Wednesday, September 14, 2016

realness

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.

xo
Anish

29 comments:

  1. You are incredibly inspiring. And brave. I have felt the sting of online cruelty - when I planned a long, long bike ride - and I had to learn to persist. It's bizarre. For what it is worth, I greatly admire what you are doing with your life and you have renewed my inspiration to find ways for me to live mine as bravely as you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love you to bits and am so proud of your vulnerability and bravery! I'm honored to call you friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anish, thanks for the reminder that you are human, like all the rest of us. Sad and true that many lash out at others when sometimes they are afraid to look too closely inward. Let all this fall into the stream. You are inspiring so many thousands to do what they did not think they could do. With social media, your adventures can bring real pleasure to those who wish they were out there too! I can't tell you how often your posts and tweets have been the best part of my day. When you take a picture and share it, we are sharing that sunset and that summit. Please continue to allow us to be a part of your life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent....thank you for putting some of these thoughts "out there" for those of us who DO care about the wild places and about those who also care. It's hard to ignore the meanness that has come with the internet...I don't understand it....but keep on keeping on with your one wild and precious life and sharing if and when you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love you. And I know you're going to fucking mop up some records there, Anish. You've inspired me since day one. Keep pushing, girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I SOOOO get this. Everybody talks about how tough and brave you are to hike and climb alone, break records, etc. And it's true that requires toughness and bravery. But I've repeatedly thought about how tough and brave and generous you are to share your life so openly. Your selfies are not photographic masterpieces in the "pretty picture" sense, but they capture the sparks of your soul. How many of us actually dare to let the world see our soul? Reading and viewing your posts compared to most other content in the outdoor market (at least what I see) is like the difference between buying a perfectly shaped, but crunchy and flavorless, grocery store tomato and having a friend come to your home and hand you a glowing, juicy, fragrant, unwashed, tomato with cracks in it's top that they picked from their own garden 20 minutes ago. (Now my mouth is watering, lol.) What you share with us is the raw energy of Life itself! Yes, it's messy -- it's straight out of the great garden of the Universe where God grows all the good stuff! I'm sorry that not everybody appreciates that. I'm so sad that people say hurtful things. But you are right - it comes out of their own pain, and knowing that helps us to respond from a place of compassion. (The best response often being no response at all, because it's actually not about us.) I am deeply grateful for your journey and your sharing of it. The energy of Life that comes my way from you is part of what is supporting my stretching and growing into my own true life and dreams. The result is I'm sitting here typing with dirt from the Eagle Cap Wilderness under my fingernails after my first solo backpacking trip in 30 years. What you do and how you do it does really make a difference. You are spreading the healing magic of living as ones true self. It is contagious, and eventually all of the meanies are going to catch at least a little of it themselves. You may think you are just enjoying yourself climbing mountains and trying to make a living so you can go on climbing mountains, but you really are making the world a brighter, kinder, more ALIVE place for all of us. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so beautiful! And really, this is why I do it. We're in this journey together and connecting as real, beautiful human beings is the heart and soul of life. So thankful to be able to share and connect with so many on a daily basis! <3

      Delete
  7. Someone once asked Socrates, "Do you know what people say about you?"
    His response: "Wait a moment, he interrupted. Let's filter what you are about to say through the three sieves."
    1. "Are you sure what you are about to say is true?"
    2. "Do you want to tell me something good?"
    3. "Let's try the sieve of usefulness. Do I really need to hear what you want to tell me?"
    "Then, what you are about to tell me is not true, good or necessary. So why bother telling me at all?"
    What you share is ALWAYS true, good and useful. So, you keep right on sharing it! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life, thoughts, and adventures with us. Cheers, S

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello, I just learned about you in the Pacific NW Magazine. Wow. So inspiring and beautiful. It's so crazy that people spend their time hurting people for living their lives in a real and lovely way, and I'm sorry that has happened to you. I am not a hiker or a climber in any way but I love the natural world and being in it and the real, wild, place that it is. My hat's off to you for living your own precious life in your own precious way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great adventure! The right decision is to make some pleasure to go out for an Hiking trips. That's not so bad for making summer fun. I used to love going downhill longboarding on my Gold Coast Longboards

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for stickin' around Anish. I've referred your website to several female hikers who are just starting out and very enthusiastic about hiking. They see you as a role model. I guess it's tough being a role model...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bart! I hope they have found it helpful.

      Delete