is this will be my little space to share my vast knowledge of yes you cans and maybes.

After all being 45 has its perks.