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Cowgirls, Xena, & Roller Derby Queens

Okay, women, whatcha got? How in touch with your inner bad-assness are you? I grew up in Texas, and although I never owned a horse, I learned to ride with the best of them. I was a "tomboy" growing up, 'cause there was a freedom in that mindset that being "girly" didn't afford. You could DO more. You could think and feel more freely. I even used to hide my hair inside a baseball cap sometimes when I was out riding my bike, delighting that I might fool someone into thinking I was a boy. But as I got older, just passing as a boy was not enough. I wanted that freedom as a girl.

I believe that "cowgirl" is more than a vocation, it's a wild, rugged spirit that's hard, if not impossible, to contain. There's more to it than riding a horse, or herding cattle; although those can be very pleasurable pursuits. Being a cowgirl in spirit takes you out of yourself, out of "traditional" societal roles and expectations, and gives you back some of the freedom that your soul craves.

Speaking of strong women on horses: I fell in love with the character Xena as soon as I began to watch the show back in the nineties. (And, of course, I now own all six seasons of the show, plus the "Hercules" trilogy that started it all.) She is strong, passionate, free-thinking, independent, fiercely loyal, compassionate, champion of the greater good, and of course, looks amazing in leather. This was a new hero that many of us grasped immediately, and thousands of women still feel a passionate identification with this character, with new fans forming every day. Y'all TBD old-timers already know how I feel about Xena.

Which brings us to my newest pursuit, which is not only a (mostly) healthy athletic outlet, but it challenges me, and brings me out of myself even more. My 18-year-old daughters and I joined our local roller derby team back in September. It's something we've always wanted to try, and when we met these wonderful gals at a local street festival last summer, I knew it was time. It's April, and we're still at it, working hard. Although I'm slow to gain skills, speed and power, it's happening, and my attitude and confidence in other areas of my life have improved as well. Plus, these ladies are very supportive and a lot of fun! Yeah, sometimes I think I might be a little old for this; but then I experience lots of little victories, and realize what I can really do, and that age number mostly goes out the window.

So, ladies, whatcha got? Think about it if you need to, 'cause I'm sure you've got a lot more goin' on than you realize.

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Tags: Cowgirls, Derby, Roller, Xena


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Comment by Dee Holland Eidson on May 5, 2014 at 10:01pm

Very interesting Cowgirl. I enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you for sharing with us.

Comment by Baia on April 15, 2014 at 8:43pm

Way to go, Xenalu!  See, you have already inspired Joella.  And me, too.

Comment by Aggie on April 15, 2014 at 4:34pm

I have never been to a roller derby, but I have been to a Dairy Queen.

Comment by Joella on April 14, 2014 at 11:14am

I perked right up when I read this Cowgirllu. I only wanted to do things as a girl that made me feel freedom. I had a tree that I considered to be MY tree. I climbed up as far as I could climb and after looking and seeing from that height, I settled in for some long, tall thinking. I don't remember ever thinking about things I wanted; only things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go. I used to ride my bike for hours, just feeling that sensation of moving and being on my own.

I congratulate you and your daughters for being roller derby badasses together! It sounds like a blast. I hope you will post some videos of you and your daughters in action.

I learned to ride horses when I was about nine after convincing myself I wasn't hurting the horse. I loved it! We never owned horses, but most of our neighbors had them. One neighbor in particular was happy to let me ride because I did a few little odd jobs in exchange. Gardening chores mostly which also had its perks.

I'm sorry to say I never watched Xena, but that is easily remedied. I have Roku which allows me to check out all the good shows I missed. Xena was on during my working years and I didn't follow TV due to too much to get done all the time. This past year I've watched more TV than I have in my whole life. One of the shows I got hooked on was Burn Notice. I've heard all the many reasons I "shouldn't" like the show, but I can't help it. The character Fiona Glenanne takes on bad guys, and fights for people--mostly women and children--that can't or don't know how to fight for themselves. She is fearless, strong, and strong willed. Not to mention strong bodied and capable. She cares about what's right and hates what's wrong.

Unfortunately I can't be like her except in my thinking, and standing up against wrongs using my big mouth. I don't have her love of bombs even if she does only use them against really bad guys. But I do get it. She is a warrior against evil. The kind of evil that thankfully most of us will never know in person.

I can no longer climb trees, ride my mouldering bike that I refuse to sell, or roller skate--another joy of childhood. But I can and do use my big mouth and write letters to fight wrongs. I went on the war path against our child and wife abusing neighbor this past summer, surprising myself and working through fear. He's locked up now, hopefully for a long time!

One of the things I love best in this life is finding inspiration. I need it like air. I love being or at least feeling like a badass for good. I have Xena cued up for watching now. Thank you cowgirllu!



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