Life has an interesting way of forcing us to face our fears. It’s terrifying to face them, but it’s also wholly liberating once you have done so. The past five years of my life have involved near constant facing of fears: driving around the U.S. with my dog, moving across country to a state where I knew virtually no one (and then, 3 months later, moving again to a city where I knew absolutely no one), reinventing my career and reinventing my life. I’m on the cusp of yet another huge change – a cross country move to New Jersey next week – and this involves yet another set of fears. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever again fall as madly in love with a city as I did with Austin. After all, it’s a city that gave me the courage to become the woman I have always wanted to be, and a city that taught me how to live with the cowgirl spirit (embracing, instead of hiding, my authentic bits). Yet as wonderful as the past 4+ years here have been, change beckons once again. My boyfriend of the past 2 ½ years lives on the East Coast, and although I love Austin, I love him more. We’ll be living in the woods in a gorgeous part of New Jersey, with easy access to NYC (which will hopefully be as good for me professionally as I know this move is for me personally). That said, I have some trepidations about this big change, mainly because I’ll be leaving my awesome friends behind and starting anew with living in a rural area, navigating snow (something I haven’t done in 20 years), on a coast where I’ve spent very little time in the grand scope of my life.

So it’s quite fitting that amidst this impending change, life has forced me to make peace with my biggest fear ever: A ROOSTER.

I’ve been terrified of chickens as long as I can remember. It’s embarrassing because I know most people think they are adorable, feathery balls of cuteness. I sorta faced my fear of chickens on my road trip in Utah when I held a hen, but I most definitely did not conquer the fear. Especially because it’s really roosters that incite a flight or fight response (in my case, after a blood-curdling squeal, flight). According to my mom, this fear started when I was a toddler. We were in a restaurant and I saw a stuffed rooster and was so terrified that I wouldn’t eat. Then, years later, we moved in next door to a family who owned a bad ass rooster. I never got pecked (I fled each time he was near), but I have memories of the mean rooster flogging neighborhood kids and making them cry. And so I cried along with them.

Roo in yardSo interestingly, on the very first day that I started to pack up my house two weeks ago, a rooster appeared in my yard. Keep in mind, I live in Austin, in a bustling central neighborhood. I have absolutely no idea where he came from, but he has made it clear that he has adopted my yard as his new home.

When he first appeared I was filled with terror each time I had to come and go. That’s because this rooster decided he would follow me everywhere. Over the past two weeks I’ve realized this little feathery guy is actually bursting with friendly personality, and he’s made it absolutely impossible for me to be afraid of him. He plops himself on a tree outside my bedroom window each morning and crows until he sees me open the curtains. He jumps, clucks and spins with joy when he first sees me outside each day. This morning he even followed Yoda and me down the middle of the street when we were going for our morning walk. When I sit on the ground, he runs over and starts pecking at the dirt next to me to unearth bugs…I wonder if he thinks I am his hen and is trying to provide? Being this close to Roo (yes, I named him the most unoriginal rooster name ever) has let me see how truly beautiful his iridescent multi-colored feathers are as they reflect the light of the sun.

I’m no longer scared of Roo. Yes Mom, you heard that right: I’m no longer afraid of a rooster! I’ve faced my biggest fear and not only survived, but have learned that my former arch nemesis is actually giving me great joy. It’s a big life lesson that I should continue to look fear in the eye, because I’ll likely continue to be surprised by the outcome.

So all this to say, I’ll forever be grateful for the unexpected gift of Roo. He’s shown me that I can face my apprehensions about living in New Jersey, and quite likely even thrive as a result of overcoming them.

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Why Are Dogs So Happy?

by Kee Kee on September 5, 2015

in Authenticity,Family,Wisconsin,Yoda


Yoda Boat HappyOne of my happiest places on earth is at my parents’ lake house in rural Wisconsin. I can say without doubt that it is one of Yoda’s most beloved spots too, which is why I’m so lucky that we have been able to road trip here so I can work remotely for the month of August for the past five years in a row.

One of my favorite parts about road tripping are the lessons the road teaches me, often through people I meet. The night we arrived in Wisconsin, we were sitting outside having an evening sunset cocktail with my parents, when one of the neighbors wandered over to say hello. He had with him his visiting brother, Father Dan, a completely down-to-earth priest who has a wicked sense of humor which he often uses to disperse surprising nuggets of wisdom.

Yoda was wagging his tail as he bounced from person to person, nudging their hands to get each of us to pet him.

Smiling as he was prodded by Yoda, Father Dan looked from my dog to the rest of us and asked, “Do you know why dogs are so happy?”

“Why?” we all responded.

“Because they don’t want to be anything else except a dog,” he exclaimed while he scratched behind Yoda’s ears.

This was Father Dan’s way of making the observation that by trying to be someone else, or by trying to live someone else’s life, it’s pretty much impossible to feel content. Happiness can only come from living an authentic life by celebrating the individual quirks that are unique to each of us.

Yoda now serves as my daily reminder that, much like a dog doesn’t want to be anything else except a dog, I don’t want to be anyone else except for me. Thanks Father Dan for this lesson of the road!

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The Huffington Post – Wisconsin’s Sunflowers

August 6, 2015

Sunflowers are quite possibly the world’s cheeriest flower. With their large vibrant yellow petals, they look much like a bright smiling sun. Feeling blue? Then perhaps you should consider standing in a field of ½ million sunflowers. It’s like injecting yourself with an oversized dose of optimism. You can do just that at Sunflower Days […]

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A Cowgirl in the Thunderstorm

August 5, 2015

I believe the Universe is constantly sending us signs. Signs to guide us, and signs to help us understand. All too often however, we have so much noise with the activity of our everyday lives that we don’t see those signs. That’s one of the reasons I love road tripping so much – the stillness of […]

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On The Road Again

July 25, 2015

Working as a filmmaker and writer, and having insatiable wanderlust, I’m pretty blessed that I am able to work from anywhere. There is no better way to escape the Texas August triple digits than to work from my parents’ rural Wisconsin lake house. This will be the fifth consecutive summer that I’ve managed to pull […]

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Kick Start the Flow of Life with a “Jack Day”

June 21, 2015

One thing I’ve learned over the past five years with my Seeking Shama journey is that the absolute best way to kick start the flow of my life and keep things fresh is to step outside of the box. When I start to feel blue, it’s usually because I’m stuck in a rut and have […]

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Dreams Really Do Come True

May 16, 2015

Have you ever told yourself that the thing you wish most for in life is too far fetched to ever become reality? Have you wondered if you are sitting still, getting older, just watching life go by without you being an active participant? Have you ever struggled to silence that very loud voice in your […]

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Yoda’s Sugar Dust Has Earned Him a New Bed

April 6, 2015

Yoda has sugar dust. At least that’s what a sweet southern woman down the street told us in her lazy drawl last year when we were talking with her in her driveway during a pause in our afternoon walk. Not wanting to admit that Yoda’s muzzle has been getting more and more gray, I immediately […]

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The Pie Lady in Pie Town Fed my Soul

February 8, 2015

It’s only when we allow ourselves to be lost that we can really truly find ourselves. I figured that basic truth out by accident. When Yoda and I first left on our five month road trip, hitting the open road was an act of desperation. I was running away from my broken life. I was […]

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An Open Letter to the New Year

January 6, 2015

Dear 2015, I’m writing this from seat 32D. In 2014 airports were my second home, so I suppose it is quite fitting that I’m crammed in the back of the plane in coach class on a cross-country flight as I write this letter to you. 2014 was both an exhausting and an exhilarating year, and […]

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