My sister has asked me several times to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She’s become desperate enough that she now asks, hopefully, if I’ll hike portions of the trail with her. My wilderness soul inside jumps up and yells ‘hell yes!’ and then the inner voice pops up. It reminds me of the last time I hiked up a small hill and had to keep stopping to catch my breath. And that was without a backpack.
One of my closest friends talks about hikes she’s going on. My wilderness soul raises a hand and says, ‘me, too!’. And then the inner voice reminds me of how I slow her down. How she has to wait.
A friend posts photos from some woman/sisterhood/new hippy site of young women out in the wilderness with flowers in their artfully messy hair, and long skirts and cropped eco-hemp tops that show flat tummies. Women with no bras, arms raised in freedom, with tiny breasts. None of these photos show overweight menopausal women in that circle of sisterhood.
Another friend runs an amazing organization that hosts seasonal excursions combining things like learning to track, or weaving baskets, or snowshoeing, with discovering the inner feminine energy. My wilderness soul wishes I was rich so I could sign up for one. Then my inner voice points out the requirements, and how even the easy beginner trips involve backpacking and camping in places other than campgrounds. And then my inner voice looks at the gallery and sees no fat women.
So I walk to the river alone and spend time with the trees and the water and feed my wilderness soul.
But my sisterhood soul is hungry.
Phone calls to one sister, or an overnight visit with the other two, or quick check-ins with female friends are priceless. But there’s something inside still starving. Something deep that wants more than a chat with female friends about how life is going or how work is going or what the latest thing is that their family is up to.
I think that something is yearning for the community of women, a circle, a place of discovery and healing. Although, honestly, something like that would be terrifying as it implies letting go, lifting the lid of control. One of those wilderness trips mentioned dancing. Immediately the wall comes up. ‘Nope, can’t dance, can’t do that in front of people’.
In other words, something inside wants more, but the reality is that I love solitude and anything else is too scary. Failure is a big word. Along with fear. And lack of self-worth. And not belonging. And not fitting in. Not being good enough.
Don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of self-confidence, I love my life, I’m proud of who I am in many ways. Just not in all ways.
And I’m not alone in this. There are many women who look at those new-hippy photos and think, where are the real women? Where are those women who can’t sit on the ground without a hand getting up? Who can’t hike an easy trail without their hips and back aching and their lungs huffing and puffing?
Someone needs to start a wilderness soul-filling sisterhood group for those who don’t fit. It could be called ‘Fat Females in the Forest’ or ‘Old Women Who Wander’ or ‘Discover Your Inner Woman While Camping Close to Facilities’.
I’d sign up.
In the meantime, as a wise friend said, these words hold true for all who feel disconnected. She also said the circle we search for is inside and that is the most difficult circle to join, and the one we need to find first.
Guess I’ll start searching.