To be real in a world of virtual reality, social media perfection, and mindless screen time is a difficult thing.
To carry on through criticism from people who don't even know you seems practically impossible, at least to me.
You see, I am tender and soft and squishy on the inside, no matter how tough it might appear I am.
You don't know how many times I have wanted to say f*ck it and delete every single aspect of my online presence over the last few years.
It's only because of beautiful, fragile, open, REAL people who post here, message me, stop me on the trails etc, that I don't.
Because the stories they tell me, the encouragement they share, the fact that so many of YOU find inspiration in my life is why I don't.
Be kind to everyone, even those online. The ugly hurtful things people type are often reflections of the ugly, hurtful things they feel about themselves. Be kind, even to those who aren't. I remind myself of this when I find myself sobbing while reading commentary about me written by people who have never even met me.
I am introverted. I am shy. I am quiet and really very boring, having nothing to talk about except the mountains. Talk about being the wallflower at every party? No one ever wants to talk to the woman who needs an explanation of any and all pop culture references.
And yet somehow my boring, mono focused life is engaging, inspiring. Perhaps because it's real in a world where nearly everything is fake.
I don't try to take great selfies. I don't own a hairbrush and I can't tell eyeliner from lip gloss. I am blessed to receive gear from some wonderful companies, but honestly, if it sucks I'll tell you (and them). I don't care what anyone thinks of me and I'm sure it shows.
This is MY one beautiful fragile life and even though I'd be just as happy living amongst the bears and lions and peaks and rivers without another member of my species forever, I also love and value this opportunity to share with you all.
I remain active here in the digital realm because I know it matters. Being real, being honest, being connected to the earth and being open to facing the things that scare me (and sharing those journeys with you) matter in a world where it is easy to become disconnected from our place as a mammal meant to roam.
I may never break another record (so what?). Sometimes I'm not sure I even want to climb another mountain. But I know I will always find my home in the wild places. I know I'll never be content to stop pushing myself to grow and face fears. I know I will never ever stop loving the life I have been given and the beauty of the natural world.
I am thankful to have this community to share that with. I wish even more that we could share a sunset, a summit, or a rainy day on trail together, laughing at the moment, the mud, the beauty and the realness of life.