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Shotguns. And What That Has To Do With Your Life.

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.

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24 Responses to Shotguns. And What That Has To Do With Your Life.

  1. Terrah says:

    I am in the same boat. Living in transition… I have been living in my airstream hoping to figure out the perfect place to live (I have moved so much already), but somehow having so many options (anywhere) can be paralyzing and then I start to beat myself up because I see all my friends having these amazing careers or married or owning their own house. Yet I am in my thirties, still drifting around, single and trying to figure out my business. I am taking an online class where we journey ( a meditation where your animal spirits and guides can teach you) I had an amazing journey last night and towards the end, I was walking alone in the dark feeling so lost and these fireflies came and lit up beside me as we walked and they told me just to take one step at a time, they would light my path and as we walked there was this amazing peace that came over me knowing there is always a light beside us – to guide us, but sometimes the fear and anxiety can be blinding. I am trying to remind myself daily to just be present, breathe and know the universe will light my path.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Miss Terrah…oh man. Your comment resonates with me on such a deep level. I think we’re in the same boat! ANd you’re absolutely right that we just need to be present and be open to whatever is going to happen. I find that so much suffering happens when I’m thinking about the past (“I didn’t do x, y, or z last time so I probably won’t do it now”) or made up stories about the future (“I’ll never have the kind of life I want,” etc) but when it comes to the present moment, things aren’t all that bad. They’re actually beautiful and great. So I’m with you on the getting present. Also…your guides aren’t telling you to move to Austin by any chance, are they?

      • Terrah says:

        ha. Austin has been one of the top places I was thinking of and asheville, NC as well as a few others. I just never get to visit anywhere before I move, so I can only go on blogs and photos from what other people say. I have heard good things about it, though and they are super dog friendly, which I love.
        I saw a quote the other day that you might like.
        “Depression is about living in the past. Anxiety is living in the future. Happiness is living in the present.”

        • Sallyhope says:

          Both places are amazing! (I’m a bit more partial to Austin, however, and I have the feeling you’d love it there). And that quote is PERFECT! Thank you.

  2. Diana says:

    My fb is messing up so bad, so I’ll just say hi and I love you. =)

  3. Shannon says:

    Girlfriends are the perfect accessory to life changes. Not only did you look great while you were missing those targets but you were hilarious and fun, and afterwards i went off for like a hour about how much fun i had and how awesome it was to see you! It was totally worth the achy shoulder today :) xoxxo

  4. Sally,

    You keep talking about guns and weapons, and you’re turning this old Jarhead on!!!

    In all seriousness, yeah, sometimes when I get bogged down in the paper side of the biz, the completion of all the accounting and the inventory of merchandise and all that, that’s what gets me.

    I want to do it right, and the cash to make it right isn’t a big deal to me, it’s just all the bleedin’ paperwork associated with it that makes it so frustrating. Being legit is a PAIN.

    I know I have to do it, and I want to, but that voice in my head (one of the many voices in my head!) keeps sayin’, “Ahh, screw it! You’re doing fine!”, but I know that I need to do all the papers and be legit in order to grow, but I gotta tell you, that depresses me more than anything else.

    Plus, I have some MAJOR personal drama going on that I really REALLY wanna say, “#^!& it!” more than anything else, but I also know I NEED to see it through, despite it being possibly the biggest pain in the patootie I have had to deal with in my life, and I really want it gone, but unfortunately, I need to see it to its completion.

    Needless to say, it’s not the world’s best time of year for me. I’m really stressed, yet things professionally are good; things are moving along.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Ahahhahah! I can’t help it! That’s what I like. :)

      I totally understand about just having to get things done and pushing through even though we want to give up. Ugh. It feels so good when we complete what we set out to though, no?

      I’m so excited for how much growth you’ve had this past year. It’s been one year (almost) today that I started this blog and it’s been so great having your comments every week and following your story. So much can happen in a year!!

  5. I’m following your story, too, Sally. There was a time (and there will be again in the future) when I’m almost going to be like you, travelling from town to town, working different wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts events, with banana boxes full of DVDs and videos.

    I am expanding and growing, and helping to book a very big card for the end of the year, and as the promoter is a good friend of mine, there won’t be any issues with DVD rights, as he’s given me the go-ahead to take on the filming duties myself, which means I can set it up my way and I’ve even had some input on the storyline for the main event.

    Everything is going good, but with growth comes stress, as ego aside, no one can do the things I have in my head as good as I do, so I can’t even get temp help to do things, because in the end, I still would need to do the bulk of the work (like re-creating a page for the girl who will be doing the video work) and my storage is in need of shelving, but I don’t have the time to take away from my sales and site to effectively remove everything from my storage (a whopping 10×20) and then build shelves and put everything back. Especially since I need to be there for the “put back” portion.

    A plus is my attorney’s son will be getting married in June, so the “missus” and I are invited to…ISRAEL! Time to get some more stamps in the ol’ passport!

    Yes, you are right, it will feel good to get it all done, although some of it comes back to haunt me each year (thanks, IRS!) and some I am honour-bound to do, and that I can elaborate on in email to you, as I may have made some changes, but at heart, I’m still an intensely private person and that’s the biggie with me…being open and not bottling things up, although I do talk to myself and work things out like that, but in general, me and talking to others about personal issues has never been a strong suit.

    It just so happens that this year from about October on has been most stressful, and October is when the biggest stressor happened that I can’t elaborate on here, but it’s a doozy and it’s still going on, and I have little control over it.

  6. Vanety Fabrick says:

    you’re lovely and insightful as always.

  7. Ashley says:

    Sally, life on the unmapped road can be so freakin scary! Thanks for reaching out and letting us see what’s going on behind the scenes! Vulnerability = connection = power.

    Since officially launching my writing biz in January, I’ve worked with some wonderful clients, gotten out of my comfort zone, developed relationships with new, like-minded people and am continuing to learning new things all the time! There’s a lot of sh*t to do when you’re the captain of your ship, no?

    Then, last week I had one of those blah moments where I thought, “Am I really going to be able to sustain this? How are the pieces going to fit together to create the life I’ve envisioned for myself?”

    I began comparing myself to others and was totally ignoring all the amazing things I’ve done/learned recently. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s OK to grow organically. And it’s OK to enjoy ourselves right NOW!!!

    You’re right “We’re all human beings, having a human experience.” Why not approach “what’s next” from a place of curiosity.”

    • Sallyhope says:

      Your comment gave me chills! And it resonated with me so deeply. And I absolutely agree with everything you said. And YES! When you’re the captain of your own ship it’s both exhilarating and completely terrifying. And your transition sounds eerily similar to mine. Hahhah. Showing…we’re all on the same path. Having the same experiences.

      Also…CONGRATS on what you’ve built so far. That’s a big deal. You’ve come so far in just one year!

      Thank you for being here. For sharing the same human experience right by my side. You’re awesome.

      • Ashley says:

        Awwww! Thank YOU Sally! Yes I see a lot of similarities (besides the whole rock-band thing… although I’ve got an awesome guitar collecting dust in the corner). I think we’re WAY harder on ourselves than most. We want to from 0 to 60mph like *that* when the reality is we’re learning the exact lessons we need to learn.

        I admire you SO much and really see you as someone who can do anything =)

        XO

        XO,
        Ashley

  8. Tina Pruitt says:

    Love this post….yep, transition is putting it mildly! I am on the same road…not sure where it’s leading, but am up for the ride!

    Love you girl….I definitely have always felt I have lived a rockstar life….and just want to keep that going!

    xo, Tina

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Tina! That’s such a great attitude to have about it all. Viewing it like a ride. It’s all part of the trip. And yeah! You’re definitely a rockstar!! Just keep your rockstar attitude going and ain’t no one gonna stop you. :)

      What does your transition entail?

      Mwah!
      S

  9. Natalie says:

    Great piece! Really glad to have found you!

  10. Erin says:

    Well here I am. I’m stuck in the same situation. I’m working towards my dream of becoming a nurse and I get horrible news that I will need hip bone reconstruction due to hip impingement. Not on just one hip, but both. So I’m sitting here thinking, well I graduate in May with a degree in nursing I won’t be able to use because I won’t be able to lift patients. Let’s just say this hit hard. Another thing on top of that, I feel I’m in the same place with my relationship. I think we are ready to make that next step but we keep getting these financial set backs- so people keep asking, when are you getting married? Well I don’t know. I’m embarassed and feel I’m not good enough or that I’m not the one he wants. We are going on four years and he has stuck with me through a lot, even an accelerated nursing program.

    He actually sent this blog to me and said it made him think of me and I should read it. Well, he knows me pretty well I’d say. This hit right home with me. I wanted to cry half way through it because wow, it sounded just like me. It’s like when things get too hard or are too much of a challenge that I feel I might lose myself in it, I give up. I know it’s not the right thing to do, but it’s my first reaction.

    So I wanted to share my story real quick. Nothing has ever come easy for me and at times I pride myself on having gone through so much in my life. I’ve gone through things my friends have not, so when they go through it, they come to me for advice and consoling. It’s hard because I’ve grown some pretty thick skin that I feel I’ve lost my compassion and empathy in certain situations.

    All in all, right now, I’m coming to grips with things and I remind myself often that God wouldn’t bring me to it if He couldn’t get me through it.

    I hope you find peace in yourselves as I hope to find in myself. Thank you for your blog, Sally. Get out there and shoot them guns!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Erin…I’m so glad you’re here. And thank you so much for sharing your touching story. I can definitely feel where you’re coming from. It sounds hard and sad and stuck. And I can definitely see why you’ve gotten to the “giving up” point. But I agree that we aren’t given any situation that we can’t handle and that we can get through anything if we just keep going. I view tough times as an area of growth. What is it that I need to learn in these moments? And also, just allowing yourself to feel exactly what you’re feeling. I can tell you are someone who is a fighter. No matter how defeated you might feel, you are so courageous to even put this out there.

      Please keep in touch. I look forward to getting to know you better. And please let me know if there is any way I can support you further.
      Xo,
      Sally

  11. Glock Lady says:

    I’m completely new to gun ownership and I appreciate this post very much.
    My first gun shots were so bad, I hit everything but the target. I got some good instruction and now I’m good enough to test for my concealed handgun license. There is a good sense of empowerment with shooting, and also with the time in transition.
    It’s the rare person who embraces change and transition – here’s to you!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey! First of all…thank you so much for commenting and sharing! I checked out your website and love it. I love the questions you pose, especially the one about “who has the right to carry?” It’s such an interesting topic.

      And I am completely with you about empowerment. It’s one of those things that takes a bit to get over, especially when you’re a woman and people already assume you’re going to be terrible at it. It takes a lot of perseverance to do it, so CONGRATS!! And not only that, you’re now out there educating people. So cool.

      I hope you come back and say hello, and I look forward to keeping up with your site.

      Best,
      Sally

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