Paulette Rees-Denis

12140723_10153665097268668_3552421925075133027_nThere are time that I find myself chuckling and wondering who is surprised more, her or me. Brought together  from our love for all things adventurous and vintage. Bonded by our individual quests to carve out a life on our own terms.

It may be difficult to find two people further on the spectrum of being different from one another, but then perhaps that is the thing that makes it work the most. Iron sharpening Iron.

She the queen of tribal belly dancing, a vegan musician from the city and me, a beef eating, writer, rancher’s activist living in rural bliss.

We met 10 (ish) years ago as farmgirls with MaryJane’s Farm – Paulette had taken a little hiatus from her queendom to try her hand at organic farming and entrepreneur of a small restaurant/store educating folks about healthy option. . She is perhaps one of the best vegan chefs I know.. and as odd as it sounds, yes; I do know a few.  I must say, it was love at first sight.

We became “virtual” friends first, then met up at FarmFair and quickly became our own little version of “the odd couple.”  Yet it worked.. and still works.

There are many things we have learned to just agree to disagree on… and that is okay. I have been given the grace to be me, and in my best ability, have tried to give her the same.

I think that the key to a friendship – a sisterhood like this is that we are both firm in our own convictions – her in sandals and me in my boots.. ( well actually she has some pretty darn good boots), but you get the gist. We are not so rigid that we cannot bend on the things we can be flexible on, and one may be surprised to learn that there are many, if folks are just willing to look.

I cannot even begin to tell you the way she challenges me to be a better version of myself. Mostly it isn’t what she says, but rather how she lives her life with passion and conviction, inspiring those around her to do the same. Not requiring us to be on the same path, but to be firmly on the path we choose.

It saddens me to to think that as a society we have lost the ability to tolerate those that are walking a different path then the one we have chosen for ourselves. It breaks my heart that we live in a world where one side has to be “wrong” in order for us to feel validated in the life we have chosen. The world used to be big enough for us all to live our bliss. But, in recent years it seems to have closed in on us. I have watched my ranching and farming friends crucified… I have sat in meetings where the two sides of the issues, of what we eat, don’t even speak the same language, and only listen to respond and not to hear and learn.

Somehow we have forgotten that tolerance is a two way street. Instead of something that one side demands, but is unwilling to extend.

I’m thankful for friends who challenge me, and who stick around even though I can be a challenge. They have earned the right to speak into my life. I love that Paulette and I can laugh and celebrate the things that bring us shared joy; Our men, our love of music, vintage things, glamping, exploring, adventures, and writing. I love more the fact that she can celebrate my achievements even when they bump up against her chosen positions.

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While we are not the perfect example of how I think things should work… and we have had our missteps for sure…. all true friendships do – but I am thankful that we are both still willing to cross the streets of tolerance and at least get perspective. We were not all meant to walk the same path – we are all called to different things. We should all be motivated by love and passion. And example of how that works in my life is… I will always be passionate about the Western Lifestyle. I will always spend every ounce of talent God has given me to keep the Ranching lifestyle front and center…. but having said that, I will always want to do that through the eyes of the friends I love who see life a bit differently.  And, I will always do my best to bridge the gap between the two sides and their language barriers.

Who ever said that we had to agree on everything in order to agree on anything? Where did that concept come from?  have we as a society, truly gotten so lazy that we cannot even try to cross over to the other side every now and again to see through a different lens? Or developed enough self love that we can be with those who live life differently without it angering us?

I have often said that living my life down the back-roads of life has brought me perspective. It has broken through misconceived notions, and challenged me to look past the obvious. I could not even begin to imagine my life had it not been for them. And, for the friends I have met while traveling down them.  Perhaps it is time that more of us get off the highways and spend some time on the by-ways…. Just living life down the dirt roads.

To learn more about my amazing friend Paulette ( or as I call her Paulie)… You can find her on FB at https://www.facebook.com/GypsyCaravanDanceCompany/?pnref=lhc

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