Dear Cowgirl, It Gets Better

Your worth isn’t determined by a number on a scale or how many catcalls are collected in a week.

Photo by Ceily Rae Highberger.

Dear Cowgirl,

Letters began flowing in last week. Mothers. Women with stretch-marks who are afraid their worth lies in the smoothness of their skin or the color of their eyebrows.

It breaks my heart. I read the letters while eating bacon and drinking a beer.

It’s my favorite breakfast.

I sift through the letters of older women condemning me for wearing a low-cut shirt one day, then inviting me to their respective church services the next. The next letters are from their husbands. Asking for nude photos they say they will gladly pay for. Publicly, they condemn the low-cut shirt as well. But secretly, they ask for Pay Pal information.

I undo a button, my dogs don’t mind.

As summer approaches, the female crowd grows more concerned. Shelves at the supermarket are filling up with magazines screaming to TONE. FLATTEN. IMPROVE before men in lifeguard shorts appear. I sip my beer, my tummy rolls over, and I adjust my men’s Levis I have rolled up at the ankle. Maybe another piece of bacon.

I write the women back, privately. Telling them how beautiful their bodies are. How their worth isn’t determined by a number on a scale or how many catcalls they collect in a week. They are shaky in their belief, but they listen.

I want to hug them all. To tell them I understand. To tell them it gets better, that it doesn’t matter—but you can only believe when you experience and learn through this tough thing called life.

One day the shell will fall away. They will bend and run and stretch their curves, and their tummy rolls will be the reality of enough to eat. If they are the opposite, with hip bones protruding and “you should eat a burger” ringing in their ears, I tell them how their sharp edges and features like razors are the things dreams are made of.

How they have created wars and celebrations and births and marriages with their bodies.

Fat. Skinny. Chubby. Scared. Funny-looking. Roly-poly. Spotted. Tanned. Pale. Uneven.

Beautiful woman, I love all your edges, all your rolls, all your “imperfections.” I smile as I straighten, my tummy rolls shift into the perfect spot to reach another piece of bacon, and I ask my dog if my button being undone is still okay with his sensibilities. I begin writing back.

Letters. Upon letters.

Adrian “Buckaroogirl” is a 20 something firecracker who is equally at home in the branding pen, ranch bronc or stage, who burst onto the western music scene at just 14 years old.

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