Embracing Your Inner Cowgirl!

  • By Brenda Buckingham
  • 11 May, 2012
Good morning, girlfriends!

Every now and then someone will ask me why I am so drawn to the cowgirl look.  I usually am at a loss to explain it.  It is a look I just love.  But it has got me thinking and evaluating why I go for this look.

My first memory of wearing anything that might be considered “cowgirl” was when I was about 10 and my parents gave me a matching levi jean jacket and jeans set that were a gorgeous turquoise color and full of great western details.  I loved that outfit and thought I was perhaps the hippest girl in the fifth grade.

In my sophomore year in high school, I took a home-ec class and made a prairie style dress (I grew up in the days of Gunne Sax dresses!) done in tan and cream calico with a matching vest.  I was so proud of that dress.  I saved my babysitting money and bought my first pair of cowgirl boots.  They were a buckskin color and matched the tan in the dress wonderfully.  I wore that dress constantly for the next several years.  There was something about that outfit that felt both feminine and confident.

My cowgirl boots are the most comfortable things known to man . . . er . . . woman.  My favorite are so worn out and need new heels and soles but my feet still find themselves sliding into those old girls at least a couple times a week.  From yardwork to church, these boots were made for walking!

In my early years of adulthood, I struggled with low self esteem and figuring out “who” I was.  I would dress the way I thought was mainstream and acceptable.  When I would go to church, I would find myself distracted from focusing on the sermon, but instead was busy people watching, wishing I could be as confident in myself as I saw some of these women in my congregation.  But, rather than trying to be the woman God made me to be, I would instead imitate what I thought others found to be acceptable. 

I don’t really remember what made me buy my first pair of boots as a grown woman.  But I do remember having an instant feeling of knowing “this is me.”  I felt comfortable and confident in this look.  I love my boots and am always drawn to anything with with ruffles and still love a good calico.  I love chunky western jewelry and consider my bling filled cowgirl belts a mainstay.  Since comfort is a must for me, I often wear leggings (and jeggings) . . . either with a longer shirt with a belt or a short western skirt, complete with boots of course.

So what is it about this look I am so drawn to?  I think a lot of it is the attitude I think it portrays to me.  I love being a strong woman . . . someone who can swing a hammer and climb a tree.  Someone who isn’t afraid to jump in and get dirty.  I think of a cowgirl as someone who throws caution to the wind and achieves her dreams.  I heard a definition of a cowgirl that I thought was cute:
Cowgirl: A beautiful woman with dirt on her.
But, to just be strong and confident is not enough.  When reading up on Calamity Jane, not only was she a tough frontiers woman and expert scout, she was also known for her kindness and compassion to the sick and needy.  Born Martha Jane Cannary in 1852, Calamity Jane had a tough upbringing.  She was the eldest of 6 children.  In 1865, at the age of 13, her family headed west on a wagon train.  A few months into the journey, her mother died of pneumonia, leaving Calamity Jane to take on the role of mother to the younger children.  They eventually settled in Salt Lake City, Utah but her father died within weeks of settling in.  So, in 1867, at the age of 15, she was now completely in charge of this family of 6 children.  Through a combination of wagon trains and the Union Pacific Railroad, she eventually ended up in Piedmont, Wyoming, where she raised the family for the rest of their growing up years.  
During her lifetime she did everything from mopping floors to leading hunting expeditions because of her amazing scouting skills.  She did have many moments of “indiscretion”, and is not who I would aspire to be as a Christian woman, but her “never give up” spirit is something I admire greatly.  She exuded love and warmth as well as strength and perserverance. 

My great, great, grandmother, Lydia Drennen was, in my mind a bit of a cowgirl.  I have never seen pictures of her and don’t really know how she dressed, but her attitude to me was definitely that of a cowgirl.  She was living in Kansas and was widowed at a young age, with three young children.   She had no local family of her own (they were all in California) and for some reason, it seems her deceased husband’s family offered her no support or refuge.  So, she got on one of the last wagon trains heading to California during the gold rush with her three young children.  I have no idea how long this trip took, but I would think at least several months.  Once she arrived in Hanford, California, she became the first Church of God female preacher having her own church and also teaching school during the week.  She proclaimed the love of the Lord to a the church on Sundays while teaching school and caring for her three children throughout the week.  Thinking of a woman alone with three young children traveling such a hard journey and then making a life for herself and children in a new land makes me admire her strength and tenacity.  But she was also a woman of love and compassion, reaching out and sharing the love of God with strangers.

Great, Great Grandma Lydia’s Rocking Chair

I am blessed to have her old rocking chair . . . the same one that made that long journey from Kansas to California.  It is a beat up old sewing rocker that probably has very little financial value.  It sits in my bedroom and I often like to sit in it and think about the history of this sweet little chair and the woman who once rocked her babies in it.  To me, this chair is priceless and will be a heirloom to be passed down for generations to come.  By the way, the sweet braided chair pad was made by my Grandma, Eleanor Todd Logan, Lydia’s grand-daughter.

Eleanor Logan, my Mom’s mother, was a bit of a cowgirl herself.  She was a very strong woman, who could be a bit bullheaded at times.  She had a great laugh and was an amazing gardener.  She wasn’t afraid to try new things and knew the Bible better than anyone I ever knew.  If I had a question about anything in the Bible, my Grandma was who I turned to.  Last summer, I was at my 30th high school reunions and one of my friends remembered me “Setting him straight” with wisdom I had shared from my Grandma!  I was amused that he still remembers that!  For the record, both my Grandma and I were right!  LOL!  My Grandma walked 3 miles every day, up to a few months before she died of a brain tumor.  “Can’t” and “Won’t” were not part of her vocabulary.  She wasn’t necessisarily a cowgirl in dress . . . for the most part her wardrobe was utilitarian.  If it kept her warm and comfortable, she didn’t care if she mixed plaids with polka dots.  That independent spirit is part of what makes me think she was simply a cowgirl in disguise!

To balance out the confident cowgirl look and not be too much of a “tough girl,” I like to add feminine touches and things like ruffles and lace are mainstays in my wardrobe.  I love layering things and often re-layer outfits a few times until I get the look I like. The gauzy scarves with great floral prints have been recently grabbing my attention as well and will be something I will be on the look out for . . . but only if I can find or make it for next to nothing.  I am, most definitely, a frugal cowgirl!  And sundresses with cowgirl boots . . . be still my heart!!  Looking warm and feminine not only makes me feel womanly, but I think it also makes me approachable and hopefully allows me to show the love and warmth I want to portray. 

A sundress and cowgirl boots . . . always a favorite of mine!

Who I am, above all, is God’s child . . . I want to reflect His character . . . love, kindness and selflessness.  One thing I try to do as I go out into public, is to always be upbeat and smiley.   I have found that treating others kindly helps to draw people to you and not only makes them a little happier, but it also makes me happier.  When we treat others well, there is a peace that comes with that.  I think it is because we are portraying a character trait of our Lord and whenever we are responding within the will and character of the Lord, we will have peace.

So whether you are a cowgirl or not, I encourage you to be yourself.  Not everyone embraces my “cowgirl” look.  I have more than once seen girls whispering.  But it is who I am and it fits me.  I want a simple life (though I have not come close to obtaining that yet . . .) and the simple care of cowgirl clothes (nothing to dry clean here, girlfriends!) and durability makes sense for the life I lead.

Embrace the woman God is calling you to be . . . the woman inside of you who wants to be Godly and pleasing to the Lord.  It has nothing to do with cowgirl boots or chunky jewelry . . . it is your inner soul and allowing it to be all that God wants it to be.  When I read in Proverbs 31 about  the woman who is our ultimate example of a Godly woman, I see a bit of a cowgirl spirit in her . . . she was filled with strength, ambition, love and compassion.  Perhaps she wore cowgirl boots!

Hugs & Blessings,

Brenda

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