Shout It Out Loud
By Olivia Feeney, WWI Alumna
Girls are so often expected to follow instead of lead, speak quietly instead of shout, and be docile instead of wild. My Women’s Wilderness Institute trip came at the perfect time to teach me how fun, and how essential it is to defy these standards.
I was a freckly fourteen-year-old middle-schooler who, like many young girls, was learning by trial and error what it means to be a woman in the world. I had been out hiking and camping with my family around Boulder, but this week-long trip was the longest I had been in the wilderness or even just away from home. Somewhere between learning how to purify water, struggling to pitch a tent, and giggling with a group of girls, I became much more comfortable in my skin as a woman in the wild.
Even though the trip was more than six years ago, a surprising number of confidence-building moments stand out in my mind. One of these happened at the top of a craggy slope on one of our day hikes. We scrambled to the top of a steep, rocky incline. When we finally made it to the top, panting and proud, the leaders told us to think of something we love about ourselves. Then they told us to yell this attribute as loud as we could into the canyon below.
I don’t think anyone had ever asked me this question before, let alone asked me to shout my response. I felt a bit unsure. Though we all hesitated, order flagyl online someone soon thought of one: “I love that I’m good at soccer!” After the first girl, the rest of us followed quickly, our responses tumbling out. I remember deciding to yell, “I love that I’m different!” It gave me a rush. Afterwards, we were all smiling and out of breath from yelling.
Looking back, I find that moments like this were crucial in forming my confidence as a young women. They taught me how important it is to find self love, and how powerful both women and the wilderness are in helping you find it. Moreover, I learned that I feel my most powerful, beautiful, and authentic when I’m sitting on a rock watching the sunset or building a fire under the moon.
The confidence I find through being outdoors remains vital to me as I continue to grapple with what it means to be a young woman. Last year, as I transitioned into college, the stress of beginning my journey as an independent student made it that much more important for me to seek the wilderness. Whenever I became discouraged or overwhelmed, I would find some way to get to the mountains or the beach, dig my bare toes into the ground, and breathe. This is how I would steady myself and remind myself of my strength.
It was thanks to the seed planted by the Women’s Wilderness Institute in my 14-year-old self that I can feel power tingle in my fingertips whenever I step out into the wild.