There is a reason why I have pictures wearing a green dress on an indian reservation in the middle of Arizona. Basically, just because I wanted to, but here’s the backstory and the deeper explanation. If you don’t care and just like pictures, you can stop here :).
As I prepared my backpack for my camping trip to Havasupai, Arizona I was also packing a separate bag for a beach trip and a wedding. I looked at both piles and realized how completely opposite the 2 trips were. How bizarre it looked to have hiking boots, functional outdoor clothes, and no make up in the one pile of things, and high heels, contouring make up, and dresses in the other.
It made me realize how often people, women in particular, are placed into only being 1 ‘type’ of person. Typically girly girls aren’t outdoorsy and vice versa. Intellectuals aren’t athletic. The list could go on. Thinking about it as I packed my completely separate types of bags, I started to get annoyed. As a division 1 basketball player, stereotypes existed as well. Most female athletes aren’t expected to be feminine, and well most aren’t. I was known as an athlete all of my life until I finished college, and it is probably what I associated with most regardless of not fitting into the stereotypical mold. I realize not everyone thinks about this or even cares, and I know many women who I think are an all-around type and do it all, be it all, try it all. But at one point, by someone, they were lumped into a type.
As an adult attempting to figure out what I would need for my first real camping trip, I realized this was a type that I had never touched before. I read the female camping blogs, shopped online, and felt a little pressure to morph into an ‘outdoorsman’. I NEED to buy the dry wick uv protection Colombia shirt, go to REI, and have the legit stuff. All of this is going through my head as I am looking through all of my super girly dresses packing for the wedding. I picked up one of my favorites, a long flowy bright green BCBG dress. I decide that it’s coming with me camping. In my 40L backpack that I’m hiking 20 miles in, I’m bringing this dress. Where every pound counts and space is sparse, it’s coming with me, and I’m taking pictures in it against the beautiful backdrop of bright blue water and the grand canyon. Just because I want to and can vision how fabulous it would be.
I want special pictures to remember special trips to show my special people in 40 years. I decided that I don’t think that as a practical outdoorsy woman for those 4 days that I want to be limited to being just that. So, I busted out that dress on day 3 of camping. I wore it with no make up on, and without washing my hair for days, and was a girly outdoorsman for 30 minutes. Practical? No, not at all. I’m no model, but I adore these pictures.
My point… you don’t have to take pictures in the grand canyon in a dress, but get out of the comfort zone of appropriateness and types and go do what you want to do. Worrying about being appropriate and liked are things that I have always struggled with, so while this may seem trivial and even a bit silly to those that have never felt like types existed it was a strange little step for me. There are plenty that this won’t resonate with at all, and that’s great! Keep on keepin on! I don’t preach women empowerment to the masses, yet I want everyone to feel what I felt sitting perched on a cliff in my beautiful dress knowing I looked like a complete fool to anyone who saw me, and not caring in the slightest. And I have these pictures to remember and cherish my time in this stunning place my first time camping!
I asked my friend if she thought she was girly girl or outdoorsy when we were hiking back, and her response was, “why do I have to choose?” Precisely. Who knows where the green dress may show up next :).
(Serious shout out to my friend Kate for not thinking I was crazy when I asked for a favor, and for playing photographer…. She needs to look into going professional, right?!)
So, now I have question- Is there one thing you have always wanted to do or try, but have never felt comfortable? (For me… it’s dance lessons, totally out of my element.)