Thursday, June 1, 2017

Letting Go Of Curly's Tail

When I was a teenager my parents decided to move from the bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area to a tiny rural town in Oregon. Having no previous traditional farming experience, my step dad thought it would be cool to lay down cash for 55 acres of undeveloped land.

This all occurred over the course of a weekend.

It was awesome.

No, it wasn't.

And because my step dad didn't want to hire out the work to develop it, the majority of the labor fell to himself, my mother and yours truly.

I was expected to have the strength of Serena Williams and because of that I grew very stubborn. I wanted to prove my ability. I wanted favor in the sight of my step father and the only way I could achieve that was to work my butt off.  Sometimes that still wasn't enough.

Eventually he bought some cows to help as a tax write off and keep the fields grazed. In reality, there were just pets which of course, I loved.

We had a young heifer named Curly and she decided it would be cool to try and break through a weak spot in the fencing. The idea of this terrified me because I was worried she would never come back. As she headed towards imminent fence breakage, I grabbed her tail in an effort to catch her.  She was undeterred. She took off even faster and in my stubbornness, I refused to let go. What followed was perfect fodder for a YouTube video as I was drug across the pasture on my stomach by this wayward cow.

Even in the midst of my field sledding I felt if the cow got out, I would be responsible for it and therefore guilt was already sinking its claws into my vulnerable soul.

By the time it was all over I was seriously beaten up. And while she didn't get out, I had only made the situation worse by not letting go. Because let's face it, who really likes having their tail grabbed?

My stubbornness has continued to get me in trouble over the years because I still feel guilt if I don't see something through, even if it is making me miserable in the process. I have intense fear of disappointing others.

And while I admire my tenacity at times, is it really worth it? Is it really worth to make myself and those around me miserable?

Its been 27 years since my cow incident and I still can't seem to let go of Curly's tail.

So I'm taking a leap of faith and replacing "I have to" with "I'm choosing to".

Its scary for me because of the unknowns and fear of making a mistake but sometimes the scariest risks ends up being the best.

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