Every year on my birthday I commit myself to a self analysis. I’m a harsh critic, the feedback is brutal. I crawl away wounded and dying from a bleed out. Last August/September, I was in Iceland. I was fully connected to my friends and family and social media the whole time, save for one spot. It was off some F-road, I drove as far as I felt comfortable taking the rental, and I was 100% disconnected from it all. I sat for hours and enjoyed the silence and promised I would cut myself a break.
It’s still happening – “getting there”. I don’t know where ‘there’ is, no one ever does. It’s not linear or circular, it’s a knotted up ball of yarn weaved together with emotion, dead-ends, and by-the-skin-of-your-teeth victories. But, what’s so important, is I’m no longer sitting in the middle of nowhere Iceland. I’m sitting on a cliff in Yosemite National Park, enjoying the breeze and grateful for a newfound strength.
I’m not as thin as I was this time last year, I don’t fit into a lot of my clothes, but my hiking boots are hella comfortable. I’m happy and have gained so much self-respect and self-worth, the added weight is worth carrying.
There is always a camera by my side, adventure in my heart, and a story on my mind. My socks never match, and I can no longer tell if I’m more tan or just constantly dirty from hiking.
I catch myself thinking about how I like the way my hips curve, but I should really invest into more cardio for healthful reasons instead of the superficial. I am addicted to soda, and should drink more water because the color of my pee says so. As a diagnosed asthmatic for 17+ years, I forget my inhaler constantly, but I will always remember that one super embarrassing moment that happened when I was thirteen that no one else ever will.
I’m no longer a predator hunting for survival, but I’m a woman happily thriving on whatever mess I can get my hands on. I recently started wearing tight leggings, and I don’t care what I or anyone else thinks about how I look in them – they’re comfortable and reduce the hell out of chub-rub. I still don’t regret any of my tattoos, and don’t shave as often as I used to.
I’m proud of how far I’m come with my photography skills, and have a tendency to forget to charge the camera batteries. I can’t help but pronounce aperture as “aperature” and try desperately to fix that.
I have a terrible fear of bridges – I’m not afraid of heights – but I will cry my eyes out and still cross the fucking thing. Taking off in a plane makes me want to vomit, but once we’re at cruising altitude, I could stay there for days.
I’m extroverted, but nervous when it’s my turn to talk to people, and still hope I don’t sound too stupid.
I’m terrible at actually eating my leftovers and hold onto them in the fridge longer than I should purely out of guilt for wasting. I can’t stand taking cold showers, and I forget to reapply sunscreen after I’ve sweated it off. I’ve never been an expert at talking about my feelings, I’m more likely to swallow a cup full of nails than express them aloud.
I still dream of being featured in NatGeo, and I will visit all of the places. I’m trying to learn more languages and expand my understanding of global struggles, yet I will forever cling to the naive notion of “why can’t we all just get along?”
This is me at twenty-nine. And I am fucking gorgeous.