It’s better to be lucky than good. If you’re not good enough you can always work harder… but if you’re not lucky, you’re pretty much cooked.
I feel I have been very lucky.
I have been very lucky in my friends, who taken all together are an odd lot! But when my heart and mind connect to someone else, I become better and smarter and faster — and often, so do they.
I think a meeting of true minds works like this for all of us, I’m not suggesting that friendship with me has magical side effects.
My most unusual — and in many ways most valuable — friend is Doc, a man twenty years older than I am, who taught me to shoot pistols. I don’t just mean he took me to the range a couple of times; we have formed a longstanding alliance based on mutual respect, affection and willingness to provide effort. I won two Ladies’ National Championships under his direction, and he is the happy proprietor of a web site built by me that has doubled the value of his business several times over the last decade.
So, it’s easy to see that this was a mutually satisfactory arrangement. And it still is. But what I really owe Doc is what he taught me about how to trust myself.
A gun range is a great place to learn about yourself in relation to others, especially if you are a woman. There were other women shooters around the range, but they tended to be there with husbands or boyfriends. I have a husband, but I usually went to the range by myself — or with Doc. This gave rise to rumors, as you might imagine, which left me with two choices: face it out, or slink back home and take up knitting instead.
I’m a feminist (of course!) and would never welcome a choice pushed on me by old-fashioned thinking about my supposed place in the world. But I learned this: it’s easy to think that, if you know what’s true in your own heart, you can stare down anyone who thinks they know differently. But it’s much harder to do!
And I was not the only person affected by these particular rumors. When I realized what people were saying,the first thing I did was take Doc’s wife out for lunch, and offer to get lost. Like her husband, she shrugged off my concerns. I am very lucky.
Most of the people who were prepared to believe such a thing were not a worry to me anyway, but I did feel shock and distaste from some people who heard the rumors and weren’t able to discern the truth. Knowing I had the support of the people who mattered most to me, I learned to live with it.
I guess that the “courage” of my convictions developed over time, like any other kind of courage, and now I can face down anything at all.