I think that women are often criticized for making things too emotional. In these male-dominated sports tho, I think we try to hide or mask our emotions. I know I do. We are so afraid of not looking “tough enough” or “capable enough” but I think this hinders us more than it helps. We are so busy trying to keep the emotions and rawness of it all out of it, that we just end up not talking about the elephant in the room. I am trying to be a bit more vulnerable in my writing. Sharing my raw, uncut stories; trying to pour my heart into the words in hopes that maybe, just maybe, one person will be inspired. Inspired to reconnect with what they love to do; inspired to try something new; inspired to be open about their fears so that they may conquer them.
There have been so many times where I have been so stressed or so frustrated or so absolutely overcome with, I guess what one would call emotional baggage, that I didn’t want to make time to fish or hunt. Partially because when I am upset, I like to just shut everything off and veg out but more so because I was terrified. I used to think that if I brought my sadness with me to the places I love it would somehow tarnish them; that it would completely ruin them for me. I thought that if I brought my heavy hearted emotions to these places then they would no longer bring me joy, but be consumed by all the internal turmoil that I carried.
There have been so many times, as much as I hate to admit it, that I have let my dark moods ruin my plans. There were ruined opportunities, missed company, and so many excuses that I made not to go.
Last spring I had this sudden itch to start really trying to push myself to get out of my comfort zone. I decided it was time to really challenge myself. Part of this process was to get out of this “woe is me” headspace that I so easily slipped into at times; to stop letting these moods influence my decision to ultimately avoid my most cherished places. I started really making the effort to stick to my plans and making sure that no matter how much I wanted to sleep through the alarms and stay in bed, to just push myself. Push myself to get up, go out, and do what I love. After the third time or so of winning the battle with myself fighting the old habits to make excuses to stay home or sleep in, I realized that these places that I was so scared of ruining with my heavy hearted emotions were exactly where I needed to be. This was where I could go to heal.
It is in the woods or on the water where I actually found space for these things. The only place that I could take them where I felt they were not consuming me. It finally felt like I could breathe again.
Sitting in my ladder stand in our orchard, talking to my Poppy who we lost in the summer of 2020. Shedding tears at the thought of how happy he would be that someone was spending so much time “down back” and how excited he would have been to see all the pictures from the trail camera. Having that silent conversation with him that I wished so much I could have in person. Knowing he was watching me.
Reeling in a bass for the first time out of a kayak when being in the kayak terrified me more than anything. The rush of confidence that I got when I finally got it done, the grin on my face, and enjoying every detail of that moment.
Spending my Saturday afternoon alone on the ice doing my absolute favorite thing. Enjoying catching fish through the first real ice of the year, the blue sky, the sun, and but more than anything – the solitude.
As sappy as I am sure this may sound to some, I urge you to consider something. Bring everything you have going on in your life to the surface when you do what you love. Bring it all with you, and without realizing, you will rise. Let the woods, the water, or whatever fuels your fire consume you.
Bring all of it with you. The grief; the sadness; the depression; the anger; the hurt; the anxiety; the fear; the frustration. Anything that you have, bring it with you. You will find a space for it to live and without even realizing it, you’ll leave it behind.