2018... not over yet, but almost. This has been a powerful year for me. I finally completed my career change and scored my dream job - a role where I am challenged every day. I emerged for the most dark and consuming depression I’ve ever had as a new person. Tim and I splurged on a rooftop tent that changed our lives by enabling us to spend almost every weekend exploring the outdoors. Then we splurged on canyoneering training that gave us the most exciting, special new hobby - and connected us with a community of amazing people from all walks of life. I’ve laughed, cried, struggled, triumphed, and grown so much this year. As they say - if you’re going through hell, keep going. 🌪 This is me getting ready to descend the longest drop in my first Death Valley canyon through a slot. I’m hugging the rock for leverage and stability as I “soft start” (a term canyoneers use to describe going on rappel gently to prevent shock-loading a marginal anchor). A year ago, I would straight up laugh in your face if you told me I’d get into technical sports. But here I am learning to trust and feel myself, my gear, and my environment. Just like everything else in life.
All about that desert life while also representing my two favorite coastlines. 🌵🌊 #azstateparks
We find our power through the land. Our founder & coordinator @jaime_m_adams shares a story about her own bumpy journey towards leadership and how it has shaped programming for Forest and the Femme... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I remember having to do an activity when I was 8 years old where a pastor made a group of us kids decide whether we were leaders or followers and I remember that was the first time that I experienced performance anxiety. Before that activity I had no idea that I didn’t have it in me to be a leader. I didn’t know that those structures even existed and that I was supposed to fit myself in them because my mom and grandma and aunties always made me feel so valued. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
That day changed the way that I saw myself and at 8 years old I was taught that I’m not good enough to be a leader and that my place is in in the shadows. For decades that identity was embedded into me and I could never even try to challenge that because of how disempowering that felt. It took almost 30 years to finally dismantle that narrative and it was being in the mountains that crushed that perspective. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Forest and the Femme exists despite the damage of that day’s lesson in patriarchy. That experience stays at the front of my mind when we get to know the participants and learn about their unique skills and strengths. Leadership emerges really naturally in nature and with us it’s not in the ways that society so often requires - anxiety inducing hierarchies and power imbalances. Those values don’t belong in this program. Strength and talent and skill is unique and is identified through relationship to each other and the land. It can be writing or teaching or cooking or photography or trip-leading. It can be so many things. Most importantly for us, it’s not competitive and it doesn’t perpetuate negative self-perceptions. Women are so powerful and nature helps us to locate that power. ❤️🏔 These gorgeous mountains are in St'at'imc territory.