A Letter to an Impolite Cowboy

by Jo on July 10, 2014

Dear Impolite Cowboy:

I saw you on the track this morning, wearing your giant hat, walking your tiny dog, sweating through your wrinkled flannel, and I thought nothing of you; just another passerby, enjoying the same space, the same sun, as humans often do.

I jogged towards you, my favorite song pulsating in my ears, my shins sore, my skin hot, my gait slower than some, but I didn’t care because this is where I’m learning to leave it, to pound it out on the pavement, to free myself from fear and give away the guilt and embrace the pain because it’s the good kind and not the kind that threatens to unravel me from the inside out. This is where I’m learning to let go and I don’t care if I go slow.

I felt your eyes before I saw them, and when I finally met your gaze, you were looking at me, past me, through me, reducing me to the rolls beneath my breasts, the extra skin along my arms, the awkward tilt of my hips and before I could pass you, I saw you shake your head and announce loud and clear:

“That’s gonna take a lifetime.”

I made sure I was far enough away that you couldn’t see me anymore before I let my shoulders heave, before I let your words shove their way inside, sink in and saturate me, before I reduced myself to nothing more than the ugliness of a perfect stranger.

“That’s gonna take a lifetime.”

I knew what you meant and even my cells felt fat and unworthy; this big body of mine, the one I’ve used and abused, whether with booze or Nutella, would take a lifetime to “fix” and make acceptable in your piercing, judgmental eyes.

And then I thought of all the things worth the effort of a lifetime:

Loving my husband

Raising my children

Staying sober

Advocating for individuals with special needs

Forgiveness

Acceptance

Finding peace with mortality

Faith

and

ME.

You’re right. It IS going to take me a lifetime.  A lifetime of hits and misses, a lifetime of outsmarting the excuses that seem to linger alongside my good intentions, a lifetime of convincing myself otherwise whenever I want to give up because the voice in my head is no kinder than yours.

But I can’t think of a better way to invest my lifetime than on myself.

It only took a few seconds before I realized you didn’t have the power to make me cower unless I gave it to you, and so I straightned this imperfect body of mine, turned my music up, put my anthem on repeat, and ran, purging your words and crushing them beneath my feet.

I’m gonna remember you for a long time, but not in the way you might think.

I’m gonna remember the day some jackass in an oversized hat tried to tear me down and it only took a moment for me to realize that I didn’t need to give a shit. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s some serious progress right there.

The kind that often takes a lifetime to achieve.

Which makes me think I can’t wait to see what I accomplish next.

Sincerely,

The chick wearing spandex because it’s a free country, who blew past you and made you eat her dust (and can’t wait to do it again tomorrow).

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mare July 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm

amen amen amen amen!

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alida lane July 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Cuz even idiots wear cowboy hats!

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Kim July 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Awesome !! I recently quit smoking , as in 17 days, 7hours, 42 seconds. I smoked a carton a week, well anyway last week I think I ate my way through my house, truck and snack drawer at work. I’m already a “Big Girl” so I was like damn , I’m gonna have to walk to work , 25miles one way . Anyway I was at Wawa getting my coffee, and this woman said oh I like your perfume, you smell nice. I said Oh thank you and smiled, and the guy next to her said yeah this girl here has been smelling good for about a week, she quit smoking, she’s doing a good job ! and he smiled and winked at me. Have no clue who he was, cept now I recognize him in the morning and we say Hi. AND my confidence level sky rocketed ! ( my mom said that’s kinda creepy , he’s smelling you, Shut up Mom !! ) So for the jackass cowboy , screw him !! hope you meet someone else nicer every day !! Anyone that would say that out loud to another human being has very low self esteem and does that to make himself feel better. Jog by him tomorrow and eyeball his package, as your jogging away say WOW SO SMALL ! :)

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Christine July 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Go get them, girl! As a mom, grandma and autism therapist, I felt every word of this! Love & hugs ♡

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karla July 11, 2014 at 1:09 am

Love your strong words!!! I need to take note and learn from you :) screw that jack ass and rock on girl!!!

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