I'll Always be a Cowgirl

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This past weekend, I went home for the county fair. Now, for those of you not familiar with small town life in the West, the county fair surpasses many an American holiday. I'd rather miss Thanksgiving than the fair.

With my all of my immediate family members, I moved toward the stands covered in peeling white paint--paint I had helped put there years ago. I smile as I remember my 4-H friends and I slapping each other with white, laughing when we realized the paint was oil based. The smell of gasoline as we worked it from our skin.

I sat down to more memories--memories as familiar to me as the smells of my children and as distant as my first romance. The smell of horse sweat. Dust in my mouth. The feeling of 1,000 pounds of muscle tensed and ready to run beneath me. The pride I have for my horse; a horse that I'd trained myself.

I remember the heartache of losses, the thrill of the win. Chasing cowboys wearing tight wranglers, callouses on their hands.

And now it's all gone for me. Sometimes, like when I go to the fair, I miss it so much my chest aches and tears sting my eyes. And I'm beginning to realize that I may never have it back. It may be gone forever. And I may miss it forever.

And I'm beginning to realize rodeo will not be the only passing passion I have in my life. I still love the textured feel of a basketball in my hand, the snap of the hoop when the ball fits perfectly. But my body will not always willingly run the court.

The feel of my baby daughter in my arms, so tiny that she seems made to fit in the contours of my body. Her breath against my neck as she sighs her sleeping baby sighs.

So now I'm determined to enjoy my stage of life now. The kids running around, begging me to play swords with them and read them a story. My husband, singing off key to Don't Worry, Be Happy as he cooks in the kitchen. My friends and I playing ball on Saturday mornings.

I will write. But I will not give up NOW. I will not miss these memories. Because I'm beginning to understand that I will never get them back.

In case you have any doubts, yes, that's me during my Junior year of high school. I was one of the top Cowgirls in my state. I have over 30 belt buckles to prove it.


  1. Cassidy said...:

    Hey Amber,
    I just found your blog today and I am so excited! I know exactly how you feel. Reading this post I just sat and shook my head...and had a tiny tear myself. I guess it's true what they say, you can never go home. I wouldn't change my life now for anything, but I sometimes long for those cool carefree summer nights.
    Thanks for writing just what I feel.

  1. Not for nothing (*New York saying*), but you should use those memories in your writing. They're very definite and seem very strong. Even writing fantasy you may well be able to translate them. At any rate, I wouldn't let them go to waste.
    This post also reminded me of how when I go back to my hometown I always feel kind of lost because parts of it are very similar to the way it was when I grew up and parts of it have completely changed. I always feel disoriented because everything is so familiar and unfamiliar.

  1. Cassidy: I'm so glad you found me. I loved your statement, "You can never go home." I've thought about it a lot. I think, "You can never go back," makes me feel a little better. My mom has always said I can come home. It will always be my home. But I can never really go back to it. Because, in a very real sense, it's gone.

    Laura: I try to use them when I write about horses. One of my character's horses is even names after my own, Knight. I love your description of being disoriented. That's exactly how I feel. Like seeing a car with square wheels.

  1. I love this blog post. I've never been a cowgirl, but I've reached the realization that I can't waste the moment.

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