When I think back seven years, my life as it is now is unimaginable. I would never have thought I'd be spending hours at the barn with my horse, much less be the author of a children's book series. Talk about a dream come true! Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to believe that this is my life.
The gift of Rudy keeps giving to me in unexpected ways. Writing a book was on my bucket list for years. I can tell you that writing a children's book was not on my radar. Yet, here I am writing these books and LOVING the experience.
I frequently envisioned myself teaching, not in the traditional sense. I see myself on a big stage in front of hundreds of people. But in reality, I struggled to put myself out there, to speak my truth for fear of judgment and criticism. I've spent most of my life doubting and silencing my voice instead of trusting my unique gifts and their value.
I loathed public speaking, and yet fifteen years ago, I found myself in a job that required it. I simultaneously wanted to shrink away from the challenge the role presented and knew I needed it to help me get over my fears.
Speaking in public still induces anxiety, primarily when it's related to my work, yet I've found myself oddly comfortable talking about things I'm passionate about, like Rudy and the books. Over 100 people came to a Meet & Greet Rudy event when I launched the first book, and the experience energized me.
Even as I was writing the first Rudy book, I was conscious that it was the first step to putting myself in front of the masses. Yet, the calling was too strong for fear to override it.
I was willing to take the risk that people might not like the books, might think I'm a crappy writer, might disagree with me, and the list goes on. It's the voice we all hear in our head that squelches our unique genius and prevents us from pursuing our calling. I finally managed to ignore it and forge forward.
Writing Rudy - A Big Horse With A Big Heart was a way to tiptoe into the public arena, to reveal me to the world in a less scary way. Next came Rudy2. The writing was better; it was easier to channel Rudy's voice and for me to begin to express vulnerability. Now, as you know, I'm writing blogs. Another step in putting myself "out there."
I'm emerging from the safety of Rudy and starting to express my thoughts, feelings, and learnings. He has been a catalyst for many things in my life, and this is no exception.
I knew this was in me, but I didn't know how or when it would manifest. There are still many unanswered questions about what's next, yet I'm thoroughly enjoying where I am.
One of the unexpected joys associated with writing the book series is connecting with kids. When I engage with kids, I see myself as a child witnessing their excitement, passion, and love for animals, particularly horses.
It's easy for me to give to them. I think of myself at that age and how thrilled I would be to speak with someone who loved the same things as me. I've had numerous little girls captivated by the mere fact that I own a horse. It's as though they can't believe I could be that lucky.
It's magical to tell them stories about Rudy. Sometimes I pull out my phone and show them pictures and videos, and their parents have to pry them away from me. Meanwhile, I could talk with them all day long.
I abandoned myself when I was a child believing I was damaged and undeserving of love. Connecting with children in this way feels like I'm reconnecting with myself, which feels healthy and long overdue.
The books allow me to teach kids about the realities of horse ownership. I can also educate them about horsemanship and essential life lessons about commitment, perseverance, and self-growth.
Occasionally, I invite a child to visit Rudy and me. Rudy genuinely seems to love it when young people come to "play" with him. He's attentive, gentle, and engaged. It makes my heart sing to give the kids this opportunity, an experience I would have given anything for when I was young.
I don't know where this journey is leading me, but I know it's the right path to follow.
Written October 24, 2021