Rowdy

By: Jay Crownover


DEDICATION

Dedicated to anyone who is trying to figure out where they are supposed to be. Don’t worry, friends, the universe has a plan for you; you just need to listen to what it’s trying to tell you and you’ll eventually end up exactly where you were always meant to be.





INTRODUCTION

FOR ANYONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW my backstory, the long and short of it is I thought I had my life figured out. I thought I was on the path I was supposed to be on. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and in return I was going to live the dream and have the typical happily-ever-after.

Not so much. The path I was meant to be on was vastly different. My happily-ever-after didn’t involve love and marriage but instead a new career and a grand adventure I had only ever dreamed about when I was much younger. Really, what I thought I was supposed to be doing was just the status quo, the day-to-day rhythm I had fallen into because I didn’t know any better, and frankly because I was scared of what lurked outside the comfort of what I had known for so long.

Well, screw that. What I was meant to be doing was so much better, so much more challenging, so much more enlightening and fulfilling than the status quo. I wake up every single day thankful that my path has changed so drastically. Sure, it sucked at the time. It was one of the lowest points in my life and one of the most terrifying journeys I have ever traveled, but coming out of it on the other side stronger, totally independent, and absolutely creatively fulfilled, all I can do is tell the universe thank you for shaking things up.

It’s okay to be scared, I really think that’s how you know that whatever it is you’re meant to be doing matters, but it’s not okay to not find that thing you’re supposed to be doing because you’re afraid of something new, because the path less traveled is daunting and dark. Embrace the change, find your passion, know what your true joy really is about, and pursue it until the end of time. Live the life you were always meant to live. Honestly, nothing on earth will make you happier or more grateful for every single moment you have.

Just get out there and do you. The universe loves that shit!





PROLOGUE . . .

Salem

I DON’T HAVE A LOT of great memories from my childhood.

There were too many rules. Too many regulations. Too many disapproving looks from my father and not enough support or backbone from my mother.

We lived in Loveless, a tiny Texas town with an achingly accurate name. I was the minister’s daughter, and if that didn’t come with enough inherent expectations, the man who was beloved behind the pulpit but a tyrant in our home heaped them on ever higher. I was meant to be quiet, compliant, and conventional. Problem was . . . that was never me.

When I was nine, I convinced my mom to let me try out for a very exclusive dance team. I longed for something different, something that would make the day-to-day less agonizing. I was so proud, so excited when I made the team, only to have my father tell me dancing like that wasn’t permitted and no daughter of his was going to make a spectacle of herself. He wouldn’t stand for it. It was how everything in my life went, and my mom never seemed willing to take a stand and defy him, even if it meant giving her daughter something she so desperately wanted. Anything that went against my father’s wishes or was deemed inappropriate and shameful got kicked to the curb along with any sense of uniqueness and enjoyment. My parents wanted to squeeze me into a too-small box, painted white and tied with a bow of tradition. Me being me would never be good enough.

It was a situation made even worse by the fact that my younger sister was the apple of my parents’ eye. The perfect golden girl. I loved Poppy with all my heart, too. She was gentle and kind but she was also docile and obedient, ready to jump whenever my father barked an order.

I was never going to be perfect and compliant like my adorable little sister. I had no plans to end up a happy homemaker like my mother. And I sure as hell was never going to fit into the conventional mold of the traditional Mexican woman like my father so desperately wanted me to. So at nine years old, I decided that I would make my own way. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I just had to be patient.

When the time came, I broke free. I hit the road with exactly the kind of guy my father hated. I was barely eighteen, not really grown, but I had to get out. I had to run . . . I just didn’t see any other way to survive. I fled Loveless, shaking the dust off my boots and never looking back.

I have very few regrets about the choices I made for myself back then. To this day I am a woman that stands by my decisions—good or bad. I’m independent. I’m strong-willed. I’ve made my own way in life, and have, up to this point, been extremely successful at it. There’ve been times when I stumbled. There’ve been times when I lay alone in the dark and wanted to cry. There were quiet moments that snuck up on me that reminded me my parents weren’t the only people I ran from in that tiny Texas town. But overall I tried to accept full accountability for my happiness and well-being and that was the way I liked it.

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