By Erin Barrett
Life is a road with many twist, turns and forks. It is about how you perceive your obstacles in life that can make or break you.
Grab life by its horns and don’t let go is my philosophy and my way overcome the road blocks and keep moving on.
In any rodeo the cowboy faces the deadliest challenges of his life. He gets up on top of the bull that could injure, paralyze or even kill him. The cowboy still climbs on top of it, knowing that he could die and hangs on to dear life for as long as possible. With determination and perseverance he doesn’t let go, no matter how many times the bull bucks to throw him off.
You are the cowboy or cowgirl, the bull is your life. Although it can be intimidating and scary you have to be strong and take control.
When I was a child I had to transfer to a public school, after four years of feeling safe being with kids like me. It was scary, I didn’t belong with the “normal” kids in my school. They made sure that I knew that I never belonged there.
In Junior High I was the outcast. The boys called me names like “ugly” and “retarded”. Making unwanted sexual advances at me. It got so bad that I hid in the copy room until the next bell. Not a single soul came to help me, I was by myself. I tried my hardest to kick him and fight him off.
The sexual harassment continued through out high school. During my senior year I wanted to prove the boys wrong. I prepared a speech, one with meaning and practiced it every day until it was time. On the day of graduation, it was cloudy and it was my turn to speak. When I walked up on the podium, not one but two rainbows appeared above me. I made it in the newspaper and inspired moms giving them hope.
I could have given up but I didn’t. I survived 6 years of depression through poetry and hypnosis. I do believe through the obstacles we face, we get stronger. Through the pain and hurt there is light at the end of the tunnel, you can’t give up.
My freshman year in college, guys would call me and say things like “he wants to fuck me against the wall.” Got so bad that I had to file a complaint. I tried to fit in sororities but I didn’t belong there, so I had a bunch of guy friends I hanged out with. We would watch vampire movies and go karting. One of them had a crush on me and proposed to me Even though I had a blast with them, I still felt like I didn’t belong there. I would take long walks around the campus, I would even get the nerve to get hit by a car.
I was working on an autobiography about myself and as I was writing, I met a black man. He read my story and invited me to his place. That was the first time I kissed a black man. He asked me how old I wanted to be to get married. He also told me his dream was to defeat George Foreman. One day he was coming back from a boxing match and told me he had something for me. All I could think was “Oh no what if he wants to propose to me” “ what if it’s a ring?” Luckily it was just a t-shirt.
When I turned in my autobiography into the teacher. She wanted to share it with the class. As she read it, the entire class became dead silent.
Although there were awful times at the college, there were also some memorable ones. I met a guy who could take my breath away and move me like no other. I had my first angelic experience which will always be a mystery.
My life got a little better for a while then I met my husband on an online dating website. Back then it was considered to be dangerous and unsafe. Out of desperation and worried about dying by myself, I married him. It wasn’t love at first site but I grew to love him. With him I’ve been through 2 miscarriages and 2 C-sections. We have 2 beautiful girls now ages 10 and 13.
Of course like most marriages we had financial troubles but it wasn’t until Labor Day weekend in 2017 my world came crashing down around me. The police searched our house, trashing it like a tornado came through the house. Children Services took my kids away and the house was condemned for 2 weeks. We spent 2 weeks at a hotel.
Through this experience it has empowered me. I could wallow in my self-pity or rise up to the challenge and take the bull by its horns. So instead of moping around all day every day after work I would go back to the house and clean. I turned on my motivational music and cleaned the house from top to bottom. When I was done cleaning, I painted the entire house. I wanted to show children services that I can do this and that I am not giving up.
I followed my gut instinct, I got a part time job and set up my own checking account. It is a good thing because on May 18 2018 my husband got arrested. I lost his income to help me with the bills, my part time job saved me from losing the house. Now I am in the beginning stages of divorcing him.
Since I am separated, I am freer and have a strong hold on my life. Better control of my finances and a clearer sense of myself. I did not let myself get bogged down with pity and depression. I used all the emotions running in my veins to empower me to keep moving.
I taught myself how to cook, how to cut the grass. All the tasks I relied on him to do. I kept my head up high and kept moving forward.
I am not angry with God or even with my ex. I looked uncertainty and doubt in the eyes and said give me your best shot.
In order to move past the pain and hurt you need to visualize your future and find your strength. Get a new perspective in your life and stay positive.
If I let my bull get the better of me I will have never seen the bigger picture. I chose to move forward and take it head on, leaving my fear and doubt behind. I chose to see my life in a positive light.
There is good everywhere sometimes its difficult to find. I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason.
Whether you lost a love one or lost a job and life has you down. There is a cowboy inside us, you may need to dig deep within you to find him but he is there.
When things are at your lowest, find one thing that inspires you and motivates you. For me it was my kids that keep me going. Turn that sorrow and pain into your strength and grab your bull by its horns and take charge.
As a person once told me when one door closes another one opens. Be your own champion, find your strength, grab hold and don’t let go. It might be hard and it may hurt at times but you just need to keep moving forward never looking back.
I promise one day when you find your peace and happiness you will look back at all your pain and heart ache and know deep in your heart that you survived and got stronger from the experience.
You will soon realize who you really are. All the pieces to your journey in your life will fit like a gigantic puzzle. You will be able to see the big picture.
It is in our human nature to take the easy way out instead of taking the road less traveled. It takes one moment in our life to impact us for the rest of our lives. Life is too short to not rise above the obstacles and challenges that come across our path.
Don’t let that bull scare you. Don’t let it control you and turn you into someone that you are not. We all face pain, we all hold onto the hurt and scars but it’s those who persevere and rise to the challenge that become champions.
With each heartache you come across and downfall you have, it will make you a stronger person in the long run. You have to rise above the occasion and persevere. There is light at the end of the tunnel. In order to reach it you must keep going and never give up.
That cowboy inside you wants to conquer the bull and live in history for the longest ride. It might be scary and it might think he has the best of you but it doesn’t. Not if you don’t let it get to you. You have to believe you can do it. Nothing is impossible if you have courage to take charge.
Take charge of your life, find strength to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way. Grab life by its horns and don’t let go no matter what.
Erin Barrett is a poet and essayist who believes in the power of language. She lives in Cincinnati Ohio where she is the mother of 12 and 15 year old girls. Erin has a bachelors degree in management and currently work as a medical assistant with cancer patients full time.
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