Thoughts On The Chicken and Courage

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There’s a Texas phrase used to describe someone who is all talk, no action:


“Big hat, no cows.”


Yesterday I butchered a chicken for the first time. It was not planned. At all. I would have MUCH preferred to be inside the house folding laundry.


But the dog killed the chicken that wandered into our yard and I didn’t want the meat to go to waste. I figured if harvesting chickens for meat was a normal occurance for any household prior to 1930 there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t manage to do it myself.


Interestingly, even after deciding the course of action, I was still completely caught up in how gross, how wrong, how… yucky the whole process turned out to be! I had to constantly psyche myself up to just keep moving.


This experience is a pivot point for me, something I will come back to in the times I am terrified and immobile. “You cut the head off a chicken… you can do THIS!” will be something I push against to propel forward in the future.


If I — the world’s sissiest person, the woman who had to seriously work herself up to change a poop-filled diaper, who complained non-stop at the pain of swollen feet during pregnancy, and who will never, ever touch a snake — actually did this messy thing… there is no dream too scary to attempt.


That chicken, a dog, and a gruesome experience dispelled a fear I had about myself: I’m all hat and no cow. You see, it’s easy to hide behind a computer screen in my air-conditioned house and write about parenting, about marriage, about life.


But to get out there and live it… that’s kind of like cutting the head off a chicken: Terrifying. Difficult. Messy. Uncontrollable.


I realized yesterday I have a few cows underneath my moderately-sized hat. I’m braver than I thought I could be.
The experience also revealed something illuminating about “the human condition.”


Life… and death. They’re messy. Very, very messy. But they do not need to immobilize anyone.


That means you’re more capable than you give yourself credit for being.


I hope my new knowledge gives you courage. You can do that thing that’s been hanging over your head! You can jump at that dream that’s been taunting you.


You can get messy. You can be brave. You maybe don’t know it yet. But you CAN.


The alternative is to be all hat, no cows. I don’t believe that’s what we are designed to do.


Courage is better.


What do you want to tackle today?



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2 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Chicken and Courage

  • September 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    On courage: I need to muster the courage to write the book proposal I’ve been dreaming, scheming and talking about for a couple years.

    On killing animals for food: I was just reading to my kids from The Dangerous Book for Boys. (A great book, by the way. So is The Daring Book for Girls.) We read the chapter on hunting and eating a rabbit. It speaks to the whole process from beginning to end. Fascinating. I’ve never eaten rabbit, so I’m curious what it tastes like. Any thoughts from your experience?

    • September 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      We grew up on rabbit and found it quite tasty. It’s like chicken, in the way that every meat is like chicken, which is to say not at all! 🙂 When we do this, we will have to have you over for dinner to share our rabbit meat!


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