“I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.” ~ Calamity Jane
With all this recent news of men wanting to be women, and changing their names, and going from adorning the cover of the Wheaties cereal box to Froot Loops, I only felt it necessary to weigh in on this subject from a ranching woman’s perspective. Now, if you are sensitive to these issues, chances are I’ve already offended ya, so don’t bother to keep a readin’. I ain’t here to offend you modern-aged, equal rights kind, because I believe in some of those things too, but part of the cowgirl code is standing up for what you believe in, even if others perceive it to be wrong. So, here goes nothin’…
In all my years growing up as a female in a man’s ranching world, there has been more than one time I wished I had the physical strength of a man. Moments like swinging Big Bertha, the post pounder, into the rocky ground while building a few miles of fenceline, or clearing trail with a crosscut or axe, shoveling snow drifts, and packing mules all test a she-man physically. Ranch women don’t lead the typical urban female life. In this lifestyle, men still physically have the upper-hand. I don’t pretend to have the brut strength to take on a mad bull, or pack out an elk on my back, and ride rough stock for the heck of it.
But there is a place where a woman, if she digs deep enough, has toughness to match her male counterpart. It comes from the grit in her gut. I’m not referring to the grits she ate at breakfast. I’m referring to her mental toughness. A man may call it her crazy-as-a-mama-cow side, but when she taps into that strength, she leaves a man in the dust. When she channels that crazy into productivity, she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s the woman behind the scenes, working long hours, matching a man stride for stride. She’s the cowgirl that found a softer side to that raunchy little bronc that a man wanted to out-stout and muscle his way through. She cooks the meals and balances the books. She juggles kids, schedules, in-laws, outlaws, doctors sick horses, cows, kids, and dogs. She pauses to enjoy the simple morning beauty and refresh her soul, and meets the day head on with a can-do spirit. She’s earned every line, callous, wrinkle, and gray hair, and she doesn’t need a glamorous magazine cover photo to express how brave she is on a daily basis. The bravest and most notorious things she accomplishes often go unnoticed or praised, and she likes it that way. She simply is a legend without the world knowing.
So I tip my hat to the real women out there. We weren’t created by some strange phenomenon or whimsical, magical surgery. We earned every bit of our title, woman, and our place in this world is quietly legendary. So, go ahead and be just that.