I have struggled with jealousy of other women for a long time. It’s not something I’m proud of. I always felt that I needed to be the best, when I knew that I never could. If another woman was better at an activity, prettier, smarter – it put me down entirely – even if she wasn’t trying. When I was with my partner, and a more beautiful better outdoor recreational female was present, I would collapse in my mind thinking about how my boyfriend was going to leave me for her… you know even though he chose me and wants to be with me. I blame these thoughts on my anxiety and depression, but also on society. Society tells me that I need to compete. Society telling me that I need to be a certain way to be attractive. I need to be always chill to be sexy. I need to be the best at everything, or my boyfriend will find someone better. It’s not a pretty look on me or anyone that feeling.
Read more about my struggles here.
The feeling of jealousy was powerful for me in the outdoors. I think this was because of this is where I wanted so badly to succeed. I wanted to be badass. I tried to be tough. I wanted to handle anything. So I saw these women who are amazing at doing hiking, climbing, skiing or anything else, where I struggle. I felt so inadequate. It kept me from trying a lot of different things. I kept putting myself down and not wanting to try because I knew I couldn’t compete.
It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t competing. These women that I was once so worried and jealous of, I looked toward for inspiration. I wanted to build a community. I wanted to stop feeling isolated in what I was struggling with or what I was trying to do. I wanted to be with other women in the outdoors and learn from them. I realized that these women that I was so scared of, aren’t going out to the woods to compete and steal everything away from me, they are going out there because they want to. That some of them also may struggle with insecurity. They are also are longing for community. I wanted to stop putting women and myself down in my head. I wanted to start being part of something more.
I started to become close with some female coworkers at my summer job. I bought a ticket to the REI Outessafest (an all-female outdoor festival). I then did something that I was always scared to do. I created a group. I formed a group for other women who want to do more outdoors and want to do it with other women in Connecticut. It’s something new. It’s something that I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. But we had the first event, and I loved it.
Looking at myself in the past year or two and how far I come is incredible, especially in this area. I find myself longing for connection and community, so I created it myself. I am looking to meet women to go on adventures with instead of hiding in my corner. It took me a long while to get here. A lot of soul searching and realizations.
The anxiety voices in my head still pop up now and then. I still feel insecure. Depression tells me to give up because no one will ever want to be friends with you. Anxiety tells me how I’m going to fail. They say me I’m not good enough. They tell me that everything I want to accomplish will never happen. They tell me how every other woman is better than me. But I no longer succumb to those thoughts. I no longer believe them. They are there. Tiny whispers. My inner voice that wanted to be part of a community and support others is a lot louder. I’m thankful for that.
Another note, I recently became an ambassador for Madera Outdoors. For every hammock purchased from them, they plant two trees. I always wanted to buy a hammock, so I’m glad that my first purchase was from a company that gives back. They also sell some also merchandise. I suggest checking them out and see if any of the gear or mission speaks to you! Click here.
And full disclosure, I do receive a small commission for every purchase through my link.