This post comes from guest author, Celine Lussier.
I whipped against the wall with enough force to draw gasps from below. The flames shooting down my forearms were almost enough to distract me from acknowledging that my fingers were on the verge of bleeding.
"Lower me, I'm done here." I called down.
I shrugged out of my gear, said my goodbyes and sauntered into the bathroom for a thorough cleanup. After an immense effort the scrub the chalk and blood out of my fingernails, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
Wildly curly unkempt hair, sweaty, no makeup to be found. Imagine a manicure, and then imagine the EXACT opposite of that and you have my hands, which look like they belong to a career landscaper. Wrapped in a cozy fleece sweater completed by my signature yoga tights and folded toque - this is the quintessential image of me.
Yet, this is not the outdoor woman portrayed in the media.
This was a woman I was proud to be. This was a woman who I fought tooth and nail to bring to the surface. This was a woman who left the booze and bar scene behind, who traded in scantily clad for criminally cozy, who exchanged uncomfortable heels for equally as uncomfortable ski boots or climbing shoes and loved every minute of it (even if my toe nails were occasionally sacrifice for the send).
So if I love this woman that I have worked so damned hard to be, then why I am I still inexplicably insecure?
Most days I slap on make-up and tight fitting clothes for my bar job in because I work in a world where the more you alter yourself, the more selective you are on what you eat, the more skin you show; the more people express how they appreciate you. I have learned to not let this world influence me anymore, so I have to ask myself, why in mother nature's name is our outdoor industry becoming equally as judgemental?
I recently went to a talk put on by @Sheventures creator Georgina Miranda, who retold a cheeky story about her climb up the legendary Denali. At one point her guide asked, "Are you wearing glitter eyeshadow?" She unabashed responded "Absolutely." She knew that other members of her expedition party had been judgemental of her, but she was comfortable enough with her authentic self to do it anyway.
So maybe my authentic self isn't holding some man’s hand, sporting perfectly tousled hair and gandering towards the most picturesque turquoise lake. My authentic self is scrambling across a ridge, probably wearing a puffy that smells like an expedition and then later you can cash' me outside pulling twigs out of my hair.
Why are these the predominate images on my explore page?
If that turquoise lake darling is you, then I welcome you to celebrate that, but I do think it's time that we push back against these unrealistic images of what the ideal outdoor woman is supposed to be.
We have spent decades being held to an unrealistic expectation by the media of what the perfect woman is. These expectations have wreaked mental havoc on so many of us, leaving us with eating disorders, negative body image, social anxieties, and low self esteem. The isolation and exhilaration the outdoors provides us has been a long time shelter from the grasp of societal pressures, and I will not be silent as I watch that change.
Be your authentic self. Celebrate your authentic self. Share your authentic self. That is the version of you that our world needs to see.
You can find more of Celine's work at https://celineannmarie.wixsite.com/alwaysoutbound and find her on instagram @celineannmarie