Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keeping it Real

Every once in a while I find myself lost in deep reflection…
It’s usually around two o’clock in the morning when it happens…
My brain starts ticking, as a compilation of thoughts and events that occurred throughout the previous few months begin to pound at my head, and beat through my body until my fingers can’t help but allow them to escape through the ball point tip of my pen.
Tonight is one of those nights.
The past six years in particular have been a blur…a girl crazy about fishing; each day spent on the water, no day unappreciated, no moment forgotten, not a single second where I doubted that this is what I was born to do.
Live, fish, laugh, love, repeat. Live, fish, laugh, love, repeat.
I was born to fish and I was born to pass it on, that’s about all that I do know for sure.
So life did its thing…I matured into a young woman and by the age of 18, I knew that fishing would be the career path I would take.
I was never the best at anything I did in the sport…
Never the best caster, never the best fly-tier, never the best writer, photographer, or TV personality….
I was never the best at anything… but I loved it. God, I loved it…
I loved it to the point of obsession. It ruined my relationships, got in the way of what had the potential to be an over-flowing bank account (I should have gone into sales, hell I should have been a lawyer…), and had me lost in a battle between Mother Nature’s rivers, and Mother Nature’s calling for me to bear children and a cute house with a white picket fence.
Fishing? Children? Fishing? Children? I hate clocks when I’m on the river, and I hate them even more when they tick inside of me like a super-charged Breitling. 
Fishing? Children?......
So I got a dog….his name is Colby and he’s my #1 sidekick both on the river and off of it.
Some years passed and I began Fly Gal.
Primarily a guiding operation with workshops in the Spring, and a small collection of hats and hoodies… I kept my head down and my eyes on the road, growing this little company until my client lists were healthy and my goals had almost been reached; I was determined to share this passion for the sport while living it, literally.
As this “life” progressed, life’s “lessons” followed. I made mistakes, made stupid comments, took stupid advice and listened to the stupid things that make sense to you when you’re a 21 year old girl…
An interesting chain of events followed by the growth of Face Book, Google searches, and the retardation of public fishing forums….I began to be “sought out” by those looking to hitch a ride on the “female in the industry” train.
This “train” undoubtedly freight trained my way into a marketing frenzy that resulted in some fabulous opportunities and some equally devastating harsh realities.
Those with the same passion as I, turned their time with me into something special….a message, an inspiration, a reason to look outside…these relationships are Gold to me and will never be soured.
Others, focused on selling sex appeal and insulting innuendos, blushed my cheeks temporarily and slapped my wrists with the “you should have known better” ruler. Lord help me to learn when to keep my mouth shut and remember that whilst some may edit you to look great, there are those who may do the exact opposite….
Regardless, one and the same, opportunities both bad and good, they have made me who I am today….a thankful business woman, who fishes like a hot damn, has caught more steelhead than I ever thought possible, and a gal who still isn’t the greatest at anything in this sport…except sharing it and acknowledging that there’s still a whole lot more to learn.
I’m almost at my point here….bear with me…..
Amidst all the wonders and confusion of traveling, self-recognition, injuries, good people I love, and bad people I try to love…. My image bounced to and fro with industry folk, the general public and friends who hadn’t heard from me in a months’ time…
While my image bounced, my reflection was as it had always been….strong, straight, honest and unwaveringly to the point. More humbled than at 21, I realize now more so than ever just how short life is, just how little I do know, just how difficult it is to find truly great friends, and just how important my family is.
So to steady this image and maintain my reflection, I started a blog on this site. A Fly Gal Blog…. A random collection of thoughts, opinions, experiences, and updates on our fisheries.
I spoke my truth, said what was on my mind, and chuckled with the few people who shared this small online diary with me.
Then one day it happened…
As I reached for the publish button on my Wordpress, it occurred to me that professionally it might be wise for me to bite my tongue and stifle my thoughts. Regardless of how tame my thought had been that day, I decided at that moment to refrain from opening up to the public as readily as I had been, for fear of turning away those who may not understand me…
So I erased my post and put up a trip promo instead.
Once, twice, three times… I swallowed my opinion and opted for a neutral stance on many subjects that I can assure you I am not so neutral about.
I would tense up in my rib cage, hold my breath for an extra couple of seconds, and feel my heart beat fast... I was painfully selling myself out for fear of writing something off color alongside my place of business.
It was an awful feeling.
Then it hit me this evening…
True, there are some thoughts that should be left off one’s professional page (and I can promise you that those will remain on the tip of my tongue and away from my website).
And yes, there are those who have blogs unrelated to anything business related… blogs strictly designated to vulgar rants and obscene stories…"no strings attached" demonstrations of publicly displayed fishing jargon.
But when the “strings attached” come in the form of “business attached”, there isn’t the same luxury of mindless spewing and greasy headliners, rather an obligation to do what’s right for the company and its employees…
Here’s the catch.
What’s right for this company and its employees, is a mission statement that I set out for this company to abide by when I first started Fly Gal; Stay true, stay honest, stay open minded and always do your best with zero regrets.
Free speech on this blog kept me in touch with myself and allowed me to grow relationships with many who followed along with my rants and stories… even with some of you! 
It kept my head on straight, kept me from losing my mind when rumors were running rampant, and kept me in check during my late night, two o’clock in the morning reflectional tangents.
So while I can guarantee that we’ll never overstep our boundaries here, I can also guarantee that we’ll be keeping it real, light, honest, and fun… Doing our best with zero regrets.
I hope to see many of you on the river in 2011…. 
PS- the steelhead are in.
There. Now that felt good.