My friend Hannah called me today. This is not a post about her. But we both love nature and hike or kayak together whenever I am in Kentucky.
However, I travel hundreds of miles away from home for my job. So I enjoy those things *alone* most of the time.
For whatever reason (concern, ignorance) when people learn that I go outside alone, they feel inclined to tell me stories about women who have been murdered. They suggest I find someone (ie. A STRANGER since I am 1200 miles from home) to go with me and protect me. They tell me to go find friends.
BUT I THOUGHT PEOPLE WERE BAD AND WOULD MURDER ME. WHICH IS IT.
Here's the truth: I live with an anxiety and panic disorder... And I *THRIVE* by being in nature as often as possible. My brain literally needs it.
When people tell me to find more humans to go into nature with, they are telling me that I am failing at taking care of myself properly. Fuck that. Stop it.
Meeting new people is exhausting and frustrating and scary and hard to do in small towns. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID I MIGHT MURDER THEM. But also, I love making friends and it hurts my soul to the very core when people suggest I'm not trying hard enough to have them.
Watching the sunset from my kayak alone is easy. And it is not scary. Are there risks? Yes. Just as much as it is risky to drive to work every day and eat taco bell for lunch.
I want this attitude to shift from encouraging women to fear. To arming women with the tools they need to be safe, healthy, and independent in the world.
Stop discouraging us from experiencing life.
What if, instead of telling girls and women that a man might hurt them if they went outside, we taught them how to be better prepared for threats? What if we helped them to become stronger and wiser and well equipped? What if we made men TERRIFIED to hurt us? Imagine a world full of women kayaking and hiking to their heart's content. Wouldn't it be a much less scary place if it was crawling with strong, smart, happy women? Wouldn't that be so much better than women hiding alone in their homes and dying from suicide and depression?