The brass ring

Spent the better part of today dealing with mice and maggots.  Tomorrow I’m off to the ditch for the week.  Right now I have this to share.

We hear what we want to hear; read what we want to read.

Read between lines.  Really listen.  There’s more to it than you think.  It’s deeper.  Not as shallow.  Not if you take off your blinders and are willing to take in the truth.

Listen to the rain on the roof and dive into the place where you are.  In you car commuting to work.  In your trailer on a week’s adventure.  Home.  Same rain, same sound on all these different metal roofs.  Listen; really listen.  Such a sweet sound, no matter where you’re coming from.  The point is, be where you are.  And if you want to be somewhere else, change it. Do something about it.  Dream, and go for it.  Dreams are for creating reality, not hell.  Figure it out.  If it matters that much to you, risk it.

But don’t whine.  That will bring you nowhere but farther from the dream.

I wrote a reader a letter a few days ago.  A response to her upset, trying to cheer her up.  She took from it what she expected to read, deleted it, and asked me to resend.  Why on earth would I do that when she didn’t really read it the first time?

Don’t ask a question if you don’t want to hear the truth of response.  How many of us are guilty as charged?  My hand has been raised from time to time.

So here’s what it comes down to.


And the excuse of money in place of balls.

Pardon me for being so blunt, but the truth can hurt, and I’m tired of being hurt because you don’t want to hear my truth.  Don’t want to hear it?  Then don’t ask.  Delete my messages and don’t ask me to resend.  Otherwise, here I am, letting it all hang out, with nothing to hide.

Here is my truth.

Money has nothing to with it.  In fact, wake up and smell the coffee (yes, the cheap kind, as even Folgers is a splurge for me).

Those who know me know how important money is to me, what a driving force it is for me, and how much I have had.  And the answer to all is NONE.  Yet I still hear quite regularly, “Gosh, you’re so lucky and live the life I wish I could.”

So I ask you this:  Why don’t you?  You’re the one with a college degree, a stable job, car or truck, health insurance for you and your kids, some sense of financial security and/or at least a plan on paying your way through the next nine months.  Good for you.  I don’t have any of those things.  But that does not stop me.

Those who know me know.  Money has not enabled me to do what I do, be where I am, live the life I have chosen.  Quite the contrary.  It’s my lack of money and my refusal to allow money to hold any level of importance.  Yes, I’m the most impractical person I know when it comes to money.  I have no stability and security.  The bottom line is this:  I have none, never have, and it’s never stopped me from doing/being what I want.

Check out my story.  A condensed version.

So there I was, in New York City, where I wandered around holding down odd jobs from receptionist to bartender sleeping in an odd assortment of slum apartments until I found a way to get a full scholarship to art school in New Mexico.  A crazy move which had nothing to do with luck or talent but far more to do with hard work as I woke up at 3 or 4 am to put together a portfolio of work all winter long before my 9-5 job, and doing a drive-away driving someone else’s sports car from Jersey to San Jose only weeks after getting my driver’s license because I couldn’t figure out any other affordable way to drive cross country.

Worked my way through school earning minimum wage doing simple wood work while living in the parking lot of college in a 25 year old Dodge Dart and later upgraded to an equally old Volkswagen microbus.  I dropped out of college to be a self supporting single mom.  Moved around a dozen times and took more odd jobs to feed and house (including a couple ones self built and without plumbing or power) my self and son.

Finally found (and this part could be called luck) an awesome position being the caretaker of a remote kids camp in some beautiful mountains with horses, cows, chickens and pigs.  I could call it all mine, treated it as such, but none of it was.  Didn’t matter to me.  Stayed there six years, during which time I started to hear that I was one lucky lady and living the life.  I felt I was. I owned nothing but the clothes on my back, not even a vehicle for several years, but gave them my all and got to live in “paradise.” When said paradise turned a bit south, I took a crazy risk and moved to Colorado with only enough money to pay for the trip, a kid, dogs, cats and bunch of baggage stuffed into a room between two creepy guys I was supposed to work for.  I quit, willing to be homeless and hungry instead if need be, but met this guy named Bob who needed a wrangler for the summer.  This part I guess is luck too.  Meeting the “right” person is not easy.  It took me until I was 36; Bob was 45.  It was worth the wait.

The rest is history.  Prince Charming and Cinderella?  Hardly.  Above and beyond dealing with cleaning up after tourists and burying foals and trying to keep hands and house warm through six months of sub zero temps, we’ve had to deal with the most horrible and horrendous family crap you can imagine and legal battles just to keep our home and business, all of which got us hundreds of thousands of dollars deep in debt.

That’s where we are now, only we quit our job which wasn’t paying the interest anyway and we’re figuring out the next dream to start building on.

I’m not complaining.  It’s important you know that.  In fact, I’m pretty darned proud of all this.

What I want to do in telling this story is prove a point.  Figure it out.  It’s never been about money.  Not stopping me.  Not enabling me.  I’m motivated by my dreams and willing to take some crazy risks.

Stop playing it safe. That’s definitely something I have not done.  For better or for worse, I don’t know, but I’m not the one clinging to safety and security and wishing I was somewhere else.  I’m trying it, living it.  Broke, every day deeper in debt in seems, but giving it a shot and enjoy the adventure along the way.

Stop using your lack of money as an excuse.  I bet you have more than me.  I bet you always have.  But you’re there and I’m here.  So, what’s your real excuse?

There is no brass ring waiting for you to grab and get the dream come true.  You gotta get out there, mine the metal, weld the ring, and hang in front of yourself like a carrot before the horse’s nose.  You gotta walk away from the safe and simple and fall on your face time and time and time again.

Remember the advice my vet gave me after I lost another foal?  “Only those who have, lose.”  Be willing to lose.  You’ll never really gain if not willing to let go.  Leap!  And the net appears.  Only some times it doesn’t.  So dust yourself off, and get back to the drawing board.  Only make sure the picture you’re drawing is really, really magnificent.

Yes, I remind myself this too as I sit before the drawing board once again, skinned knees and all.

6 thoughts on “The brass ring

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. We each have our own paths, but we must know that being “in want” is a state of mind, not a state of the pocketbook. I like how you have lived to strive for quality of life rather than quantity.

  2. Your story sounds some what like me . With a father spending most of his life in a VA hospital we all had to help with keeping a place to live .We picked crops in the summer for school clothes . No work no clothes .I pumped gas after school and in the summer starting at about 13 .Then it was the long hitch hike and walk to get back home to the ranch . All my wages went into the family fund .After I was married I was always able to find work .A lot of it was jobs no one else wanted at minimum wage . But we eat and had a room .Some times no car .Just a bike to get to work on .Now looking back it may have been the right way .I learned to do a lot of things and now I am retired I make a little extra money doing odd jobs .From restoring old furnature to making knives to painting houses to lawn work .There is very few kinds of work I can not do with my hands but nothing high teck .So the moral to the story is “Never be ashsmed of what you had to do to servive “.and if you can pass some of your knowledge on to some one do so .Never feel bad if they dont want to exept it .You have done the best you could .Years ago when I was at the hardest time in my life you wrote “A Poem For Don ” that let me know someone out there cared .It is very special to me and will be with me for the rest of my life .So dont give up .You do help people sometimes a lot more than you will ever know .
    Your Special Friend Don

  3. Thank you Gin for sharing and in the reminder of being able to achieve our dreams if we are really wanting it bad enough to take the risks. Love ya, Bobbie

  4. Generous. That is what I think of when I read this post. You have such a generous, nurturing sense of inspiring writing. Others used the word ‘share.’

  5. The more I hear about you, Gin, the more respect I have. Most of us would have quit for an easier life part-way along that hard road. Yes, it’s easier to become an armchair philosopher with a job to pay the bills and provide insurance. I’ve swapped the wild places for a comfortable job: call that surrender if you will. I’m just glad to escape the need to self-medicate with opiates to control back pain in order to ride all day every day. However I wonder how anyone who writes from a place of ease could match your raw authenticity. Only getting hurt is not the sole measure of progress through life. Yes, nothing ventured means nothing gained. But isn’t danger a risk rather than an objective? No hero survives unscathed, however the warrior bearing the most wounds is not necessarily the greatest.

    Gin, you speak a special language forged through a hard life courageously lived. Don’t blame beyond the measure of their culpability those who don’t comprehend the nuances of your dialect. There comes a point where those who have trodden wild trails seem to speak in riddles to mere domesticated folk. One becomes a voice calling from the wilderness. Such voices always have been an acquired taste, speaking to those with ears to hear.

Thank you for your interest in Gin's writing.

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