This prairie branded me. I used to be just a girl trying to find myself. This prairie gave me a purpose. It wasn’t a planned purpose. I never aspired to be “The Blonde on the Prairie.” In fact –if you would have told me I’d be called that I may have just walked away talking under my breath. Some guy named “Bruce” gave me the name after he printed the first or second column I ever wrote. I only met him once yet the impact he has had on my life is epic. Something like nine years have passed since he first printed that name. Since then I’ve done a syndicated radio segment, written a book, MC’d events, and been the speaker at corporate gatherings. I’ve fundraised and flourished. That’s not me bragging. That’s me teaching you what the she I used to be learned. As frail as you may feel today is not the future that is planned for you.
I’ve lived here on this prairie that gave me my name the length of my marriage. Without exaggeration I’ve learned something every single day. I’ve written and blogged about most of those lessons over time. I didn’t learn them because I read about things in a book. I didn’t learn them from someone telling me. I learned them because I became the name “The Blonde on the Prairie” from the inside out. I am her and she is me and quite frankly I am thankful. I would have never become her if I were not here, in this place and at this time. What if, despite life being uncomfortable today, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be to win in the end?
The she I am now is not the she I used to be. Youth awards us time to fear and worry. I feared and worried myself into frenzy a time or two and then I did it again. The she I used to be had a tummy full of fear. She didn’t know back then that fear would be a great motivator. She didn’t know that despite being of little to no means didn’t mean she had not a thing to offer. Nobody told her that every trial, peril, chaotic event, trauma, drama, death and disease would armor her up for living today. She didn’t realize it was happening. It took “The Blonde on the Prairie” to personally tutor her.
Every one of us has a memory bank of the worst times of our lives. I can think about one snapshot of time where it all went wrong. If this Bruce were still around he would have called me “The Gypsy Blonde” at the time because I was quite frankly a nomad. I had no particular place to go and it seemed that everywhere I went there was trauma and drama. I outwardly hated being alive but the gnash of my teeth mixed with the faithful words of my friend, “Vi” kept me going. She reminded me that there were plans for my future that I could not see yet. Vi is no longer on this earth but she wrote the words in a card that I keep in my drawer. Whenever I am in doubt I just take the card out and re-read her written words. Each pen stroke she wrote was dipped in an ink of love that was unconditional. I wish Vi was here right now. The world needs more of the unconditional kind of love reminded to them. I am no longer “The Gypsy Blonde.” I am, simply, “The Blonde on the Prairie” and that’s who I always want to be. Things happened just how they were meant to and all that gunk turned in to a place where love found me in the form of that husband of mine. Love didn’t stop there on this prairie. It healed me. I wasn’t expecting for all of the years she suffered as the “she” she used to be to do anything be bored out here. Imagine, a city girl with totes of high heeled shoes being told she’d be living on prairie with the fella of her dreams and liking it.
I took off those shoes and began walking. I’ve clocked many hours of faith finding time walking. While grasping my walking stick I’d tiptoe through the tree claims not wanting to disturb anything but just to watch and listen. I’ve hiked the hills and picked berries. I’ve planted over fifty trees and spent time talking to cows. I’ve slept tight lullabied by coyote howls and awoken to birdsongs. I’ve chased dragonflies while butterflies fluttered by at the same time. Baby birds were born to see me as their first human. A baby fawn once appeared in my path, in the grass, and another lesson was learned. The weakness she used to be turned in to a public speaker who dares to share in front of large groups and not just by hiding behind a telephone. I live a raw truth that has allowed so much fear to disappear. There were people who I used to fear and they liked it like that. People with letters behind their name and money they coveted to play the game. The game is life. I am living my life as, “The Blonde on the Prairie.” The weakness the world wanted me to cower to has been made strong here. I am now a warrior. That’s not a narcissistic statement. It is a revelation that I pass on to you. Life may seem heavy as 2013 begins. You may be reading this feeling like the she I used to be. You may feel nearly defeated. Someone may have said some words that you allowed to define you. Ignore them and replace your title to “Warrior!” I leave you with a quote I hope you read as a new truth in you. You are worthy of the plans the future has in store for you. When you begin believing that worthiness-the coward behind those you perceive to have power will falter and fail. Happy New Year Warriors!
There are lots of things a warrior can do at a certain time which he couldn’t do years before. Those things themselves did not change; what changed was his idea of himself.
~ Carlos Castaneda Quotes from Tales of Power
Ingstad lives on the prairie near Valley City and writes this column for the Times-Record.