Hi everyone! I just had a birthday, and a special gift that I received from my dad was a little book called, "Cowgirl Smarts...How to Rope a Kick-Ass Life". I was told by my mother that in a rare "together shopping moment", my dad encouraged my mom to "get this book for Julene", which, mostly to shut him up, my mother did! As fate would have it, this little book of course, turned out to be one of my favorite birthday presents. I haven't had the chance yet to sit down with my sweet father and ask him exactly why it occurred to him that his oldest daughter should have a copy of this book, but I am hoping that, and until I can ask him for clarification I will go on assuming that maybe the reason is that he thinks I might have "cowgirl smarts"...of course, the other alternative is that he thinks I might NEED more "cowgirl smarts"!
This little gem of a book is about Life Lessons obtained from cowgirls who tamed the West, and when you think about it, some of those women had to have been pretty tough and potentially gutsy role models for many generations of women to come. My parents and schoolteachers taught me and inspired me from a young age to believe that I could become whatever I wanted to be in life. They inspired in me a sense of self-confidence that was genderless.
So, for years I believed I could easily become anything or anyone I wanted to be, but as I looked toward the top surgical residencies after medical school, and then for Plastic Surgical residencies after General Surgery residency, I realized that in the "real world" of the career I had chosen, there were not hundreds of women who had gone before me. Where were my female role models? I had chosen a career that, throughout most of my training, was not totally devoid of female physician/surgeon role models, but there were few. I then chose a surgical specialty and residency where I was the 11th female Plastic Surgery resident to complete the program. When I finished Plastic Surgery residency, women represented less than 5 % of practicing board-certified plastic surgeons.
Now, I have never been a true feminist in every respect, but I do think, and as I read this little book I came to wish, that all girls everywhere could make decisions like a cowgirl, and set big goals for themselves like a cowgirl. This little book helps women realize, by reading chapter after chapter, how they might aspire in their lives to find their cowgirl spirit and use it to exercise their sense of freedom and independence in their everyday lives, whether it is spent on the golf course, running for a political office or volunteering for the Peace Corps. The little book documents characteristics in cowgirls of the Wild West by telling stories about the lives of true cowgirls. The author has summarized some of these cowgirl characteristics into a set of unwritten rules that cowgirls lived by for over 100 years, and she calls it The Cowgirl Creed. Here it is...
The Cowgirl Creed
1. Dare to be a cowgirl
2. Buck the rules
3. Stay balanced in the saddle
4. Ride the trail of adventure
5. Dream as big as Texas
6. Be tough, but be feminine
7. Attack life like it's a 1000 lb. steer
8. Saddle your own horse
9. Rein in your fears
10. Dress for success - the cowgirl way
11. Ride high in the saddle
12. Ride high, but stay grounded
13. Give others a leg up
14. Always get back on the horse
15. Ride beside your man
16. Recharge your cowgirl spirit
17. Die with your boots on
I hope you find a way to lasso your cowgirl spirit and think outside the ranch! Like a plaque I have in my kitchen reminds me everyday...Here's to a good woman...may we know them...may we be them...may we raise them.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again!