If you had asked me –not even 6 years ago, whether I would ever end up being obsessed with fly-fishing to the point of seeking out adventures anytime I could to fulfill the addiction, I probably would have laughed in your face. I was in a much different place in my life back then. The funny thing is, “back then” really wasn’t all that long ago in the big scheme of things– in life.
I have mentioned this before in past blog posts, but it never fails to be a friendly reminder to myself that I once was more into fashion and going out to clubs, than I ever would have thought I would be into, driving to the nearest river to fly-fish instead. It seems like that part of my life is in a past life far from this one, rather than the reality of less than a decade ago. It’s not a regret. I don’t regret anything I have done in my life. I only have grown and evolved into a better and healthier version of myself, and I only have those past experiences to thank for being able to learn from them.
(To think of all the awesome wild steelhead runs I was missing out on in a time where they were less damaged than they are today…)
Instead, I was trying to become a fashion model and work in corporate retail, all the while, ignoring my true calling to writing and the outdoors. Allowing myself to forget the days when I rode horses and would come home from the barn and write stories about girls who loved to do the same thing… Without realizing it, I was pushing that part of me further and further away… Between the ages of 9 and 12, I had read every book of the Thoroughbred series and had written about 20+ short stories of a different girl and her horses– all left unfinished. When high school came around, sports took over and so did boys. By the time I was in college, the Horse Illustrated magazines eventually got covered by stacks of Vogue and Louis Vuitton catalogues.
(My friend Tessa and I with our retired racehorses, Shaman and Merx– a bad quality photo of a photo, by yours truly)
Finally, in May of 2009, I was blessed with meeting someone who took the time to introduce me to fly-fishing. He eventually became my husband, and I owe the entirety of my life-changing revelation to him.
Once exposed to the outdoors in this new light, I quickly discovered that spending time outside– in particular– fly-fishing, excludes any of the harsh pressures to stay stick thin or keep up on the latest shoe or handbag fashion trends that are the “next best thing” like there is on a runway or on a retail sales floor… Outside– in the woods, on a river or in the mountains, you don’t have people competing to be the top seller or the next “top model” even when that was never your intent to compete. It’s eminent in that type of industry no matter what. I was good at putting on a “blue steel” face, but inside was laughing at how ridiculous I must look. I was the only “model” stationed by the snack table back stage actually eating the stale cheese and crackers, while the other high cheek boned statues would glare at me, probably assuming I would purge it up later. I happily digested the free food and would be the one later seen picking out crumbs from my lip gloss before walking into the flashing lights. I never did anything major in the fashion industry, but I did enough to know that it wasn’t the right path for me.
As a writer, you have the ability to simply collect free-flowing thoughts as you stare at a blank Word document that is open on your laptop waiting for your words to decorate the blank canvas– no one else’s. It’s freedom. When there is pressure, it’s because YOU made the deadline and YOU made the decision to submit a piece for a publication. You are competing against yourself. At least, that’s the way I look at freelance writing. I know some people will argue that you’re competing with the other writers who are seeking out the same goal and same space in the paper or magazine…I don’t see it that way. I figure, if it didn’t get accepted, I didn’t write strong enough, or I need to search for other publications that my piece is more suitable for. I am a “glass half full” type of person I guess.
Now, as 2014 rolls into its’ third month, I’m feeling content at where I am in life. Not because I have achieved so much or reached a specific goal– rather, I have discovered the place I belong in this world. It’s far from where I used to be, but I can only imagine where the journey will continue to take me… This chapter happily includes a fly rod, writer’s block and daunting river banks. This is the kind of challenge worth pursuing. This is where my heart was meant to be all along…
Thanks for reading~