When I started Here with Her I wasn’t exactly clear on what it could become. I knew I wanted to empower women to get outside and feel the freedom I do in nature. As I moved toward this calling I put my faith in a higher power to guide me. I wrote this prayer:
“I know you put this dream in my heart because you want me to see it through. I will walk in your path as you guide my steps. I turn my fears over to you and trust in your plan. Thy will be done.”
The path started to become clear when I posted this picture (above) from The Moanalua Valley Trail in Hawaii. I wanted to share this moment of pure elation on my hike through the most breathtaking beauty I’ve ever seen. For the first time in my life I didn’t care that I was about to post a photo with my hair totally out of place, my crow’s feet showing, no fake lashes, no eyeliner. I wanted to share my experience, my accomplishment and my bravery on this hike.
Up until last year, I placed my value on my appearance. I thought what my body looked like was more important that what it was capable of. I needed my physique to be perfect, my hair to be glamorous, my lashes to be long and my skin to be free of any imperfections. It turns out, I didn’t actually care about any of these things to please myself, I cared about them to please others.
I spent my entire adulthood in the TV industry where I had to endure cruel opinions about my appearance. I felt ashamed about the way I looked. I was born with light blonde hair that grew to my hips by middle school. I got curves at 14 years old. I was told so many times during my career that my hair was too blonde for TV. I looked too much like Barbie. My boobs were too big and needed to become less of a distraction. I endured the humiliating experience of having a consultant take me BRA SHOPPING. It was reinforced for many years that no one would take me seriously because of my appearance.
Do you know how much that hurts? To be told your appearance is going to hold you back regardless of your effort, skills or intelligence?
Somehow public judgment of my appearance was worth more than my talent.
Unfortunately, I believe most women understand this pain. For one reason or another, the way we look seems to somehow be used against us at some point in our lives. For some it’s because we are a so-called Barbie, others are considered overweight, some are judged for the color of their skin, maybe they’re considered masculine. I mean, we’re too skinny, not skinny enough, we’re too old, we’re not old enough… BLAH BLAH BLAH!
The pressure for me to change and look another way doesn’t align with who I really am. Succumbing to judgment does not align with who any of us really are.
When we get outdoors there is no judgment. Nature doesn’t think I’m too blonde. Nature doesn’t get offended by my curves. Nature doesn’t mind my wrinkles. Nature doesn’t care that I bite my nails and have an autoimmune disease causing my hands to peel.
Nature only cares that I show up for her.
The person I am out here… this is who I really am. Out here, I don’t think about what I look like. Out here I just think about how I feel. Out here I don’t think about my legs having cellulite, scars and stretch marks. I think about where my legs can take me. Out here I don’t worry about judgments. In fact, I don’t worry about anything.
I thank God for giving me a love for the outdoors. The outdoors saved me from a superficial life. The outdoors saved me from this trap of trying to be perfect. The outdoors saved me from the prison of public opinion.
From here forward, I am dedicating this brand to not only sharing beautiful outdoor destinations, but also to sharing stories of how nature has helped women defy society’s insane expectations of them.
So please ladies- share your stories with me. Tell me how nature has helped you see the REAL you. Tell me how it’s changed your life for the better. We want to hear your story. We need to hear your story.
Please tag @here_with_her in your Instagram posts and use #herewithher. You can also send an email with your story and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support!