I grew up thinking in terms of black and white. My brain forged false dichotomies as I attempted to learn my place in the world. If things weren’t good, they were bad. A person was either smart or dumb, an expert or a novice, quiet or loud. I could dress “girly” or like a “tomboy.” A one mile run wasn’t long enough to count as a run. >> Insert other irrational thought processes here. (Anyone remember my right brain/left brain identity crisis of 2010?)
As I got older, I started to extrapolate those sentiments to an abstract idea of womanhood. I believed I had two options: I could be bossy and powerful, OR shy and submissive. I could wear dresses and mascara every day, OR only wear jeans and never touch makeup. I could compete with others, OR collaborate with them. The beautiful In-Between just never occurred to me and my existential ‘lil brain and heart.
Thank gosh, over the past few years, my prefrontal cortex finally matured, and I met people who exposed the cracks in my faux logic. Experiences challenged my soul to reject this black-and-white fallacy and to embrace greyer areas. (Though, I don’t quite see the In-Between as a grey area. It’s more of a rainbowey, tie dyed dynamic area. And what’s more fun than that?)
Recently, my delightfully insightful friend Katie concluded that “being a modern woman means we each get to set our own rules for what that means… We get to choose. We get to have these discussions, and all the answers are right ones!” So we applied that theme to a stunning day on the mountain, reflecting upon our In-Betweens and truest selves.
We used sharp, metal weapon-objects to glide us over sparkly snow on the crystalline peak. We spoke of our values of ambition and compassion. We carried knives and matches alongside lipstick and frilly clothes. Just because.
Right now, for ME, being a woman is delicate ferocity. It’s being a kaleidoscope of contradictions, a totally fluid collection of traits that changes daily, seasonally, and at times unpredictably. A shifting spectrum of all kinds of wonderful things that can’t be qualified, quantified or tamed, as much as 9-year-old me would’ve expected.
To this day, if I’m not careful, I STILL fall into the trap of all-or-nothing, go hard or go home mentality. If you know me, you probably see that sometimes. Point it out to me. Remind me of the In-Between, of the delicate ferocity inside me.
📌 🌎 stolen Yakama land
It feels like my truest self. The closer I can be to nature, the truer I feel to my own being. This is my natural self.
It normalizes bodies, and proves that all bodies can and deserve to explore outdoors.
Trying something new that will help me grow as a person and give back to the world in some way.
I combat the negative whispers in my head and remind myself that it doesn’t matter what others think.