My Cowgirl Mug Channels Steve Jobs

At my daughter's birthday party a few weeks ago, I was getting ready to light the candles when a friend of ours inserted himself between me and the cake.  We had a little conversation that went like this:

Him:   You don't look like you camp much, but trust me. You don't want to light your hair on fire.

Me (indignant):  You don't know if I camp.

Him:  Do you camp?

Me:  Never.

So why, then, do I have a cowgirl mug?

I bought it in Austin, TX after a family wedding (that included, among other things, a relative telling everyone that my hair was wider than my hips.)

I bought the mug after the wedding, when we were doing touristy things with my very awesome older brother, because it amused me: the idea that this city girl could ever be considered a cowgirl. Like I could ever be Texas.

But maybe?

I am, after all, the strong advocate for women's equality who has carved out a pro-woman place in Islam. I'm the vegetarian and former PETA member who supports Michael Vick and roots for his team, partly because I think there is much hypocrisy (and racism) in the meat-guzzling country that condemned him and partly because I happen to believe pretty fiercely in second chances. I am the feminist who is also a girly girl with a serious shoe fetish and an expensive hair product with a name so embarrassing THAT I WILL NEVER REVEAL IT HERE.

And I'm the lawyer who dropped a load of cash getting a law degree that I am not, currently, using and who can still hear the rush of voices telling her what she should be doing.

In the end, I guess I'm the one who thinks "should" might be the most depressing word there is. (Except, of course, "sensible" when followed by "shoes.")

This is probably why I have a special place in my heart for my friends who, with more courage that I could have mustered, dropped out of medical school or other grad programs to write, or the female friend who trekked across India by herself, or the South Asian programmer holding out for his True Love.

I sort of adore people who do what they "shouldn't."

When I write, I fill the mug with...tea (yes, let's go with that) and it reminds me of Steve Jobs' immortal words:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Not bad for a cowgirl mug. I hope y'all have one.


  1. Darn tootin'.

    Love this post. As a word, "should" deserves its very own dustbin. I think growing older is kind of terrifying because all of our choices are really ours. We finally really own them. And that's kind of thrilling.

    I don't know if you're Texas or not, but I DO know you have a great reservoir of courage that goes a lot deeper than that mug (full of mountain, erm....tea). Your friendship and writing have inspired me on countless occasions, and I, for one, am certain that your heart's a hell of a lot bigger than your hair. :)

  2. Yeah, totally what Sarah said. And next time, I'm dragging you across India with me because you 'shouldn't' live without having the experience of traveling with a hell driven rebel like me. We'll wear Saris and Kate Spades on the train, and Sarah is totally invited. Totally.

  3. Sarah, I think you're right about the terrifying. But think of how hard it can be to realize it--that the choices are our own. (Did you notice how I went for the italics instead of the caps there? Just to keep you on your toes?)

    Thank you for the rest and right back at you. In spades, Ms. Heena. Maybe you can come to the next family wedding and say that last part to anyone who will listen? :)

  4. Cat, I stand ready to be dragged. And I am positive I can trek in Kate Spades. POSITIVE.

  5. I really like this post. It's such a wonderful quote from Steve Jobs. A good reminder for us all, so thank you.

    (I was kind of expecting a picture to go with the wide hair remark. :- )

  6. Former PETA member? How did you fall from grace?

    You might be surprised at how many of us wish our hair could be wider than our hips. Or even our ears.

  7. Cath, thanks! I think the mug shot (ha) is enough. :)

    Steve, wouldn't you like to know.

  8. Wow. You can make anyone look good. It's not like I have too many options that I'm holding out. ;)

    And what the hell would I do with a cowgirl mug? I have Why So Serious mug. That suits me just right. I also have a Despicable Me mug. For obvious reasons. :D

    Keep going where no woman has gone before....

    See you, space cowboy.

  9. I love how such an ordinary object can inspire such an extraordinary post!

  10. By the way, my word verification thingy was "unsin". Blogger, how judgemental!

  11. Both of my morning coffee mugs are — and don't laugh too hard — Star Trek mugs. When I drink from Jean-Luc Picard's mug, I strive to be calm, controlled, thoughtful and fearless.

    When I choose Lieutenant Worf, I think about being bold, passionate, and courageous, even against insurmountable odds.

    It's silly, I know. But I have these thoughts every day. And I think they help.

  12. Aniket, you're getting a set for your wedding. Plus the entire Ally McBeal collection. Now you're incentivized, aren't you??

    (Seriously, my cowgirl mug IS my why so serious mug.)

    (Also, no one else in the house is allowed to use it.)

  13. Wendy, thanks for your first comment. And I don't know why blogger gets so preachy. WE'LL UNSIN IF WE WANT TO, BLOGGER. GOT IT?

    Richard, sometimes you've got to find it where you find it. Who am I to judge? Laugh, yes, but not judge.

  14. Whole lot of time on your hands?