Yesterday was not the first time I shot a shotgun. I’ve been interested in guns ever since summer camp, as a kid, where I’d spend hours on the riflery field, shooting circular targets. It’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t care about canoeing or tennis or swimming. I wanted to shoot rifles. The sound of the shells popping out of the guns thrilled me. The sound of the pop of the bullet excited me. Running to my target to see how I did was so much fun I spent 90% of my summer camp time doing just that.
Growing up, guns were never part of my family. Hardcore liberal parents living in suburbia didn’t exactly give me a country experience growing up. And so I never realized how strong my draw to that lifestyle was, until now. Last year I spent the year shooting whatever I could get my hands on, and going to ranges and fields with whoever would take me.
Pistols, revolvers, .45s, .50s, rifles, 20 gauge shotguns, 12 gauge shotguns.
I shot targets. Potatoes. Clay pigeons. Water bottles. And I even gave myself a cranial beating with the kickback from the most powerful handgun known to man (not my proudest moment).
And so when the opportunity came up to go to a shotgun/skeet range, eat BBQ and drink whiskey with my girlfriends, I jumped at the chance.
“I’ve done this before. I’m ahead of the game. I’ll be right at home.” I thought.
It was an event held an hour outside of LA. And there I was with my leather tooled belt, cowboy boots, Montana trucker hat, and a can of Kodiak in my pocket.
I tried to not expect much from myself (since the last time I shot skeet, I did terribly), but I still did. And when I got up to shoot…I missed every single target. “it’s ok I thought…the next time will be better.” So the next time I shot, I missed every target again. “Dammit. This is embarrassing.”
And I was. Embarrassed. Shameful. Felt stupid. People who had never shot a gun in their life got targets and me…who loves guns, been shooting a bunch this year, and who wants to join a gun club, can’t even get one. What the hell?!
I wanted to give up. Stop shooting. But instead the next station I went to, I asked the shooting coach to give me specific help. Show me what I’m doing wrong. Give me tips on how to improve. And the next time I shot, I hit half my targets. Three in a row. Not perfect but definitely better. The next station, same thing. I asked for help. Got it. Three targets in a row. And it felt good. And I felt proud. Not just for hitting the targets, but for asking for what I needed and not giving up. And re-igniting my excitement for shooting shotguns. I love shooting. I just needed some guidance.
And this got me thinking about life, and how we all do this. And how this relates to where I’m at right now. I don’t know about you but I’m in a huge transition time. Just coming off the road with Girls Gone Moto, still having all my stuff in storage, not sure when the RV is going to roll out again, I’m stuck with my options. Where to go? What to do with my business? How to make it all work? What do I want?
Same old questions.
And in these moments, I’m hard on myself, embarrassed for being here, feeling shame for not having it figured out. Wanting to give up. Beating myself up thinking that everyone else has it all figured out, and I’m just some big loser who can’t get her shit together. And being so stuck in my head with those thoughts is not allowing for any real discovery to happen. Nothing can change or move when I’m living in my head like that. So what I’m doing isn’t working.
Which is exactly how I felt on the shotgun range.
In thinking about this, I found some life lessons. These are all very human emotions. We are uncomfortable in an unknown situation. We beat ourselves up when we think we should be better at something than we feel at the moment. We want to give up when we feel let ourselves down. We are way too hard on ourselves trying to have everything all figured out (and by the way…no one has it all figured out). And all this makes us want to stop doing whatever we’re doing. Stop trying.
And here’s my advice. To you. And to me.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be where you’re at. Keep trying. Ask for the help you need. Keep doing things that excite you. And try not to compare yourself to others. Be self aware…be curious about the areas you can improve and be conscious about improving them. And share your thoughts and struggles with like-minded people.
No one has it all figured out. We are all humans having the same human experience. Give yourself a break, and when you fall down, get back out on the shooting range.
If you like this post, make sure to leave a comment. Let me know what’s going on in your life that you could use some help pushing through. And share this on FB. Tweet about it.